Sapa to Hanoi @ train, bus May 2, 2017

7 trips (THB 378 — 5,789)

From Sa Pa SapaExpress to Hanoi by bus

Sa Pa SapaExpress, Lao Cai
Hanoi SapaExpress
5h 30m
฿ 614
× 2 = ฿ 1,228
10 seats available

From Lao Cai to Hanoi by train

Lao Cai
9h 27m
Instant Refund
฿ 378
× 2 = ฿ 756
Lao Cai
8h 10m
Instant Refund
฿ 766
× 2 = ฿ 1,532
Lao Cai
8h 12m
฿ 5,789
× 2 = ฿ 11,578
Only 4 seats left!
Lao Cai
8h 12m
฿ 3,952
× 2 = ฿ 7,904
Only 4 seats left!
Lao Cai
8h 12m
Instant Refund
฿ 766
× 2 = ฿ 1,532

From Sapa SSB to Hanoi by bus

Sapa SSB, Lao Cai
Hanoi SSB
฿ 728
× 2 = ฿ 1,456
Only 8 seats left!

How to get to Hanoi from Sapa

Why go to Hanoi

Hanoi is the bustling capital city of Vietnam full of lakes, temples and pagodas. The ancient city is also the cultural capital of Vietnam and is managing to retain much of its charm despite rapidly modernizing. Visitors can wander through the streets of the Old Quarter and around Hoan Kiem Lake or take in the grand Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Presidential Palace which dates back to colonial times. Hanoi often seems to be the polar opposite of Saigon in the south but both cities share the same energetic pace.

From Sapa to Hanoi

The only way to get to Hanoi from Sapa is overland as there is no airport nowhere in the vicinity. Travelling this route by train is a classic Vietnamese experience, but buses do a good job, too, and the choice of the means of transport depends entirely on your own preferences. The distance between Sapa and Hanoi is about 300 km but be ready that your journey will take from eight hours to 10 hours.

There is currently no airport near Sapa so travelers make the journey from Sapa to Hanoi by train or bus. The overnight train from Sapa to Hanoi has long been one of the most popular overnight trains in the country with a number of more luxurious private train cars offering travelers varying degrees of comfort and relaxation on the night train.

From Sapa to Hanoi by train

The train stations which serves Sapa is located in the town of Lao Cai, some 35 km from Sapa proper. It takes about one hour to get from Sapa to Lao Cai by taxi or 1¼ hour if going by local bus, as the road is extremely curvy, though beautiful. Take your medicine in advance if you are prone to motion sickness. Note also, that trains are often late – do not be surprised over a couple of hours delay. Expect to pay between USD20 and USD30 for a lift. Tip: share with your fellow travellers.

Note the hottest time to get back from Sapa to Hanoi is Sunday night. Expect your train be full house. Do not be surprised to find ‘extra’ people on board: if no seats/berths available, some conductors accept tips for letting them in. It is unfortunately useless to complain.

Currently there are two express trains daily from Sapa (Lao Cai) to Hanoi. Both are operated by the Vietnam Railways and both are night trains. SP2 leaves Lao Cai at 8.35pm and arrives to Hanoi at 4.45am; SP4 departs half an hour later at 9.10pm and arrives at 5.25am. Both trains feature private cars which provide a much more comfortable experience than ordinary Vietnam Railways cars – though naturally at a higher price. VIP sleepers for four passengers with Livitrans Express, King Express, Fanxipan, Chapa Express or **Sapalay Express provide more or less the same level of service and cost between USD36 and USD40 (VND800,000-VND880,000). While a berth in a first class sleeping car with Victoria Express sets you back USD170 (VND3.8mio).

There is a third train from Sapa to Hanoi (LC2) that departs at 10.05am and arrives at 7.35pm. This train offers only a few dozen soft seats and the rest are hard wooden bench style seats which are quite uncomfortable for journeys of any length.

