HANOI to SAPA → Bus, Train, Taxi? ☀️

How to travel from Hanoi to Sapa
How to travel from Hanoi to Sapa (Lao Cai)? You can travel to Sapa by bus, train + bus or private luxury taxi/car or minivan.


Hanoi to Sapa by bus, van, train, taxi or car.

A) Explore the Scenic Route: Hanoi to Sapa (Lao Cai) via Sleeper Trains

    • Embark on a captivating journey from Hanoi to Sapa, where lush landscapes await. Opt for a range of transportation modes, including tourist buses, train and bus combinations, taxis or private cars and taxi. Sapa, nestled amidst picturesque mountains, doesn’t have an airport, making air travel from Hanoi unfeasible. One of the preferred routes is via sleeper trains to Lao Cai, followed by a bus or taxi ride to Sapa. Choose from luxurious sleeper trains or regular trains departing from Hanoi to Lao Cai. Upon reaching Lao Cai, continue your journey to Sapa via public bus or private car. This scenic route takes approximately 10 hours, with ticket prices ranging from $9 to $100 per person, depending on the train type. For a budget-friendly option, consider taking a seat on the train to Lao Cai, followed by a public bus to Sapa, costing around $9 to $15 per person. Keep in mind that sleeper trains operate overnight, offering convenience but possibly missing out on daytime views.

BOOK TICKETS to Sapa with 12go.asia


B) Optimal Convenience: Tourist Bus, Minivan or Car from Hanoi to Sapa

    • Experience seamless travel from Hanoi to Sapa through convenient options like tourist buses or minivans. Several reputable bus companies operate modern, comfortable vehicles shuttling between Hanoi, including Noi Bai Airport, and Sapa. Bus fares are economical, with a journey duration of approximately 6 hours and ticket prices ranging from $6 to $22 per person. Ensure to verify the bus routes to ensure arrival at the correct destination in Sapa. Alternatively, for enhanced comfort, consider hiring a private car or taxi, albeit at a higher cost. Whether commencing from Noi Bai International Airport, Hanoi Train Station, the city center, or elsewhere in Hanoi, easily arrange a private car or taxi to Sapa. Expect a travel time of around 5 hours, with expenses ranging from $95 to $270 per vehicle. Secure a modern car or luxury minivan for your journey to Sapa through online booking platforms. While motorbike travel from Hanoi to Sapa is plausible, it requires an International Driving Permit (IDP) in Vietnam. However, note that this mode of transportation may not be suitable for all, considering Vietnam’s challenging traffic conditions.

BOOK TICKETS to Sapa with Baolau

    • Discover the allure of Sapa, ranking among northern Vietnam’s top three tourist destinations after Hanoi and Ha Long Bay. While it’s renowned for trekking adventures, the town teems with tourists. If you seek lesser-known destinations, consider exploring Ha Giang instead. Sapa’s highlights include Vietnam’s tallest peak, Fansipan (3,143 m), accessible via a train and cable car journey from Sapa (Fansipan Legend cable car). Immerse yourself in the local culture by opting for a homestay with ethnic minorities like the Black Hmong and Red Dao. Notable attractions include the scenic Muong Hoa Valley, adorned with quaint villages and terraced rice fields, perfect for leisurely treks. With multiple transport options available, including buses, minibusses, trains via Lao Cai, or private taxis/cars, accessing Sapa from Hanoi is convenient. Foreign tourists particularly favor tourist trains to Lao Cai for their journey to Sapa.
Transfer Options – Hanoi to Sapa: Travel Time Cost Range
Train + Bus / Taxi (via Lao Cai) 8-9 hours $8-100/pp
Tourist Bus / Van 5-6 hours $6-22/pp
Private Car / Taxi 5-6 hours $95-250 (car)
Motorbike 6-7 hours $15-20/pp

How do I get from Hanoi to Sapa (Lao Cai)?


1. BUS / VAN from Hanoi to Sapa

Transportation from Hanoi to Sapa by bus, minivan, or minibus is a popular and cheaper transfer option between these cities. It is also popular with tourists who want to avoid the long train and bus transfer through Lao Cai city. The offer includes new and modern sleeper or seater buses or minibuses for more people, and most of them all offer pleasant comfort and good services.

