Located between 1500 and 1650 meters above sea level, the gem of the province of Lao Cai is where thousands of people meet there each year to discover its breathtaking landscapes and its colorful villages of the Hmong, Tay, Red Dao… You have a plan to get to Sapa from Hanoi and do not know the route and the means available? With this article, we hope you can go there by motorbike, train, bus… which offers a whole range of choices for any budget.
The market town of Sapa is located around 35 kilometers from Lao Cai town and 370 kilometers from Hanoi.
Hanoi – Sapa by motorbike
Riding a two-wheeler in the direction of the mountain should tempt any trek lover and Sapa has everything to fill you with its exceptional varied scenery. This route offers you nearly 400 km alternating rice fields, villages, passes and rolling mountains… which you can photograph at your own pace.
- Distance: between 360 and 420 km
- Duration: 10 to 14 hours driving
- Fuel for the Hanoi – Sapa route: nearly 200,000 VND
Two motorcycle routes:
Towards Lao Cai:
- Option 1: Hanoi – Vinh Phuc – Viet Tri – Phong Chau – Doan Hung – Yen Bai – Lao Cai – Sapa (around 360 km)
- Option 2: Hanoi – Hoa Lac – Son Tay – Trung Ha bridge – Phong Chau bridge – Phong Chau – Doan Hung – via route 70 – Lao Cai – Sapa (370 km).
Towards Lai Chau:
- Hanoi – Hoa Lac – Son Tay – Thanh Son – via QL 32 or national road 32 – Sapa (over 420 km). The opportunity for adventurers to conquer two spectacular road passes in the north, Khau Pha (30km) and O Quy Ho (50 km).
For the question “Is the road to Sapa dangerous”? Not at all actually. On the other hand, it requires real attention from the driver, particularly with regard to the sloping sections of the loop linking Lao Cai and Sapa. Besides a strong temptation, the journey requires physical preparation as well as good endurance to complete about ten hours on the road.
Hanoi – Sapa by train
One of the popular ways to travel to Sapa is by train. In this case, we have two journeys to combine: Hanoi – Lao Cai by train and then Lao Cai – Sapa by another means, car or motorbike.
There are two night trains from Hanoi to Lao Cai and back. An additional train (SP7) is planned for weekends or holidays.
- Train Hanoi – Lao Cai: SP1 (21:35), SP3 (22:00)
- Train Lao Cai – Hanoi: SP2 (20:55), SP4 (21:40)
- Hanoi Bus Station: 120 Le Duan Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi City
- Lao Cai bus station: Khanh Yen street, Pho Moi district, capital of Lao Cai, Lao Cai province
The price varies according to the class:
- Hard seat: 200,000 VND per person
- Soft seat: 240,000 VND per person
- 6-berth wagon: 365,000 VND per person
- Wagon with 4 berths: 450,000 VND per person.
- Comfort wagon with 2 berths: 3,200,000 VND for two people.
In addition to the classic wagons, travelers can choose the high-end ones that offer a two-berth wagon for a price of 1.6 million VND per person for example. There are around ten brands of VIP berths, namely: Victoria Express, Sapaly Express, Chapa Express, King Express, Dream Train Express, Pumpkin Express… These tourist trains, which have 6.7 berths per wagon, offer very recent equipment. , free wifi, reading light, drink, snacks, clean toilets, hot water …
Moving from Lao Cai station to Sapa
To reach the town of Sapa from Lao Cai station, you have about 35.8 km to go, normally between 45 to 60 minutes. The means available, namely:
- Public bus that departs from Lao Cai station and arrives at Sapa Cathedral. Price: 30,000 VND. Frequency: 60 minutes.
- Hotel bus, which transports in groups, from Lao Cai station and stops at the hotel. Price: 50,000 VND.
- Taxi Lao Cai – Sapa: Taxi price for 4 people: 400,000 VND; Taxi price for 7 people: 450,000 VND.
- Xe om or moto taxi: around 150,000 VND.
Hanoi – Sapa by bus
In terms of duration, the Hanoi – Sapa road takes about 6 hours by car.
- The fastest way is limousine for 9 people, around 5 hours drive.
- Tourist bus with berths, around 5.5 hours drive.
- Popular buses, 6 to 6.5 hours drive due to stops.
In terms of schedule, tourist buses most often leave at 7-8 a.m., 1-3 p.m. and 10-11 p.m. from both Hanoi and Sapa to better match the trip schedule.
Two major bus departure points from Hanoi to Sapa
Bus departs from downtown or Hanoi Old Quarter
Limousines offer great comfort for a pleasant journey, airy space, free wifi, LED screen, refrigerator, drinking water, snacks … for a price ranging between 350,000 and 400,000 VND per person.
- Limousine for 9 people with reclining seats like Eco Sapa, New Enjoy Limousine, Golden Horse, Sapa Luxury Van, Truong Thanh Limousine, Khai Phat Limousine, Luxury Sapa Bus…
- Limousine for 19 people with reclining seats from Pumpkin Limousine…
- Limousine for 29 people with reclining seats from Sapa Express…
Limousine Hanoi – Sapa:
- Price: 350,000 VND / ticket, 01 trip / day
- Free reception of passengers from 6.30 am to 7.00 am in 9 intramural districts of Hanoi (Hoan Kiem, Ba Dinh, Tay Ho, Dong Da, Cau Giay, Hai Ba Trung, Hoang Mai, Thanh Xuan and Long Bien).
- Boarding and disembarking service at Noi Bai Airport for an additional fee of 20,000 per group.
Limousine Sapa – Hanoi:
- Price: 350,000 VND / ticket, 01 journey / day, reception of passengers from 3:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in front of hotels in the town of Sapa.
- Free disembarkation in 9 intramural districts of Hanoi.
Number of sleeping bus choices to Sapa for 34, 40 people for your choice: Fansipan Express Bus, Sapa Express, Green Bus, Interbus Line, Queen Cafe, Hung Thanh… These buses are well equipped, clean cover, electrical outlets and USB ports, free wifi, drinking water.
Price: varies between 250,000 – 400,000 VND /ticket /one way.
Departure from My Dinh, Gia Lam and Giap Bat bus stations
The most famous buses: Ha Son Hai Van, Sao Viet, Queen Cafe, Hung Thanh…
- Sao Viet bus schedule and price
- Price: 240,000 VND / ticket
- Frequency: 60 minutes
Departures from 5.30am to 11.50pm: 7 Pham Van Dong, 789 Giai Phong (Giap Bat), 24 Ngo Gia Kham (Gia Lam) and My Dinh station.
Fansipan Express, high-end bus with cabin for Sapa
Note that for the first time in 2018, a bus with VIP cabin for Sapa is operational to create a new travel experience. This Mobihome version of 20 cabins is very well equipped with great views, curtains, on-board toilets…
Fansipan Express bus schedule and prices:
Hanoi – Sapa
- Price: 400,000 VND / ticket
- Number of passages: 02 trips / day
- Departure from 07:00 to 22:00 at 41 Luong Van Can, Hoan Kiem.
- Reception service available in the old quarter and Hoa Binh Park.
- Boarding / disembarking service at Noi Bai Airport for an additional cost of 40,000 per group.
Sapa – Hanoi
- Price: 400,000 VND / ticket
- Number of passages: 02 trips / day
- Departures from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at 9 Nguyen Viet Xuan, Sapa.
- Landings: Hoa Binh Park, Noi Bai airport junction
Sapa is ideal for hiking in a few days or several days, mixing nature and ethnic riches. Have a good trip!