Bus to Sapa Train to Lao Cai From Lao Cai to Sapa icon-map-marker Map of Sapa icon-ticket Buy tickets
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. Sapa is a good place for trekking in Vietnam, but it is good to know, Sapa is overcrowded by tourists and travellers. You will find there the highest mountain in Vietnam – Fansipan (3 143 m) and you can visit this place very easily, by a new cable car from the town.
Travel distance from Hanoi to Sapa is about 320 km.
Lots of visitors travel by a night train from Hanoi to Lao Cai. It takes about 8 hours by train and you will arrive to Lao Cai in 5-6.30 am. Lao Cai is about 30 km from Sapa and you can travel on this route by a local public bus (much cheaper) or private bus companies. There are also some very comfortable direct tourist buses from Hanoi to Sapa (Hung Thanh, Inter Bus Lines, Good Morning Sapa, EcoSapa, The SinhTourist…).
1. BUS from Hanoi to Sapa
– the best way is to use day or night direct bus from Hanoi to Sapa town
– it takes about 6 hours by bus from Hanoi to Sapa
– 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
– one-way bus ticket costs about $10-20 from Hanoi to Sapa
– you can book and buy bus e-tickets online of Hung Thanh, Inter Bus Lines, EcoSapa, SapaExpress, TheSinhTourist…
icon-angle-double-rightbook and buy bus e-tickets from Hanoi to Sapa online on Baolau or 12go.asia, secured online payment
– this is a top travel route from Hanoi to Sapa – recommended – book your bus e-tickets online!
2. TRAIN from Hanoi to Lao Cai
– lots of travelers go to Sapa with a night train from Hanoi to Lao Cai
– all the trains go to Lao Cai town (340 km from Hanoi), it is the end station (25 km from Sapa)
– a cheap trains of Vietnam Railways with less comfort (ofic.vietnamese railways)
– tourists trains (also 2-bed cabin in train), but also more expensive (Orient Express, King Express, Fansipan, Livitrans…)
– you can search, book and buy train e-tickets online
– seat selection available on Baolau and also on 12go.asia
– Vietnam Railways may change the orientation of the carriage at the departure station anytime at their convenience
icon-angle-double-rightbook and buy train e-tickets from Hanoi to Lao Cai online on Baolau or 12go.asia
– this is a top travel route from Hanoi to Lao Cai – recommended – book your train e-tickets online!
Vietnam Railways trains – SP1, SP3, SP7, LC3 icon-angle-double-down
– hard or soft seat – price of the one-way train ticket is about 120 000 – 160 000 viet.dongs / 1 person ($7, soft seat)
– hard berth (price of the ticket $12, 6-bed cabin) or soft berth (price of the cheap ticket $17, 4-bed cabin)
– SP = new trains, LC3 = old train, carry-on baggage – 20 kg
– seat or berth/bed selection available on Baolau and 12go.asia
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 of the train tickets is about 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 of the train ticket is about 2 500 000 – 3 500 000 viet.dongs)
– all the tourist trains are very nice and comfortable, but the price is a bit higher
Train tickets booking – Hanoi to Lao Caiicon-angle-double-down
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 book and 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
Travelling with children in the train
icon-angle-double-right For trains operated by Vietnam Railways:
– passengers under 6 years old do not need to buy train ticket if they seat with their parents, or else benefit from 25% discount in all fares when they book a separate ticket. If you do not wish to take this passenger into account when making the booking, please select a smaller number of passengers
– passengers from 6 to 9 years old need to buy train ticket but benefit from 25% discount in all fares
– passengers with 10 years old or over are not eligible for children discount, need to book train ticket as adults
icon-angle-double-right For trains operated by Victoria Express, Fanxipan Express, King Express, Orient Express, Sapaly Express, Chapa Express, Livitrans Express, Violette Train or Saigon Golden Train:
– passengers under 3 years old do not need to buy ticket if they seat with their parents. If you do not wish to take this passenger into account when making the booking, please select a smaller number of passengers (information from Baolau).
Buses from Lao Cai town to Sapa:
If you’re traveling from Hanoi to Sapa by train >>> all the trains end 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 have to 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 below.
I recommend to go with a public bus in Lao Cai town Here is a time table (times can change) of the buses from Lao Cai to Sapa. In the near future, about 2020, there is a plan to build a new international airport in Lao Cai (Cam Con commune), so it’s possible that the transportation to Lao Cai will change.
icon-info-circle Recommendation for traveling from Hanoi to Sapa (Lao Cai):
1. Sapa is a big tourist spot. Lots of tourists visit this place.
2. Buy your bus or train tickets online, if you want to avoid scammers in Hanoi.
3. A lot of tourist agencies in Hanoi have a train and bus tickets, but lots of them are overprized.
4. The most cheapest ticket is a train ticket from Hanoi to Lao Cai (soft seat – about $7/pp).
5. Almost all the trains take a baggage to 20 kg (recommended – keep this rule).
6. Watch your luggage on the train (do not leave them alone).
7. Read all necessary information on Baolau and 12go.asia if you buy tickets online.
8. The most fastest transport from Hanoi to Sapa is a direct bus connection.
Sapa – map:
What is Baolau?
– Baolau sells the bus, train, ferry tickets mainly for Vietnam (also a tickets to Cambodia, Laos)
– bus tickets of well-known bus companies (Mai Linh, Hoang Long, Futabus, Hung Thanh, Inter Bus lines…)
– flights of Vietnamese Airlines, VietJet Air, JetStar, Air Asia as well as flights to neighboring countries
– ferry tickets for Vietnam, Cambodia, eg. ferry to Cat Ba, ferry to Phu Quoc, ferry to Phnom Penh…
– 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)
– you can select a seat or berth in the train, read also frequently asked questions on Baolau
What is 12go.asia?
– 12go sells the train, bus, ferry tickets mainly to Thailand (also Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Laos)
– bus tickets of various well-known companies (Futabus, Mai Linh, Hoang Long, TheSinhTourist, Sapa Express…)
– boat/ferry tickets for Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, eg. ferry to Vung Tau, Koh Chang, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, Koh Samui…
– you can use an online train e-ticket in Vietnam in your phone or tablet (recommended – print your ticket)
– 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 train ticket in your mobile phone in Thailand, you have to print it (12go can deliver these tickets)
– if you buy train tickets for Thailand over 12go.asia, you can pick them in the office: Bangkok (DOB building) or Chiang Mai (Bossotel)
– information about 12go.asia read in article about transportation in Vietnam
– more information about trains in Thailand
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 the Thanh Kim or Ban Ho village.