Some well-known transport companies that operate between Hanoi and Sapa include Inter Bus Lines, Ha Son Haivan, Techbus VN, EcoSapa, Sapa Express, Full Moon Party Tour, Sao Viet, Goodmorning Sapa, Sapa Dragon Express, Sapa Ethnic Travel, Duc Duong Bus and Daiichi Travel. Transport by bus or minibus will save you some time compared to a transfer by train, the total travel time is approx. 6-6.5 hours.

Some transport companies go directly to Sapa, and some have occasional stops along the way before arriving at their final destination in Sapa. These buses to Sapa depart from various locations or bus stations in Hanoi and may also arrive at various locations in Sapa, but often go to the main bus station which is in the center of the city.

Sleeper buses from Hanoi to Sapa offer comfortable beds, but some newer but slightly more expensive buses offer high-quality comfort, including LCD TVs and toilets right in the vehicle. A trip by bus or minibus from Hanoi to Sapa costs approx. 6-22 USD / per person, depending on the type of vehicle. You can also check and read the article about bus timetables from Hanoi to Sapa.

    • Book and buy bus e-tickets from Hanoi to Sapa online on Baolau ➜ or 12go.asia ➜
    • this is a top travel route from Hanoi to Sapa – recommended – book your bus e-tickets to Sapa/Lao Cai online!
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From Hanoi to Sapa you can travel by various comfortable modern sleeper buses (photo: 12go.asia).


2. TRAIN + BUS from Hanoi to Sapa (via Lao Cai)

A very popular option of transportation from Hanoi to Sapa among tourists is to travel by train and bus via the border town of Lao Cai. Trains do not go directly to Sapa town as there is no direct railway to this town. Therefore, it is necessary to combine this form of transport with a transfer from the city of Lao Cai to Sapa by bus or private car. However, this means that the transfer will take more time compared to e.g. a bus or a private car.

The city of Lao Cai is approximately 25 km from the city of Sapa, and the total travel time by train + bus is approximately 10 hours, even with a transfer to a bus in Lao Cai. Trains from Hanoi to Lao Cai run at night and offer standard seats, but significantly more tourists use sleeper tourist trains with quality service and amenities. The train journey from Hanoi to Lao Cai takes about 8 hours and you will arrive after 5 in the morning. However, traveling by train in Vietnam has its own charm, it’s definitely a good idea to try it here if you can get over the more noise of the trains.

You can choose from several private companies that operate these luxury tourist sleeper trains, such as Violette Train, Lotus Express, Laman Express, Damitrans Train, Livitrans Express, Fanxipan Express, King Express or Chapa Express. These sleeper trains have cabins for 2-4 people and offer sleeping beds and sometimes light refreshments. Standard trains of Vietnam Railways will offer beds in 4-bed cabins.

The one-way train ticket from Hanoi to Lao Cai costs from 17-100 USD / per person, depending on the type of train and the number of people in the cabin. Of course, the cheapest are the standard trains oeprated by Vietnam Railways. All these trains depart from Hanoi Railway Station and arrive to Lao Cai Railway Station. It is highly recommended to book your train tickets to Lao Cai online in advance, because this is one of the most popular travel routes in Vietnam.

After you arrive to Lao Cai, you can travel from Lao Cai to Sapa by private minibuses and minivans or by private taxi. It takes about 1 hour to travel from Lao Cai to Sapa and local public bus tickets cost about 2 USD and a minibus ride costs about 4 USD / per person. A private taxi can cost you 35-80 USD / for the whole car.

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From Hanoi to Lao Cai (about 35 km from Sapa) you can travel by regular train of Vietnam Railways (photo: Baolau)


How to book train tickets from Hanoi to Lao Cai?

    • For bookings with 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.
    • 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 in Hanoi.
    • 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 train/bus in Hanoi. Read the current instructions before you book your tickets to Sapa.

📅 Train Schedule / Timetable – Hanoi to Lao Cai (Sapa) + Train Tickets:

FULL UPDATED TRAIN SCHEDULE – CLICK HERE

Trains from Hanoi to Lao Cai (Sapa) Departs in Hanoi Arrival in Lao Cai Book Train Ticket
Train SP1 (sleeper) 21:35 05:15 Book from $14-17
Train SP3 (sleeper) 22:00 05:55 Book from $14-17
New Livitrans Express SP3 (sleeper) 22:00 05:55 Book from $32.00
Violette Trains SP1 + SP3 (sleeper) 21:35 + 22:00 05:15 + 05:55 Book from $34.00
King Express SP3 (sleeper) 22:00 05:55 Book from $27.60
Fanxipan Express SP3 (sleeper) 22:00 05:55 Book from $36.20
Chapa Express SP1 + SP3 (sleeper) 21:35 + 22:00 05:15 + 05:55 Book from $36.20
Sapaly Express SP3 (sleeper) 22:00 05:55 Book from $36.20
Laman Express SP3 (sleeper) 22:00 05:55 Book from $34.00
Victoria Express SP3 (sleeper) 22:00 05:55 Book from $36.00

