I researched about how uncomfortable train travel from Hanoi to Lao Cai could be and the fact that you still have to take transport from Lao Cai up to Sapa. Hence my husband and I decided to take the Eeco Sapa minivan up to Sapa and on our return trip take the train just for the experience.
We were not disappointed. The reclining leather seats on the minivan were very comfortable and the WI-FI and USB charging was a plus. We were very impressed by the bag of snacks and water handed out to us at the start of the journey and even more impressed when we were given coupons to claim a free drink at the first rest stop. The two rest stops ensured that we had a clean place to relieve ourselves and that the driver could recuperate sufficiently for the long drive ahead. The driver drove safely on the winding mountain path and switched on more headlights in order to shine the way through the foggy December weather. Considering the 5h travel time by minivan compared to 8h on the train, I would say the pros of traveling by minivan clearly outweigh those of the train! Highly recommended!