How to get to Sapa?

Bus is an alternative to train

Even though Sapa is one of the most popular destinations in Vietnam, with no nearby airport, traveling by road or rail is the only option to get there. In spite of the distance of only 380 kilometers from Hanoi, whichever route you take, it is a time-consuming exercise. Let’s choose carefully! You can travel to Vietnam with Indochina holidays

Bus is an alternative to train

Bus is an alternative to train-source: Internet

Before 2014, to get to the rural town of Sapa, train, which took too much time and effort, was almost an exclusive means. Since 2014, the opening of new highway has made road travel to Sapa easier as well as created a great alternative to train. Bus travel saves you time and budget even though it does not offer the train travel experience that many seek.

By Train

Even though there is no train station in Sapa itself, it is still possible to arrive in Sapa from Hanoi on the train through a station in Lao Cai station, which is 40km (25 miles) northeast of Sapa. It takes about 8-9 hours for the train journey from Hanoi to Lao Cai. Vietnam travel packages

Train to Sapa

Train to Sapa-source: Internet

There are several trains running to Sapa every night and there is only one train running daily from Hanoi to Sapa. An overnight train has both hard sleeper and soft sleeper coaches while day time train offers only hard seats. Victoria Orient Express (costing about 150-200 USD for a return trip from Lao Cai to Hanoi) is a more expensive, but more luxury option to take. To get to Sapa, there is also a cheaper, and yet, more comfortable choice in the air-conditioned soft sleeper coach, for 25-60 USD one way. Finally, book a hard sleeper seat for less than 20 USD one way is the cheapest, but the least comfortable option to take.

Booking a return train ticket from Lao Cai to Hanoi with your accommodation provider in Sapa or with a travel agent, it is more convenient and often cheaper.

Victoria Orient Express

Victoria Orient Express-source: Internet

The different tracks, adjacent to the main Hanoi’s Railway Station, located at 120 Le Duan Street are which trains to Lao Cai are departing from. To get to Sapa from Lao Cai station, it takes about 1.5 hour drive on a local bus or 1 hour on a minibus. From Lao Cai to Sapa, a minibus ride costs VND 25.000 (about 1.3 USD). Booking a private car transfer for about 30-40 USD per car one way from Lao Cai to Sapa is a much more expensive option.

* Train departure times are often from 8:00pm to 10:00pm, and you can enjoy a good sleep before being awakened up by the spectacular mountain scenery at dawn.

* Day trains are not as comfortable as night train and take longer time to travel since they make more stops.

* Ticket for day train is $10-20/person/way

* Ticket for night train is $35-180/person/way

By Bus

Bus to Sapa

Bus to Sapa-source: Internet

There are many regular intercity buses run by local travel agents connecting Sapa with Hanoi, either directly through Lao Cai, or through Lai Chau, Dien Bien Phu and Hoa Binh. For the cheapest direct option, the cost is around 15 USD one way. There are daily buses leaving Hanoi at 6:30am or 10:00pm. One way bus trip often takes between 6 and 7 hours. Not only faster than train, bus also takes you directly to Sapa without making a stop in Lao Cai. You can even reach Sapa in 5 hours if taking a private car ride.

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