Sapa to Hanoi

Sapa to Hanoi

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Sapa Lao Cai
7h 50m ride in train #SP4 with Sapaly Express
From VND 1.76 m per adult
Lao Cai Sao Viet
6h bus ride with Sao Viet in Sleeper
Pham Van Dong Sao Viet, Hanoi
VND 233 k per adult

From Sapa Lao Cai to Hanoi by train

Sapa Lao Cai
7h 50m ride in train #SP4 with Sapaly Express
From VND 1.76 m per adult

From Lao Cai Sao Viet to Hanoi by bus

Lao Cai Sao Viet
6h bus ride with Sao Viet in Sleeper
Pham Van Dong Sao Viet, Hanoi
VND 233 k per adult

Sapa to Hanoi Schedule

Sapa to Hanoi Schedule
Transport NameRoute TimePrice
DichungTaxi Comfort Any timeVND 4,653k
Sao Viet Sleeper 05:30 - 11:30VND 233k
Sao Viet Sleeper 06:30 - 12:30VND 233k
Sao Viet Sleeper 21 08:30 - 13:30VND 293k
Sao Viet Sleeper 10:45 - 16:45VND 233k
Sao Viet Sleeper 21 13:00 - 18:00VND 293k
Sao Viet Sleeper 21 15:00 - 20:00VND 293k
Sao Viet Sleeper 16:00 - 22:00VND 233k
Sao Viet Sleeper 18:15 - 00:15VND 233k
Sapaly Express 1st Class Sleeper 21:40 - 05:30VND 1,760k
Livitrans Express VIP Sleeper 4x 21:40 - 05:17VND 740k
Sao Viet Sleeper 21 23:58 - 04:58VND 293k

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.

