How to get from Hanoi to Sapa
There are two major ways to travel from Hanoi to Sapa, namely by train or by bus.
There is no airport in the region, so your choice is limited to overland means of transportation.
The overnight railway route to Sapa is one of the most popular routes in the country. It is operated both by ordinary Vietnamese Railway carriages and more luxurious private trains which offer both a more expensive and more comfortable alternative.
Trains operate between Hanoi and Lao Cai station, about 35 km from Sapa. If travelling by train, you will then need to hire a taxi or jump onto a bus to cover this final leg.
Train tickets sell out quickly, so it is a good idea to book your ticket online as early as possible if you have travel dates fixed.
Hanoi to Sapa bus companies often offer pickup from the Old Quarter and around Hoan Kiem Lake. Buses of some companies depart from the Old Quarter. In Sapa, they bring passengers to different location around town.
Buses make multiple trips per day between Hanoi and Sapa. They take the fastest time to get from Hanoi to Sapa and are very budget-friendly but not always that comfortable.
Buses offer the widest choice of departure time throughout the day, too.
How far is from Hanoi to Sapa?
The overland distance from Hanoi to Sapa is 315 km. Sapa is located northwest of the capital in the mountainous area of Lao Cai province.
How long does it take to get from Hanoi to Sapa?
Hanoi to Sapa travel time normally lies within five and a half and 9 hours range. Buses travel faster, while trains are slower, require a taxi or a shuttle bus ride to cover the final leg of the journey but offer more comfort.
Trains normally need from seven and a half to eight and a half hours to reach Lao Cai. From Lao Cai train station, it is another hour–90 minutes to Sapa by taxi or public shuttle bus.
If travelling from Hanoi to Sapa by bus, duration of your trip is likely to be between five and a half and seven and a half hours.
How much does it cost to get from Hanoi to Sapa?
Ticket prices from Hanoi to Sapa differ greatly depending on the means of transport and the class of your travel.
Ordinary or semi-sleeper buses cost USD12-USD14. They feature three rows of soft berth instead of seats where you can only lie but not sit.
VIP buses offer soft reclining seats and enough legroom. These ones are more expensive: be ready to pay between USD16 and USD20 per seat.
First class sleepers in Vietnam Railways trains start at USD20-25 for a berth in a closed compartment for four passengers.
Luxury private trains that are essentially separate carriages attached to the same Vietnam Railways train, offer private compartments for two (first class sleeper) or four passengers (VIP sleeper).
For a first class sleeper, you’ll need to shell out about USD35-USD40. A VIP sleeper will set you back about USD70 and USD80 in media, though some companies, e.g. Victoria Express, charge twice as much for both options.
Hanoi to Sapa Timetable
Check Hanoi to Sapa timetable for buses and trains to choose the most convenient trip. Bus schedule is for reference only and can be changed without prior notice.
Trains Hanoi–Lao Cai
Hanoi–Lao Cai daily 9.35 pm 8 hours USD22-85
Hanoi–Lao Cai daily 10 pm 8 hours USD22-165
Sapa Express 7 am, 10 pm 5.30–6 hours USD13-16
Green Bus 7 am, 1.30 pm, 9.30 pm 6 hours USD11-12
Green Lion Bus 7 am 5.30 hours USD20
Good Morning Sapa 7 am 6 hours USD13
Fansipan Express 7.30 am, 10 pm 5.30 hours USD11-12
Best Rated Companies for this Route
All luxury trains enjoy great reviews. You can choose Pumpkin Express, Orient Express, Finxipan, Livitrans Express, Chapa Express, Violette Express, Sapaly Express and will not be disappointed.
Victoria Express is the most expensive and most luxurious of them all.
Yet ordinary carriages of Vietnam Railways trains are a decent budget-friendly option.
Reputed Hanoi to Sapa bus operators include Sapa Express, Green Bus, Inter Bus Lines, Queen Café VIP Open Bus, Good Morning Sapa Bus, and others.
Hanoi to Sapa Travel Tips
- Use online booking for buying your Hanoi to Sapa tickets as it is one of the most popular routes in the country and tickets sell out quickly, especially cheap tickets.
- While trains do not guarantee the fastest time for your trip, they are the most comfortable way to get from Hanoi to Sapa.
- There are two Hanoi to Sapa trains a day and both are night trains.
- Luxurious Victoria Express carriages are available in 10 pm train.
- There are no toilets on buses in Vietnam, but they make one quick rest stop during their trip from Hanoi to Sapa.
- The majority of buses to Sapa depart either in the early morning or late in the evening.
- The road to Sapa is winding and far from perfect in parts so if you are prone to movement sickness opt for a train.