Sapa to Hanoi

Sapa to Hanoi

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Sapa to Hanoi Schedule

Sapa to Hanoi Schedule
Transport NameRoute TimePrice
Grouptour Van 7pax Any time$ 208.21
Sapa Express VIP-Class 07:00 - 13:00$ 18.97
Grouptour VIP Sleeper 41 13:30 - 18:30$ 15.86
GreenLion Bus Front and Back seats 14:30 - 19:30$ 16.60
Laman Express VIP Sleeper 4x 21:40 - 05:30$ 28.02
Sao Viet VIP Cabin 22:58 - 04:28$ 18.03

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

JA
Bad bus. Temerary driver. Trip delayed
Bus VIP Sleeper 41, Grouptour (Công ty du lịch quốc tế Grouptour), Aug 16, 2022
BK
It was not the bus I booked, but I booked vip22, but it was difficult in the narrow seat
Bus VIP 22, Grouptour (Công ty du lịch quốc tế Grouptour), Aug 15, 2022
GC
I was driven to Saoviet travel by the representatives at the 12go pickup point and I was then told by the Saoviet travel rep that there was no record of my ticket that I purchased online. I ended up running around to different offices asking if they were the company I was supposed to go with after the 12go rep disappeared. Eventually the lady at Saoviet (who I went back to helplessly) called around and printed me a ticket under someone elses name. It seems the record of my ticket was lost. To be fair I dont think Sa Pa had ever been busier and this was likely miscommunication but with the language barrier this was very stressful.
Bus Sleeper 38, Grouptour (Công ty du lịch quốc tế Grouptour), Aug 15, 2022
L
1. The picture of the bus on 12go voucher is not correct. As in, it is a different companies bus image and the locals do not know the company we were using as they have taken a name very similar to that of another company close by, then used another image. All of this is very misleading and meant there was an argument between our local guide, the woman at the ‘office’, which is actually a car garage, due to the fact the bus company is not very legitimate. 2. The woman at the garage was rude and unhelpful. 3. We arrived 40 minutes early and they made us waited for another 30 minutes in the garage outside 4. They took us to the bus by electric car 5 minutes before departure, put our suitcases on the bus, told us to get on the bus, took our shoes and then kicked us out of the bus to the ticket office to buy new tickets just because they couldn’t find our names on the bus list though we paid and booked successfully through 12go site in advanced. 5. Within that 5 minutes before departure, they made us run 300 metres down the road with all our luggages to the other company (SaoViet), which is the picture used of the bus on your voucher, when we refused to buy the new tickets (all these are such hassles since they can not try to speak English at all.) 6. Nobody at SaoViet recognised us or our name, and sent us back to the bus station to buy a ticket (which we needed as it was 11:05pm and we were meant to depart at 11:00pm (very important as our flight from Hanoi to Bangkok was in the morning). 7. Upon arriving back at the bus station, the staff there laughed at us for running back and said that in fact, we were on the correct bus earlier and asked us to board again. (Again they didn’t even care or try to speak English at all.) 8. The staff continued to laugh and joke, handed us a ticket and then threw our cases on, suggesting to the other passengers the reason for our late departure was because ‘passengers were late and they were waiting’. 9. The journey itself was ok, other than when we arrived in Hanoi (not the end location) and were woken, asked to exit the coach and put into a minivan for the last 30minutes, none of which is un the itinerary. I would never use this service again as it made our final hours in Vietnam extremely stressful as we were expected to catch a flight and we were worried we would miss it. A sad end to an otherwise lovely holiday.
Bus VIP 22, Grouptour (Công ty du lịch quốc tế Grouptour), Aug 15, 2022
PB
The driver was to late and he did drop us in Hanoi somewhere down the road. In the rain and in the dark with a little kid. Unresponsible and onacceptable.
Bus VIP 9 Express, Grouptour (Công ty du lịch quốc tế Grouptour), Aug 14, 2022
JP
They are wonderful! We left on time and arrived a bit earlier. The driver was super cautious and drove safely. The attendant spoke English fluently.
Bus VIP 28, Sapa Express, Aug 14, 2022
NO
The staff was rude and not customer friendly. Do they realise they are supposed to offer some kind of service? And for working mainly with tourists maybe they should no more English words than ‘ticket’. I showed him the address we needed to get dropped off to get our connection bus. He first made it seem like it was possible, but when showing again near Hanoi he started shaking his head. I guess it was suddenly not possible. We got dropped at the office too late, missing our connection bus Hanoi - Cat Ba. The bus operator Hanoi - Cat Ba cancelled our fully paid tickets and made us buy new ones for the next day.
Bus VIP 22, Grouptour (Công ty du lịch quốc tế Grouptour), Aug 11, 2022
AM
Was a bit complicated finding where to board the bus and there were issues finding the correct bus to get on, but once boarded the trip was comfortable, though the seats are not for taller people.
Bus Sleeper 41, Grouptour (Công ty du lịch quốc tế Grouptour), Aug 10, 2022
TS
If you are at all doubtful which bus to choose, choose sapa express. This is in a league separate from the rest. Took three 22 seat vip. Bus was spotless and nice. Ride was on time, extremely comfortable. Free water bottle. A person who helped with information. Overall was impressed. The office is in old quarter in Hanoi and can be easily accessed. Pickup from near the hotel.
Bus VIP 28, Sapa Express, Aug 6, 2022
TS
Avoid the 38 seat sleeper if possible. First off the bus is crammed with two levels of semi sleeper bunk beds. These sleeper seats are narrow and short that if you are anything more than 5'6", you are going to have a tough time fitting in comfortably. More than that, there is no space for your backpack and you also need to keep your shoes in a plastic bag with you. All of this makes the journey extremely uncomfortable. The sleeper seats are weirdly designed that you will not find it easy to lay back. The most you can do it push it at a weird 45 degree incline but even that was broken in mine. So prepare for 6 hours of lying in a weird, cramped position neither able to sleep nor sit and counting all your life choices that led to this point. The operator was fine. Left 15 mins late but reached Hanoi in pretty much the expected 6 hour time frame.
Bus Sleeper 38, Grouptour (Công ty du lịch quốc tế Grouptour), Aug 6, 2022
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