Tip Normally there is a dining car in each train where quite decent and reasonably priced fare is served. Give it a try, anyway.

In Hanoi, trains from Sapa arrive at the Tran Quy Cap street side of the Hanoi railway station. It is located west of the main entrance Le Duan street and is known as the Tran Quy Cap train station or simply ‘entrance B’. Do not be mislead: it is one and the same train station.

From Sapa to Hanoi by bus

There are sleeper buses and express buses serving the route from Sapa to Hanoi. In Sapa they normally pick up passengers at the bus station in the centre of town close to the Cathedral or directly from your guesthouse and will drop you off in Hanoi in Old Quarter or around Hoan Kiem Lake but exact locations vary depending on the company. Travellers report that Sapa Express is arguably the best way to travel from Sapa to Hanoi with new and clean buses but no toilets on board. The trip takes from six to 8 hours. There are both morning and late night departures. Expect to pay from USD15/VND300,000 per person.

Getting around in Hanoi

Many attractions will be within walking distance for those staying in the Old Quarter but some may opt for the iconic cyclo bicycle taxi, be wary of the cost and ask your hotel about reasonable prices. The same can be said of the motorcycle taxis. To avoid confusion and conflict agree on a price beforehand and write the number (including all zeroes) on a piece of paper.

Unlike Saigon, Hanoi is not known for having a reliable or trustworthy taxi service but there are a small number of green Mai Linh taxi’s which can be counted on to give you an honest metered fare and proper route. All taxis should have a working meter but be generally aware how to get to your destination to avoid being taken on an unrequested tour of Hanoi at your expense.

The ride sharing apps Uber and Grab Taxi are both operating in Hanoi and if you are accustomed to using them or one of their partners at home, you can continue using in Vietnam without having to change anything. However, you may want to grab a cheap local SIM card(~USD5) as many drivers like to call before picking you up. Don’t worry if neither of you speak each other’s language well, the call is common courtesy in Vietnam and the driver will still pick you up.

Where to stay in Hanoi

Hanoi’s Old Quarter and the area surrounding the nearby Hoan Kiem lake are popular for travelers and tourists of all types. The area gives one an easy access to many popular attractions and has one of the more lively nightlife scenes in a city that tends to get quiet rather early. The adjacent French Quarter offers more upscale accommodations without the frenzied activity of the old quarter and is better suited for those looking to get a good night’s sleep.

Things to do in Hanoi

As the country’s cultural capital, Hanoi has too many notable temples to list them all but a popular one is the Temple of the Jade Mountain which sits in the Middle of Hoan Kiem lake and is connected to the shore by the bright red The Huc bridge. Taking a stroll around the lake is also popular with both tourists and locals alike and can take on a festive atmosphere due to the various vendors and entertainers scattered about.

Travelers can checkout the Temple of Literature, where the great scholars of the past studied and whose names are still engraved on monuments in the courtyard. During certain times of the year visitors can also witness the beauty of calligraphers practicing their craft and take home a unique souvenir. A short walk away is the Fine Arts Museum of Vietnam, which boasts an impressive collection spanning the country’s entire history from the ancient civilizations to contemporary artists.

Those interested in recent history may want to tour the Hoa Lo Prison Museum, better known as the Hanoi Hilton where POW’s were held during the American War (as the conflict is referred to locally). For a more upbeat experience, one can check out the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the colonial architecture of the Presidential Palace. Nearby is Ho Tay (West Lake) which hosts several watersport activities depending on the season and has many intriguing temples of its own.

Onward travel from Hanoi

Hanoi often serves as the beginning or the end of one’s travels in Vietnam. Those who have already explored the central and southern regions and come from Sapa to Hanoi will enjoy heading to the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Halong Bay for a cruise among the limestone islands that rise dramatically out of the bay. Cruises for Halong Bay depart from the port city of Haiphong which is a few hours by bus or train to the east of Hanoi.