Transportation from Sapa to Hanoi

Sapa to Hanoi destination reviews

Train #SP4 VIP Sleeper 4x, Laman Express, Sep 8, 2020
I didn’t go, the train was cancelled due to Covid - still waiting on refund
Bus VIP 20, Grouptour (Công ty du lịch quốc tế Grouptour), Mar 27, 2020
Our bus’s quite clean and comfortable, our trip was on time as the its schedule.But,driver and bus hostess (i guess!?) were unfriendly.
Train #SP4 1st Class Sleeper, Laman Express, Mar 26, 2020
Having a waiting room was nice, although not something we felt the need to use. The bathroom was very nice, specifically for a train. Everything was clean. The beds are quite hard and the air conditioner made a really odd inconsist noise that woke me up throughout the night. I can sleep through a steady noise, but this was more of a stop creak. On the trip to Lao Cai we were woken up by "sunrise" music about 20 minutes before disembarking. That didn't happen on the return though. Only about 10 minutes before the arrival did someone come by to wake us.
Train VIP Sleeper 4x, Laman Express, Mar 15, 2020
I had a compartment to myself, so that was wonderful. The staff was very polite and helpful. The compartment and toilets were clean and comfortable. The bed was quite hard, which would be a problem for some people. The train was exactly on time.
Bus VIP-Class, Sapa Express, Mar 12, 2020
Very affordable and very comfortable ride
Train VIP Sleeper 4x, Laman Express, Mar 10, 2020
We went with Laman Express both ways. Everything was great except noise from the rails, but that is expected, just bring earplugs with you. They gave water bottle, snacks for free. Woke us up in the morning just on time. The bathroom area was clean, there was toilet paper, soap all the time. There was possibility to make a coffee or tea for yourself with a kettle.
Train #SP4 VIP Sleeper 4x, King Express, Mar 5, 2020
Beds reasonably comfortable and toilets clean. Train left and arrived on time.
Bus VIP 20, Sapa Express, Mar 4, 2020
Pleasant and comfortable coach. Well looked after by our guide Sophia. Very convenient way to travel to and from Sapa
van VIP, Grouptour (Công ty du lịch quốc tế Grouptour), Mar 1, 2020
The van was new and safe, but we started one hour later than stated on our booking schedule and have to call two times to get information about the delay. At the end, the driver dropped us off at the airport with a delay of about half an hour
Bus Sleeper, Sapa Dragon Express (Sapa Dragon Express), Feb 16, 2020
The bus was comfortable. We showed up an hour early for the bus and it's a good thing since we left to walk up to the bus 30 mins before the bus was scheduled to leave. The driver had a bin of shoes so we didn't need to dig out our shoes at the 2 stops during the trip.
van VIP, Grouptour (Công ty du lịch quốc tế Grouptour), Feb 16, 2020
The ride itself was fine but we didn't get a confirmation for the ride so the day before we had to go to the office in Sapa and find out what was going on. At first I was told that the bus was cancelled and that I would need to book a different bus through the lady working there. I said If it was cancelled they needed to tell 12go so that I could be reimbursed. I insisted she call her company to find out what was going on. After a few phone calls I was told to check my email and that a confirmation would be there. I did and the confirmation was there. So after being told it was cancelled I guess they decided to run it after all??? Not too sure but we were the only ones in the bus.
Bus VIP-Class, Sapa Express, Feb 11, 2020
Excellent trip. The staff member on our bus was very regimented and the bus itself is very comfortable with reclining seats and plenty of leg room. Wish all long haul busses were like this!
Bus VIP-Class, Sapa Express, Feb 4, 2020
Very comfortable bus and meeting location very easy to find. Contact the whatsapp number to let then send a photo of the meeting point if can’t find it
Train VIP Sleeper 4x, Laman Express, Feb 2, 2020
Since I was traveling solo, the officer offered to change me to a different room that was empty, and leave mine for a group of 3 people. In short, I ended up in one room just for myself. And the other 3 guys got like a private room. Really nice from the staff
Bus Sleeper, Sapa Dragon Express (Sapa Dragon Express), Jan 31, 2020
Got dropped off right near hostel, & insanely great price:)
Train 1st Class Sleeper, Laman Express, Jan 29, 2020
Always hard to sleep on a trian, but very nice facilities and complimentary goods. Wifi could be better.
Train 1st Class Sleeper, Laman Express, Jan 24, 2020
Laman train very clean but the bed very hard
Train VIP Sleeper 4x, Laman Express, Jan 22, 2020
Good for me
Train 1st Class Sleeper, Laman Express, Jan 18, 2020
Great trip, great service. Bit noisy, but hey.. we where on a train.
Train VIP Sleeper 4x, Laman Express, Jan 16, 2020
Very pleasant journey. As it was not a busy train (Tuesday night) the two of us had a four-bed sleeper compartment all to ourselves. Washing area and toilet were clean although the toilet paper had run out by morning. We were slightly disturbed by four young men talking quite loudly in the next-door compartment (walls are paper-thin) but they shut up eventually and we got a good night's sleep.
Bus VIP 20, Grouptour (Công ty du lịch quốc tế Grouptour), Jan 14, 2020
Bus Semi Sleeper, Grouptour (Công ty du lịch quốc tế Grouptour), Jan 2, 2020
Too many stops to pick up and unload passengers which resulted in delay in arrival of bus at final destination.
Train VIP Sleeper 4x, Laman Express, Jan 2, 2020
Bus Semi Sleeper, Grouptour (Công ty du lịch quốc tế Grouptour), Dec 30, 2019
Overall happy with the journey, bus delayed by 1 hour.Need to improvise cleanliness.
Bus VIP-Class, Sapa Express, Dec 29, 2019
