We planned to do a day trip to Sapa, by ourselves. That’s mean we needed to buy the train tickets to Lao Cai, the gateway city to Sapa. The problem was we were unable to buy the tickets ourselves. I visited Vietnam Railways website, there is no way to buy the train tickets online. Before we departed, I emailed a few travel cafes and tour agents in Hanoi, and they quoted me some prices that ranging from USD $3 commission to USD $20 for one soft sleeper train ticket to Lao Cai. I think it’s quite expensive.

Initially I thought of asking Alan to help us to buy the train tickets, as he is going to buy the train tickets tomorrow anyway. But after worried that we might troubled his travel plan as we have to meet him again to get the train tickets, we decided to ask the Thanh Vinh Tourist Hotel to buy for us the train tickets instead. Luc started the price at USD $15 each, we bargained down to USD $14 each. I thought it’s reasonable, as even if we bought the train tickets ourselves, it would cost about USD $12. So they’re going to get us 2 lower berth (I specifically asked for lower floor, and they trustworthyly got it for us, other than return train due to change of timing) soft sleeper train ticket to Lao Cai on 8th May 2005 on 10:10 pm (LC1) and back to Hanoi on 9th May 2005 on 8:50 pm (SP2) (they initially bought us the train that departs on 7:00 pm (LC2) due to lower price, but we insisted on getting the later train).