a VirtualTourist member
Hi, I'm hoping to travel to Sapa mid November and was thinking about renting a small 4x4 - instead of a motorbike. Any advice would be appreciated.
British driving license.
Could you recommend a good route ?
I plan to spend about four days in Sapa.
I disagree with Paradiestravel. You need a valid VN driver's license to drive a car here. I don't even know of any car rental agency where you can rent a car. This past year the government has gotten tougher on foreigners riding motorcycles without a valid VN driver's license.
Your best option is to take the train to Sa Pa or rent a car and driver. I have heard some of the roads to SaPa can be hazardous when washed out by rain. This would make even a motorbike trip difficult. You may have better luck renting a motorbike than a car. Not sure how the local police will deal with you if you don't have a VN license and get stopped.
The best option is to train to Lao Cai, have your Sapa hotel meet the train, and rent a Russian Jeep with driver in Sapa. Vietnamese roads can be quite dangerous, so make sure that driver is good.
I don't agree with Paradiesotravel. Vietnammese driving license is total different with British, singapore, Thailand. It's better to rent a car with driver, the roads in Sapa are rather difficult to drive.
Wouldn't you just know it, Paradiesotravel is a link to a travel agents!!!
I didnt see any 4x4 for rent in Sa Pa...I did however rent a motorbike and toured parts of the Muong Hoa Valley solo...There's plenty of places to rent motorbikes.My travel buddy did another road run along the route that brings you up Mount Fansipan...this road was pretty good apparently.
HOWEVER the roads are very bad in some places,many times we got off the bike and walked it through the rough stuff..Im sure road conditions can deteriorate quickly in bad weather, we did cross parts that were completely submerged by swollen rivers and some parts of some roads were quite steep,most of it gravel,some parts barely a narrow dirt track.
YOU need to be a skilled driver and always caution on the side of safety...its rugged and the medical facilities are not at all even remotely comparable to Western standards,not a slam, just a caution.
You can get a map thats pretty detailed,I think we got it at the Tourist Center just off the Quang Truong Square...nobody even asked for a Vietnamese drivers license.
We didnt use a guide to bring us around the parts of the valley that we explored..as long as you pay the access fee to get into the valley, it didnt seem that it was an issue.
Whatever you decide...just take it slow..as it happens anyhow...seemed we'd just get moving ,come around another corner and we'd end up stopping to admire and photograph some different scenery.Its really beautiful country.
Some facts about driving in Vietnam for foreigners.
You need a VN licence which I have and it took me 1 month of tests etc to get it although it only cost me 30,000vnd. But according to the Vietnamese Govt website if you have an accident and someone is injured and you dont have a VN licence its 10yrs jail. If you have an accident and someone is killed its 20yrs jail if you dont have a valid VN licence. Now you know why I went to so much trouble to get my VN licence as I drive every day in Ho Chi Minh City. For visiting tourists its so much easier to hire a car with a driver and let him have the stress of driving in the traffic.
From Hanoi to Sapa is about 400km and the best way by night train.