Travelers just beginning their time in Vietnam will want to head south from Hanoi to Hue, the ancient capital and then onwards to the costal cities of Danang and Nha Trang. Flights are available from Noi Bai Airport, situated one hour outside of the city. Always arrange for a set price taxi to the airport or better yet, book a private charter van to ensure comfort and timely arrival. Of course many bus companies can take you from Hanoi to Hue as well as the Vietnam National Railways and the private train companies Livitrans and Violette Express who operate routes daily. Livitrans and Violette offer 4 berth VIP Sleeper cabins costing around USD75-USD85 for the 14 hour overnight journey. Passengers can expect the same experiences as provided on the Sapa to Hanoi journey with snacks, drinks and a much softer bed to sleep in. They will also have wine, beer and meals available for purchase which are of a higher quality than the standard Vietnam Railways fare. The much longer journey of Hanoi to Hue makes having a comfortable berth all the more important for your wellbeing.

Passenger reviews out of total 1,294 passengers traveled with us on this route

At 12Go our operators offer three types of service:

Cheap, Fast, Good - but you can usually pick only two of them!
Cheap & Fast won’t be Good. (e.g. buses from/to Khao San Road, local buses or 3rd class trains)
Cheap & Good won’t be Fast. (e.g. VIP trains in Thailand)
Fast & Good won’t be Cheap. (e.g. private limousine services, or VIP24 buses vs Express buses)

Make your choice! Please remember that though we are closely monitoring services, we are still an agency marketplace - meaning we focus on ticketing service and route availability / coverage rather than on factual seat recline angle you got today ^_^

★★☆☆☆ Apr 21, 2017 (train #SP4 VIP Sleeper 4x, Chapa Express) :
prijs kwaliteit verhouding VIP benaming onwaardig
★★★★★ Apr 17, 2017 (train #SP4 VIP Sleeper 4x, Sapaly Express) :
Very comfortable sleeper. No problems!
★★☆☆☆ Apr 16, 2017 (van VIP, Grouptour) :
90 minutes late, no ticket office as stated on the booking form - caused a lot of confusion. Took over an hour to get through to one of the sleepy individuals on the end of the two telephone numbers. They were of little help. One said they would be 15 minutes and extended this a number of time before we finally got picked up - no apology or explanation provided. In fact, the driver denied he was late when I questioned him ("no, no no" where his words). Driver was erratic and clearly not qualified to drive the vehicle. During a break he said it would be 30 minutes - after 30 minutes we were all back at the bus and he was again 20 minutes late. He would not answer his phone during this time. We left Hanoi at 8.00 when it should have been 6.30 and due to the drivers extended break and lack of punctuality we arrived in Sapa at 2.30 instead of the 12.30 stated on the booking form and website. We took a completely different bus home despite booking a return with this company. They can not be trusted.
12Go response:

Thank you for informing us of the problem with your trip to Sapa. It's quite unusual (all other passengers have given them 5 star reviews) and we have spoken with Sapa Shuttle Bus about removing this driver from the route.

We really wish that you had informed us that you were not going to travel with Sapa Shuttle on the return trip as we could have refunded your ticket at no cost.

