Sapa, Hanoi, Ha Long are the most visited places in northern Vietnam.
Sapa is among the top 3 most visited places in northern Vietnam after Hanoi and Ha Long Bay. It is good to know it. If you do not like the places full of tourists, it will be better you skip this place and you can go for example to Ha Giang. The good 2 days trip is on a motorbike to the north of the Lao Cai province (Y Ty, Bat Xat), almost no tourists come here. Y Ty, Bat Xat – this is trip for 2-3 days and it is 100 km from Sapa town. Sapa is a good place for trekking in Vietnam, but it is good to know, Sapa is overcrowded by tourists and travellers.
1. BUSES from Hanoi to Sapa 🚍
The best way is to use day or night direct bus from Hanoi to Sapa town. One drive takes about 6 hours. Bus stations in Hanoi you will find in the map, see article about Hanoi. Buses depart from Hanoi to Sapa from My Dinh bus station, another private bus companies depart from other places. Prices range from $10-20 per ride from Hanoi to Sapa. You can book and buy bus e-tickets of Hung Thanh, EcoSapa, SapaExpress or TheSinhTourist.
icon-angle-double-right buy bus e-tickets on Baolau or 12go.asia
2. TRAINS from Hanoi to Lao Cai 🚆
Lots of travelers go to Sapa with a night train. All the trains go to Lao Cai town (340 km from Hanoi), it is the end station (25 km from Sapa). Trains may be from Vietnam Railways with less comfort (ofic.vietnamese railways) or also trains for tourists (also 2-bed cabin in train), but also more expensive (Orient Express, King Express, Fansipan, Sapaly, Livitrans…). You can search and buy train tickets online. Seat selection available on Baolau, Vietnam Railways may change the orientation of the carriage at the departure station anytime at their convenience.
icon-angle-double-right buy train e-tickets on Baolau or 12go.asia
Vietnam Railways trains – SP1, SP3, SP7, LC3 icon-angle-double-down
– hard or soft seat – price for one-way ticket from 120 000 – 160 000 Viet.dongs / 1 person
– hard bed (6-bed cabin) or soft bed (4-bed cabin) – price for one-way ticket from 270 000 – 400 000 Viet.dongs / 1 person
– SP = new trains, LC3 = old train, carry-on baggage – 20 kg
– seat selection available on Baolau
Tourist and private train operators (added to SP1 + SP3) icon-angle-double-down
– Livitrans, Violette Train, Oriental Express, King Express, Sapaly, PV2, Fansipan Express, Victoria Express
– price from 700 000 – 1 800 000 Viet.dongs / 1 person – soft bed (depend on the type of cabin)
– better quality and service, 2 or 4-bed cabins, carry-on baggage – 20 kg
– the most deluxe train – Victoria Express Train (price for ticket from 2 500 000 – 3 500 000 Viet.dongs)
icon-angle-double-right For bookings with Royal Railway and private railway companies Victoria Express, Fanxipan Express, King Express, Orient Express, Sapaly Express, Chapa Express and Saigon Golden Train, you will be required to complete the payment before submitting your order. Your reservation will be processed and you will receive a voucher by email to collect the physical ticket at the station before boarding the train.
icon-angle-double-right For bookings with Vietnam Railways and private railway companies Livitrans Express and Violette Train, you will be required to complete the payment before submitting your order. Your reservation will be processed and you will receive your e-ticket by email, ready to print or carry in your mobile phone or tablet and present when boarding the train.
icon-angle-double-right If you buy bus tickets online on Baolau or 12go.asia, you will receive your e-ticket by email, ready to print or carry in your mobile phone or tablet and present at the ticket counter of the station before boarding the bus
Buses from Lao Cai town to Sapa:
If you’re traveling from Hanoi to Sapa with a train >>> All the trains ends in Lao Cai town, 10 km from the Chinese border in northern Vietnam. Trains run throughout the day and many travellers and tourist travel in the evening (20.30 – 22.00 pm). The nigth train arrives to Lao Cai town at 6.00 – 7.00 am. You must take a public bus or taxi from Lao Cai town to Sapa, lots of tourist buses are waiting outside the train station. Be careful they are overprized. The public bus station is in the center of town, 300 meters from the train station, see the map in the article about Sapa.
I recommend to go with a public bus in Lao Cai town Here is a time table of buses from Lao Cai to Sapa. All the tourist trains (Oriental Express, Sapaly, Livitrans, King Express…) are very nice and comfortable, but the price is a bit higher. In the near future, about 2020, there is a plan to build a new international airport in Lao Cai (Cam Con commune).
What is Baolau?
– Baolau company sell train tickets mainly for Vietnam (also a tickets to Cambodia, Laos)
– Baolau offers also a tickets of big bus companies (Mai Linh, Hoang Long)
– company offers flights of Vietnamese Airlines as well as flights to neighboring countries + tickets for the ferries in Vietnam
– certified company from Singapore – no cheaters or scammers
– the price of tickets or flights is from the official price of transport company or airlines
– you will see the final price before making a payment transaction
– you can have online train e-ticket in mobile phone in Vietnam (I recommend to print a ticket)
– read in the order any other information about ticket before make a transaction
– you can select a seat or berth in the train
What is 12go.asia?
– a specialist for tickets mainly in Thailand (also Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Laos)
– you can use an online e-ticket in Vietnam in your phone
– if you order an train ticket at these companies for tourist trains in Vietnam (Orient Express, Sapaly, Chapa …), you must pick it up at the station
– you can not use an online ticket in your mobile phone in Thailand, you have to print it
– information about 12go.asia read in article about transportation in Vietnam
Sapa – map:
Sapa is suitable for trekking – fantastic surrounding and ethnicity.
I highly recommend to try a real homestay with the ethnic minorities, you can spend with them all the day or night. You will see their everyday life and they will be preparing very good meals for you. You can create really nice photos at these locations, but this place is visited by many travelers, it is a tourist spot. Hoang Lien National Park is very popular. Rice terraces, valleys and mountain sceneries sometimes shrouded in mist and friendly ethnic minority people. Lots of homestays you will find in Tavan village, but there is a lot of tourists, and some accomodations are common tourist cottages. I recommend to go into Thanh Kim or Ban Ho village.