Not very organised, waited half an hour at their offices With no contact then incidentally discovered o coach pulling out was the one I was supposed to be on. No temperature control on the bus, freezing for 5 hours
Train #SP4 1st Class Sleeper, Vietnam Railways (Đường sắt Việt Nam), Dec 28, 2019
Toilet is not clean
Train VIP Sleeper 4x, Laman Express, Dec 25, 2019
Very nice train, cosy and comfortable cabin, with complimentary softdrinks and snacks. Much better than sleeping bus, where is no enough legroom for average European person, and bad air.
Train VIP Sleeper 4x, Laman Express, Dec 25, 2019
Harika diyorum
Train VIP Sleeper 4x, Laman Express, Dec 24, 2019
It’s an ok service but you should put only female cabins I don’t feel safe sharing the cabin with men’s I don’t know
Bus VIP 20, Sapa Express, Dec 21, 2019
Very comfortable. Great service. Safe driving.
Bus VIP-Class, Sapa Express, Dec 20, 2019
Nice bus ,very comfortable,staff and Driver very good
Bus VIP 20, Grouptour (Công ty du lịch quốc tế Grouptour), Dec 20, 2019
Bus is clean. However, booked departure at 1840hr but the bus depart at 1930hr. Driver do not speak English at all, made a few stops but we do not know what was going on or where we should stop
van VIP, Grouptour (Công ty du lịch quốc tế Grouptour), Dec 19, 2019
Bus was late and we almost mist our transfer. Also the bus had no leg space. Thanks to the help of the driver we got of first so we did make it!
Train 1st Class Sleeper, Laman Express, Dec 18, 2019
VIP 2-person sleeper car was great, so much more comfortable to sleep lying down in privacy overnight. The room was nicely prepared for us, including bananas, water, tea, and little baked sweet rolls. Power plugs and wifi are helpful. Beds are very hard and small, and bathroom was out of paper and stopped up within an hour, and I never saw a staff person to tell about it. But there is a proper sink with water for washing up at night/morning, and we really enjoyed the ability to get (almost) a proper night's sleep! Tip: you might want to set an alarm unless you are prepared to be up and out within 5 minutes of the wake-up announcement. Would definitely book again.
Train #SP4 1st Class Sleeper, Vietnam Railways (Đường sắt Việt Nam), Dec 16, 2019
When booking the location said Hanoi however when the ticket came it said yen vien (yen vien is 30 min taxi from Hanoi. Staff were rude (shouting and banging on your door repeatedly to tell us to get off the train. We didn't even know it was out stop as there was no announcement. Toilet was disgusting
Train VIP Sleeper 4x, Laman Express, Dec 15, 2019
The cabin is neat and tidy. Hot water is also available at train basin. Toilet is clean. Service is good.
Train #SP4 1st Class Sleeper, Vietnam Railways (Đường sắt Việt Nam), Dec 12, 2019
Booked a return from Hanoi to Lao Cai but the return tickets only took us to Yen Vien so had to pay a further 200000 dong on the train to complete the journey.
Train VIP Sleeper 4x, Laman Express, Dec 7, 2019
Buying tickets through was easy and staff sent vouchers within 8 hours of purchase. We were also upgraded to Lamar Express brand from the Vietnam Railways that we originally tequested. Train cabin was clean and staff was attentive. Sheets were cleaned but we still used sleeping bag liners. Toilet was clean (but no soap).
Train VIP Sleeper 4x, Laman Express, Dec 2, 2019
100% satisfied.
Bus VIP 20, Sapa Express, Dec 1, 2019
Oh my word such comfortable chairs you feel like your on first class in a plane. So much leg room and an overall very pleasant ride. Mr Dan our driver and Max our host were brilliant.
Bus VIP 20, Grouptour (Công ty du lịch quốc tế Grouptour), Dec 1, 2019
12go failed to highlight the following: 1. Bus departure timing is 11:30 instead of 11 2. Bus will not bring you directly to the end point. You have to transfer to a smaller one by the side of the highway outside of Hanoi You can actually head directly to the bus terminal next to the Sapa market and wait in the waiting lounge with free food and drinks instead of standing in the shed 12go tells you to. It's 800m away. It's advisable to try and request a lower deck bed as it's really rocky going down Sapa. We got motion sickness and was made worse with the driver's incessant honking and hard braking. No barf bags onboard. No breaks along the way, there is a toilet at the back of the bus.
Bus VIP-Class, Sapa Express, Nov 29, 2019
Brandnew VIP car Excellent service
Train #SP4 1st Class Sleeper, Vietnam Railways (Đường sắt Việt Nam), Nov 29, 2019
comfortable and clean beds, on time
van VIP, Grouptour (Công ty du lịch quốc tế Grouptour), Nov 28, 2019
Driver drive very hard and sometimes he did very dangerous moves on the way!
Train #SP4 1st Class Sleeper, Vietnam Railways (Đường sắt Việt Nam), Nov 25, 2019
Ondo, bere preziorako.
Train #SP4 VIP Sleeper 4x, Sapaly Express, Nov 24, 2019
Comfortable, clean and very helpful and friendly staff :)
Train #SP4 VIP Sleeper 4x, King Express, Nov 23, 2019
Everything ran smoothly and the beds are quite comfortable. Servise on board is a bit shit. They offer you a free hot drink to arrive in the morning just before you get to Hanoi; tea, coffee or hot chocolate. However, the hot chocolate isn't actually free. So we got a little scammed into paying 25k each for a hot chocolate, never going to argue that at 5am - they know this.
Bus VIP 20, Sapa Express, Nov 22, 2019
Отличный сервис. Удобные автобусы, идут по расписанию. Отличные гиды и водители.
Train #SP2 1st Class Sleeper, Fanxipan, Nov 21, 2019
The csbin in larger than Sapaly, however, the toilet is smelly.
Train #SP2 1st Class Sleeper, Vietnam Railways (Đường sắt Việt Nam), Nov 19, 2019
At my first trip there was something to drink and to eat, that I missed this time. The door was just of glass and the light shined into my eyes the whole night long. The beds were nice and I slept very well. I liked my trip
1272 customer reviews