★★★★★ Apr 14, 2017 (bus VIP, Sapa Express) :
One of the best experiences. The staff were courteous and warm. The journey itself was comfortable and relaxing. Thank you
★★★★★ Mar 27, 2017 (bus VIP, Sapa Express) :
We were at the wrong place to get the bus. With help from a local woman we could step in somewhere else. So lucky us.
★★☆☆☆ Mar 18, 2017 (train #SP2 VIP Sleeper, Orient Express) :
For the amount of money involved it was absolutely not worth it.
★★★★★ Mar 15, 2017 (train #SP4 VIP Sleeper, Vietnam Railways)
★★★★☆ Mar 12, 2017 (bus VIP, Sapa Express) :
Great trip.
★★★☆☆ Feb 15, 2017 (train #SP2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express) :
Linens and cabin were clean and overall everything was ok with the actual train ride. Much better than the standard VN railways cabin. However a lot of confusion while attempting to board with only a voucher. A LOT. Basically the staff wasn't letting us on the train because we did not have printed tickets. We were asked to step aside and wait. My wife and I started to get very worried because none of the staff knew what to do with us until last minute someone came running with our tickets. No sure what exactly transpired, but we were only then were we allowed to board.
★★★★★ Feb 10, 2017 (train #SP4 VIP Sleeper 4x, Sapaly Express)
★★★★★ Feb 6, 2017 (bus VIP, Sapa Express) :
Excellent drive, efficient (one) stop of 30 minutes
★★★★★ Feb 3, 2017 (bus VIP, Sapa Express) :
All good
★★★★★ Feb 2, 2017 (bus VIP, Sapa Express) :
Most comfortable seats ever!
★★★☆☆ Feb 2, 2017 (train #SP2 VIP Sleeper, Vietnam Railways) :
We were booked on the 2 lower berths of a 1st class sleeper supposed to be for 4 people. A family of 4, with children aged approx 12 & 14 came to join us in the 2 upper berths of the sleeper. We didn't know how they were going to fit and we objected to being 6 people having paid more to be in a compartment with only 4 people. We complained to the guard and he managed to arrange something so that we were only 4 people after all. I don't know the policy about travelling with children, but nothing I had read told me that we could have this situation. It was not pleasant to complain, but at least there was a resolution . other than this all was good, but we did see 2 small cockroaches in the compartment which is not hygienic.
★★★★☆ Feb 2, 2017 (train #SP2 VIP Sleeper, Vietnam Railways)
★★★★☆ Jan 30, 2017 (train #SP4 VIP Sleeper 4x, Sapaly Express) :
The cabins were decently clean and comfortable. They could probably use some pest control though as we came across three cockroaches in our cabin..can't imagine the ones we couldn't see once the lights were off. Toilet cleanliness needs a lot of work, definitely the biggest downside of the whole experience. Regular check ups/cleans and an upgrade would make it worth the 'VIP' status
★★★★★ Jan 25, 2017 (train #SP4 VIP Sleeper, Vietnam Railways) :
The beds and cabin were really clean and comfortable. The booking process was very easy and all went smoothly
★★★★★ Jan 22, 2017 (train #SP4 VIP Sleeper, Vietnam Railways) :
Super comfy, slept all night. Only problem was we couldn't turn the light off.
★★★★☆ Jan 18, 2017 (bus VIP Sleeper 41, Grouptour) :
It took little bit longer, we should arrive 20:30 and we were in Hanoi 22:30 but everything OK
★★★★★ Jan 17, 2017 (train #SP2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Orient Express) :
Sheets an deb very nice and ver well done
★★★★☆ Jan 11, 2017 (train #SP4 VIP Sleeper, Vietnam Railways)
★★★★☆ Jan 6, 2017 (train #SP4 VIP Sleeper 4x, Sapaly Express) :
My pillow was very dirty. Luckily there was an empty bunk so I could swap pillows with them. The toilet was drenched in water and stank. Otherwise a pleasant journey with helpful and polite staff.
★★☆☆☆ Jan 5, 2017 (bus VIP Sleeper 41, Grouptour)
★★★☆☆ Jan 3, 2017 (train #SP4 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train)
★★★☆☆ Dec 25, 2016 (bus VIP Sleeper 41, Grouptour) :