Travelling with children in the train:

1. 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

2. 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).

sleeper-tourist-trains-hanoi-to-sapa
Violette sleeper train and Laman sleeper train from Hanoi to Lao Cai, 4-berth cabin + 2 berth cabin (photo: 12go.asia).


3. VAN / MINIVAN from Hanoi to Sapa

Another popular way to travel from Hanoi to Sapa is by private minivan. This variant is also very interesting, as it offers high-quality comfort in modern cars for a relatively affordable price. It is also a suitable option for tourists traveling in a group of several travelers, as you can reserve, for example, 9-12 seats in a car.

If these cars are fully booked, they usually go directly to Sapa town with no further stops along the way. Transportation by private minivan from Hanoi to Sapa costs approximately 14-22 USD / per person and the transfer time is approximately 4.5-5.5. Like the sleeper buses to Sapa, these minivans can depart from Noi Bai Airport, so it’s another option to quickly get to the north of Vietnam without visiting Hanoi.

Some of the well-known and reliable private transport companies that offer modern minivans are EcoSapa, GreenLion Bus, Grouptour or Techbus VN. If you want to use these minivans for traveling from Hanoi to Sapa, it is definitely advisable to book your tickets to Sapa in advance online.

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Minivan of EcoSapa from Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi to Sapa (photo: Baolau)


4. PRIVATE TAXI / CAR from Hanoi to Sapa

The most convenient, but at the same time more expensive, option of transportation from Hanoi to Sapa is by private taxi/car with a driver. This option is more expensive, a trip by private taxi or car to Sapa with a driver costs approximately 95-300 USD / per person. This price depends on the type of car you will use, as there are various modern to luxurious standard cars, SUVs or Jeeps on offer.

The journey time by private taxi from Hanoi to Sapa is approximately 4.5-5.5 hours and it can be said that this is the fastest transfer option. Several private companies operate on the route and the well-rated ones are, for example, Saigon DMC, Tiim Group, Dichung Taxi, Grouptour, Ouros Travel and Booking Car.

The advantage of this transport option is the journey from the place you specified or even from the train station in Hanoi and the arrival, for example, to the hotel or homestay in Sapa. Again, some of these companies offer cars that depart directly from Noi Bai Airport.

Private Taxi from Hanoi to Sapa: Travel Time Price (Car)
VTS Taxi 3h 55m From $112
Tiim Group 5h From $189
Booking Car 4h 10m From $197
Saigon DMC 4h 55m From $103
OUROS Travel 4h 55m From $119
VTS Taxi 4h 40m From $104
Saigon DMC 5h 20m From $113
OUROS Travel 5h 20m From $100

BOOK your CAR with 12go.asia ➜

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From Hanoi to Sapa town you can also travel by private car or taxi (photo: Dichung Taxi, 12go.asia)


5. Book a Tour to Sapa + Tickets in Sapa

A private trip to Sapa for several days, this too can be done directly from Hanoi. So you can search and book a private trip with your guide who will take you to the most interesting places in Sapa. It is often associated with a visit to the highest mountain in Vietnam – Fansipan. The menu includes, for example, trips for 2-4 days with the option of trekking in the area of Sapa, or with accommodation at an authentic homestay with the Hmong or Dao ethnic minorities.

These tours from Hanoi to Sapa can be in a different price range, it depends on what you require, how long you will be in Sapa or what services you want included in the price. These tours usually include the provision of transport from Hanoi or any other transfers in the Sapa area and surroundings. It is therefore suitable for those who do not want to arrange things their own way and expect full-fledged services with all services.

You can also search and book various tickets for Sapa tourist attractions on the Klook platform, it is convenient if you go here in the tourist season as both tickets and tours can be fully sold out.

BOOK a TOUR / ACTIVITY in Sapa ➜

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6. From Hanoi to Sapa on MOTORBIKE

A motorbike trip from Hanoi to Sapa is an option for more experienced motorbike drivers. It is necessary to realize that traffic on the roads in Vietnam can sometimes be dangerous, drivers do not follow the rules or drive very fast. So it is good to have experience driving a motorcycle in Asia and you must have an international driver’s license with a valid license if you want to ride a motorcycle in Vietnam.

