Sapa is a beautiful mountain town, located in the north of Hanoi. This is definitely a place you must visit while you’re in Northern Vietnam. If you’re still looking for the best way to get to Sapa, this article would show you how to choose the best means of transportation for your trip.
After a few wonderful days spent exploring the fantastic capital city of Hanoi and living like a local, it was time for a change of scene. Located 320 kilometers away from the northeast of Hanoi, Sapa is the mountainous place where you can come across the life of many Vietnam's ethnic tribes. If you’re an adventurous traveler, experiencing the life of Vietnam’s minority would definitely in your bucket list.
There are 3 main ways to travel between Hanoi and Sapa:
High quality seats with reasonable price, instance booking confirmation even in last minute booking, these ideal characteristics make buses a good travel option. This option is the best way to get to Sapa for the ones who are traveling on a budget.
It takes around 6 hours from Hanoi to Sapa by bus - compared to 8 hours traveling by train - since the Ha Noi - Lao Cai expressway has been put into operation. Moreover, traveling by bus, you could go straight to Sapa town, not having to stop at stop point in Lao Cai as the trains do.
The buses run many trips during the day, departing from Hanoi at 7 am, 2 pm and 10 pm. However, traveling by bus can be a problem in the rainy season. One tips for you is to take the night bus (depart at 22:00pm) to get to Sapa, that way you could save one night of staying at the hotel. However, you may miss opportunity to enjoy the view of the mountains through the window at night.
Please distinguish between Local bus and Tourist bus on Hanoi Sapa route. While local buses (as Sao Viet bus, Ha Son Hai Van bus) mainly serve Vietnamese with non-English speaking drivers, normally stop at Lao Cai and just pick up at Bus station, Tourist buses (run by Travel company as Green Sapa bus, Sapa Express ...) bring you more professional service with English speaking guide on board and, especially, pick up at hotels around Hanoi old quarter.
There are three type of buses for you to choose from:
|9-seat Dcar Limousine Bus|
|Private Cabin Bus|
>> If you're interested in getting to Sapa by bus, check out how to choose the most suitable bus from Hanoi to Sapa!
The private car option helps you get to Sapa at anytime you prefer, and this service also offers pick-up from any places within Hanoi city. This makes the private car service more convenient than other options, since buses and trains have a fixed schedule and their pick-up service is limited inside the Hanoi Old Quarter area.
Moreover, this service offers a wide range of car, including 4-seater car, 7-seater car and 9-seater car. Therefore, if you are traveling in a group or with your family, this would be the most comfortable option!
For your reference, my own private service of choice, A21 Tours, offers single trips of 160 USD for a four-seater car and 170 USD for a seven-seater. Most agencies should range from 150 USD to 200 USD for a single trip, but it also depends on the quality of the car.
>>Pre-book the private car service from Hanoi to Sapa to receive the best offer.
Traveling by train is the most relaxing experience among transfer options from Hanoi to Sapa. If you’re looking for the most comfortable way of travelling, this is an option for you.
Hanoi Sapa trains run daily at night from Tran Quy Cap Station (Hanoi) to Lao Cai Station early in the next morning, also the same for the returning route.
|Route||Train||Departure time||Arrival Time|
|Hanoi- Lao Cai||SP1||21:35||05:30 AM|
|Lao Cai- Hanoi||SP2||20:50||04:30 AM|
Lao Cai Sapa transfer
From Lao Cai train station you can take the shuttle bus to Sapa (cost around USD 2/ tickets) or private car (that cost from USD 25 / car). For the departure from Sapa to Lao Cai train station you need to leave Sapa early at least before 6 PM to tavoid traffic jam on the only road to Lao Cai.
>> Pre-book private Lao Cai trian station - Sapa transfer
On each Hanoi Sapa train, there are two type of cars, cars that owned by the Vietnam Railway (VNR) and cars that owned by private railway companies.
Vietnam Railway (VNR), a government owned railway company, mainly serves the domestic passengers, offers their service at a low range price, you can check out their website at www.dsvn.vn.
There are 3 types of seats that offered by Vietnam Railway (VNR):
However, if you would like to have a good transfer experience, private railway companies' service is recommended, since they are experienced in serving international passengers.
Each private owned cars has two types of cabin, deluxe four-berth cabin and VIP two-berth cabin. The quality of those cabins vary among operators, but there are 3 classes of cars: economy class, business class and first class:
If you're just looking for a comfort way to get to Sapa, then the economy class (from 27 USD/berth) would surly meet your requirement. If you're the ones who are looking for a pleasant railway-travel experience while getting to Sapa, then choosing the business class (from 32 USD/pax) is recommended. Lastly, if top-notch railway-service is what you're seeking for, opt for the first class car (from $75/berth).
|Type of Bus||Means|
Hopefully you have found the right means of transportation for your trip to Sapa. For more Sapa information, please check:
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