'High quality' train service now connects Hanoi and Sa Pa

By Doan Loan   May 9, 2017 | 10:59 am GMT+7
'High quality' train service now connects Hanoi and Sa Pa
New seats have been added to certain trains from Hanoi serving the summer holiday season. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

Hanoi Railway Transport Company says it has added new seats, beds and toilets.

The Hanoi Railway Transport Company is trying to cash in from the summer holiday season by upgrading its train services to popular destinations.

The company has added more comfortable seats and beds and cleaned up toilets on what it calls "high quality" trains serving Lao Cai and the central beach town Vinh. It has also launched shuttle bus services to bring passengers from Lao Cai to Sa Pa, and from Vinh to Cua Lo Beach.

Sa Pa is one of the most famous towns in Vietnam, even more popular during summer thanks to its cool climate.

In the past a large number of tourists traveled to the town by train from Hanoi to Lao Cai. But since the $1.5-billion Noi Bai-Lao Cai Expressway was opened in September 2014, many have found a five-hour bus ride more appealing than an eight-hour trip on the train.

Train tickets from Hanoi to Sa Pa now cost up to $20 but the company said summer travelers will receive 10-20 percent discounts.

The Saigon Railways Company next week will also launch high-quality train journeys between the central resort towns Nha Trang and Hue, three months after it introduced similar service from Ho Chi Minh City to Nha Trang.

Rail accounts for 1.14 percent of passenger transport in Vietnam, compared to 96 percent by road and 2 percent by air, according to official data. Most freight is now transported via road.

This month, in an attempt to win back passengers, major stations across Vietnam have started to offer free Wi-Fi.