This route is longer, so you should have a slightly stronger motorbike, it is not very suitable to go to this mountainous area on a weak scooter. It is also advisable to avoid the main road from Hanoi to Lao Cai and choose a route through, for example, Nghia Lo, Mu Cang Chai and Lai Chau town. If you drive this route, you will see the beautiful and authentic Vietnamese countryside in full display, with lots of amazing rice terraces and fields, and you can also stop at another place, even just for 1 day, and then continue to Sapa town.

To navigate the roads in the north of Vietnam, you just need to use e.g. Google Maps, most of the roads are marked on the maps. If you ride a motorcycle, it’s a good idea to have safety features and always follow all the regulations you see on the road. If you go from Hanoi to Sapa by motorbike via Mu Cang Chai, it is better to divide this trip into at least 2 days, the travel distance can be over 400 km.

BOOK your MOTORBIKE in Hanoi ➜


How to get from Lao Cai town to Sapa? Public bus or taxi.

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, check this map below. Transfer by local bus or minivan or taxi from Lao Cai to Sapa town takes about 45 minutes.

In the near future, about 2023-2025?, 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.


📍 Sapa (Lao Cai) – Tourist Map:


FAQ + TIPS – Travel route from Hanoi to Sapa (Lao Cai):

1. How to book train, bus tickets, car from Hanoi to Sapa?

2. What is the price of transport from Hanoi to Sapa (Lao Cai)?

    • Transfer by tourist bus / minivan or van from Hanoi to Sapa costs about $6-22/pp.
    • Transfer by train + bus from Hanoi to Sapa (via Lao Cai) costs about $8-100/pp (depends on the type of train).
    • Transfer by taxi / private car from Hanoi to Sapa costs about $95-250 (vehicle, car).

3. What is the travel time by bus / van, train or car from Hanoi to Sapa?

    • Transport by tourist bus / minivan or van from Hanoi to Sapa takes about 5.5-6 hours.
    • Transport by train + bus from Hanoi to Sapa (via Lao Cai) takes about 10 hours.
    • Transport by taxi / private car from Hanoi to Sapa takes about 5 hours.

4. What is the travel distance from Hanoi to Sapa?

    • Travel distance from Hanoi to Sapa (via Lao Cai) is about 320 km by train + bus/minivan or private car.

5. How you can search and book a tour to Vietnam?

    • It is very easy, you can search and book a tour or other tourist activity to Vietnam at KLOOK ➜.
    • Wit this platform you can also book various tickets for tourist attractions in Sapa or other site.

6. How do I get from Hanoi Noi Bai Airport to Sapa?

    • There are some private companies, you can travel by private bus companies from Noi Bai Airport to Sapa, eg Inter Bus Lines (sleeper bus), Sapa Ethnic Travel or Techbus VN, you can book and buy tickets online.

7. How to get from Lao Cai town to Sapa?

    • From Lao Cai to Sapa you can travel by local public bus (book bus tickets) or you can use taxi or private bus company. Travel time is about 45 minutes and travel distance is about 25 km.

8. What is the best way of transport from Hanoi to Sapa (Lao Cai)?

    • It is not easy to say it. But in my opinion the tourist bus or minivan is better than a train, you will save a time and bus tickets are cheap, buses are mostly comfortable. But some sleeper buses are not comfortable for tall people (check photos of buses), trains have berths but they are a little bit noisy and they are leaving Hanoi at night. But travel by train from Hanoi to Lao Cai is not bad, it is a popular way of transport by foreign tourists heading to Sapa.

9. What is the most cheapest way of transport from Hanoi to Sapa?

    • The most cheapest (and fast) way of transport from Hanoi to Sapa is to travel by bus/van. Bus tickets from Hanoi to Sapa start at $6-8. Another cheap way is to travel by train from Hanoi to Lao Cai (soft seat for $6.70) + local public bus from Lao Cai to Sapa (about $1.30).

10. Where do you keep your luggage in Hanoi?

    • If you want to keep your luggage in Hanoi you can try Radical Storage ➜ service. This service offers a few places in the city center of Hanoi, it is a cheap and your luggage will be safe.