Good bus and had toilet. Only problem was that it departed an hour later than scheduled.
★★★★☆ Dec 18, 2016 (train #SP2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Fanxipan)
★★★☆☆ Dec 1, 2016 (train #SP2 VIP Sleeper, Orient Express) :
Cabin was the old wooden style, but was a 4 berth used for 2 people rather than a dedicated 2 berth. Toilets could be cleaned more often! Good quality but somewhat overpriced.
★★★★☆ Nov 21, 2016 (train #SP2 VIP Sleeper, Vietnam Railways) :
Train staff helpful
★★★★★ Nov 16, 2016 (van VIP, Grouptour) :
Very comfortable. Good chair, spacious, provided USB port for charging, water, blanket and comes with WiFi. Highly recommended for long hours trip
★★★★☆ Nov 9, 2016 (train #SP4 VIP Sleeper 4x, Sapaly Express)
★★☆☆☆ Nov 6, 2016 (bus VIP Sleeper 41, Grouptour) :
Bad: 1 hour late departure and arrival, nearly missed flight. Seat adjusting impossible because broken. No information from driver, no english. Sent us to wrong departure adress, it was very confusing to get to the bus. Good: Quite comfortable seats en enough legroom. Fast (when on Time). Cheap compared to Train.
★★★☆☆ Oct 26, 2016 (train #SP4 VIP Sleeper, Vietnam Railways) :
I slept a reasonable amount of hours, was a fun experience. Beds were clean, toilets not so much. Train moves and shakes quite a lot. Air conditioning can't make the room cool enough, was really hot. I brought a sheet to lie under, the provided blanket was too hot.
★★★☆☆ Oct 16, 2016 (train #SP4 VIP Sleeper, Vietnam Railways) :
Upper bunk blanket and pillow but slept pretty well despite noise of train - no extras but no great need as long as you take some food and drink + arrived on time enabling me to catch train to Haiphong at 6 am.
★★★★★ Oct 13, 2016 (train #SP4 VIP Sleeper, Vietnam Railways) :
Bit hard to sleep but everything ok.
★★★★☆ Oct 8, 2016 (train #SP4 VIP Sleeper 4x, Sapaly Express) :
Quite a bumpy ride. Train kept halting. Otherwise a good cabin.
★★★★☆ Sep 27, 2016 (train #SP2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Orient Express) :
Booked online which was easy. If you arrive at Lao Cai station early, don't wait in the waiting room, if you go to the passenger entry to the right of the waiting room entrance you can board the private carriages early. Clean and comfortable. Take earplugs to drown out fellow passenger snores and you should sleep well!!
★★★★★ Sep 5, 2016 (train #SP4 VIP Sleeper 4x, Sapaly Express) :
I had the whole cabin to myself just based on luck. No one else booked the other beds. It was great. The only downside was the wake up call of Vietnamese music
★★★☆☆ Sep 3, 2016 (train #SP4 VIP Sleeper 4x, King Express)
★★☆☆☆ Aug 6, 2016 (train #SP2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express) :
Matrass much too hard. Awfull
★★★★★ Aug 6, 2016 (train #SP2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Orient Express)
★★★★★ Aug 6, 2016 (train #SP4 VIP Sleeper, Vietnam Railways)
★★★★★ Aug 4, 2016 (train #SP4 VIP Sleeper, Chapa Express) :
Chapa Train was OK, but 160 dollars for 2 persons was a bit too much for just two berths.
★★★☆☆ Jul 26, 2016 (train #SP2 VIP Sleeper, Vietnam Railways)

News @ Hanoi

26 April 2017

Thai AirAsia has announced the launch of a new route between Bangkok and Da Nang in central Vietnam. The Thai affiliate of AirAsia says the new route will launch on 9 June and there will be one flight a day in each direction.

26 April 2017

US based river cruise operator Avalon has announced the addition of a second ship to its Mekong options. The Avalon Saigon will join sister vessel Avalon Siem Reap in autumn 2018 and offer river cruises between southern Vietnam and Cambodia.

25 April 2017

A historic archway sitting beside one of central Vietnam’s most picturesque viewpoints has been designated a national relic. A little under 500 metres above sea level, the gate at Hai Van marks the topmost point of the mountain pass road from Da Nang to Hue.