11. How long you should stay in Sapa?

    • It depends what you want to visit and see in Sapa. You can stay in homestay in nature for example 2-3 days, it is a very good way how to see this place at the ethnic minority people. In my opinion it does not make a sense to visit this place for 1 day, about 4 days in Sapa are optimal.

12. Hanoi to Sapa – Day trip – it is a good idea?

    • 1-day trip to Sapa, it is a good way how to explore Sapa? In my opinion it does not make a sense, you should stay longer. Only traveling by bus or train from Hanoi to Sapa takes a few hours.

13. Where can I hike in Sapa?

    • There are a lot of various places where you can hike. Fansipan – the highest mountain of Vietnam, Muong Hoa Valley and nearby ethnic village, Hoang Lien Son National Park… Read this – Villages in Sapa + Map.

14. Can you fly to Sapa Vietnam? Does Sapa have an airport?

    • No, Sapa has not an airport, so you can not fly from Hanoi to Sapa, the only way how to get there is to travel by train/bus/motorbike. But in the near future there is a plan to build a new airport in Lao Cai.

15. Can you drive a motorbike from Hanoi to Sapa?

    • Yes, you can travel on motorbike, it is a good way of transport, but only for experienced motorbike drivers. If you want to search and book your motorbike/bicycle in Vietnam, try to search at Bikesbooking ➜.

16. Where and how to travel from Sapa town?

    • If you are already in Sapa or Lao Cai, you should definitely to visit Ha Giang Province. This mountain province is accessible by bus, minivan, car or motorbike. There is no railway and no flight to Ha Giang Province.

17. What is the closest airport to Sapa town in Vietnam?

    • The closest airport to Sapa town is Dien Bien Phu Airport, it is about 270 km by road in the northwest part of Vietnam. But the most frequented international airport with transport to Sapa (tourist bus or taxi) is in Hanoi – Noi Bai International Airport, about 290 km from Sapa town.

18. How to travel solo in Vietnam?

    • Discover the wonders of solo travel in Vietnam as you explore ancient temples, cruise through scenic landscapes or karst sceneries, hike various national parks and ethnic villages and connect with the warm-hearted locals, creating a personalized journey of cultural immersion and breathtaking experiences.

BOOK a TOUR / ACTIVITY in Sapa

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Chapa Dew Boutique Hotel in Sapa (photo: Agoda). One of the 15 best and cheap hotels in Sapa.
best-homestay-sapa-vietnam
15 best tourist homestays in Sapa.
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AIRA BOUTIQUE SAPA HOTEL & SPA in Sapa. (photo: Agoda). 15 best luxury hotels and resorts in Sapa.


5 Ways of Transport from Hanoi to Sapa:

1. BUS from Hanoi to Sapa
Transport Options Tourist Bus (seats or sleeper berths)
Travel Time About 6 hours
Additional Information Various bus options available. Affordable and cheap tickets.
Price Range $6-22/pp
Bus Companies Inter Bus Lines, Ha Son Haivan, Techbus VN, EcoSapa, Sapa Express, Sao Viet…
2. TRAIN + BUS from Hanoi to Sapa (via Lao Cai)
Transport Options Train + Bus via Lao Cai
Travel Time About 8-9 hours
Additional Information Overnight regular or tourist train to Lao Cai, then local bus or taxi to Sapa.
Price Range $10.00 – 40.00/pp (seats or sleeper berth)
3. VAN / MINIVAN from Hanoi to Sapa
Transport Options Modern Comfortable Van, Minivan
Travel Time About 5-6 hours
Additional Information Luxury van and minivan services. Comfortable travel option.
Price Range $14-22/pp
4. PRIVATE TAXI / CAR from Hanoi to Sapa
Transport Options Private Taxi, Car
Travel Time About 4.5-5 hours
Additional Information Private taxi and car services. Available from Hanoi or the airport.
Price Range $130-270/vehicle
Taxi Companies Saigon DMC, Tiim Group, Dichung Taxi, Grouptour, Ouros Travel, Booking Car…
5. From Hanoi to Sapa on MOTORBIKE
Transport Options Motorbike
Travel Time About 440 km (via Nghia Lo and Mu Cang Chai)
Additional Information Recommended for experienced motorbike drivers. Scenic route. IDP necessary.

BOOK your HOTEL / STAY in Sapa


🎫 Book Your Tickets / Private Car from Hanoi to Sapa + Schedule:

(You can change your departure, arrival, e.g. Hanoi to Ha Long, Sapa to Ha Giang…)

Transport in Vietnam ➔

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