LAO CAI to SAPA → Bus, Taxi, Train? ☀️

lao-cai-to-sapa-transport
How do you get from Lao Cai to Sapa? You can travel by local public bus or private taxi to Sapa from Lao Cai.


From Lao Cai town to Sapa you can travel by local bus or private taxi.

    • Travel distance from Lao Cai town to Sapa is about 35 km by road. There are only 2 ways how you can travel to Sapa from Lao Cai if you do not have your own motorbike or scooter. The most popular option is to travel by local public bus. Travel by local bus to Sapa takes about 1-1.5 hour and bus ticket costs about $1.70/pp. This bus route is operated by Lao Cai Public Bus. Buses depart from Lao Cai Railway Station (Đường Khánh Yên) and arrive to Sapa town center (Notre Dame Cathedral). You can also travel by private minivan between Lao Cai town and Sapa town. So this option is good if you arrive to Lao Cai by tourist train from Hanoi. Another option is to travel by private taxi or car from Lao Cai town to Sapa. There are a few private taxis in the city center of Lao Cai and also at the railway station, so you can take a taxi. Travel by private taxi takes about 1 hour and it costs about $30-60 (vehicle, SUV, car, private minivan). You can book and buy bus e-tickets to Sapa easily online, follow the instructions below. If you want to go back to Lao Cai you can travel by same way how you arrived to Sapa.

BOOK TICKETS to Sapa with Baolau

    • Sapa in Lao Cai province is a top tourist and visited site in northern Vietnam. Every year thousands of tourists visit this place and enjoy this place. There are various activities like stay in homestay, visiting local ethnic villages, visit the Fansipan mountain – the highest mountain of Vietnam. Sapa is also a home of Hmong ethnic minority. Sapa has no airport and no railway station (the closest railway station is in Lao Cai). There is only one small railway tourist route from Sapa town to Fansipan cable car. Lao Cai is the closest big city to Sapa, from Lao Cai you can travel by train/bus to Hanoi. Lots of tourist from Sapa also continue to travel to Ha Giang – one of the most impressive province of northern Vietnam. Another option is to travel by tourist bus to Dien Bien Phu in the northwest of Vietnam.
Travel Method: Lao Cai to Sapa Travel Time Cost
Local Public Bus / Minivan 1-1.5 hours $1.70 – 3.70/pp
Private Taxi / Car / SUV 1-1.5 hour $30 – 60/car

BOOK TICKETS / CAR with 12go.asia


How to travel from Lao Cai to Sapa?


1. LOCAL BUS / MINIVAN from Lao Cai to Sapa

Traveling by bus or minibus from Lao Cai to Sapa is the most used transport option between these cities. For low-cost travelers, the bus is the best option. This is a relatively convenient transportation option, where tickets cost approximately 1.70-4.00 USD / per person and the travel time is approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour.

There is a public local bus on the route, which is red and yellow, so you cannot miss it, it leaves directly from the station, or you can also use some private comfortable minibuses or minivans. These minibuses are a little more expensive, but offer quality comfort and some will take you directly to the hotel where you will be staying in Sapa.

You can use buses marked as Lao Cai Public Bus or a private minibus by Thanh Son Bus with more comfortable and modern seats. The public bus runs several times a day and also in the morning when the night train from Hanoi arrives with tourists who are heading to Sapa. You can book bus tickets to Sapa online in advance.

BOOK BUS TICKETS to Sapa

    • You will receive your bus e-ticket to Sapa by email, ready to print or carry in your smartphone/tablet and present at the ticket counter of the station before boarding the bus in Lao Cai
    • Read carefully all the information before you book and buy your bus tickets to Sapa!
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Local public bus and private minivan from Lao Cai to Sapa (photo: Baolau).


2. PRIVATE TAXI / MINIVAN from Lao Cai to Sapa

The second and more expensive way to go from Lao Cai to Sapa is by private taxi / car with a driver. This is the most convenient transfer option between these cities, the offer includes modern and very comfortable vehicles or minivans for more people. A minivan is therefore good for those who travel, for example, in a group of several people.

A private taxi / chauffeured car from Lao Cai to Sapa costs around USD 30-60/car, depending on the type of car and the number of people being transported, and the journey time is around 1 hour again. You can search and book a private car to Sapa online in advance, which is convenient for those who want to have everything prepared and arranged ahead of time.

BOOK PRIVATE CAR to Sapa

When searching for and reserving a car, look and read all the additional information on where you are leaving and where you are going. Some private cars also leave from Bac Ha town and go all the way to Sapa. You can choose from several relatively well-rated private transport companies such as Tiim Group, Saigon DMC or Ouros Travel. Read carefully all the information before you book your private car/taxi to Sapa!

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Private minivan/taxi of Tiim Group from Lao Cai to Sapa (photo: 12go.asia)


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

1. How to book and buy bus tickets or taxi from Lao Cai to Sapa?

2. How to book a tour / hike in Sapa?

    • You can book your trip in Sapa online, search and book a tour in Sapa with KLOOK. With this platform you can also easily search and book various tickets for tourist attractions in Sapa, e.g. tickets for Cable Car to Fansipan Mountain.

3. How long does it take to travel from Lao Cai to Sapa?

    • Travel by local public bus or minivan to Sapa from Lao Cai takes about 1-1.5 hour.
    • Travel by private taxi/car to Sapa from Lao Cai takes about 1 hour.

4. What is the travel distance from Lao Cai to Sapa?

    • Travel distance to Sapa from Lao Cai is about 35 km by local public bus, minivan or private taxi.

5. How much does it cost to travel from Lao Cai to Sapa?

    • Travel by local public bus or minivan to Sapa from Lao Cai costs about $1.70-3.70/pp.
    • Travel by private taxi/car to Sapa from Lao Cai costs about $30-60/pp.

6. How long to stay in Sapa?

    • It depends what you want to visit and see, where you want to stay. There are various nice tourist villages around Sapa and various local homestays. In my opinion it does not make a sense to stay in Sapa 1-2 days. You should stay longer. I recommended to stay in Sapa about 4 days.

7. Does Sapa have an airport?

    • No, there is no airport in Sapa town. It is not possible to travel to Sapa by plane.

8. What is the cheapest way of transport from Lao Cai to Sapa?

    • The most cheapest way of transport from Lao Cai to Sapa is to travel by local public bus, ticket costs about $1.30/pp.

9. Is there a railway station in Sapa town?

    • There is no railway station in Sapa town. The closest railway station is in Lao Cai City, from Lao Cai you can travel by train to Hanoi. There is only a tourist train from Sapa town to Fansipan cable car for tourists (railway has about 2 km).

10. How to move in Sapa? It is possible to rent a motorbike?

    • The best way how to explore and move around Sapa is to rent a motorbike/scooter and travel on your own. You can rent a motorbike or scooter at the hotel. To rent a motorbike in Sapa costs about $7-12/1 day.

11. How to travel from Sapa to Lao Cai?

    • The same way how you arrived to Sapa from Lao Cai, so you can travel by local public bus or private taxi.

12. Where to stay in Sapa? Hotel or homestay?

    • There are various cheap and also luxury hotels or guesthouses in Sapa town. But you should definitely to try some local homestay in the ethnic village, e.g. in Tavan, Ta Phin or Lao Chai.
    • Choose and book from these selection of accommodation facilities: Book your hotel/homestay in Sapa ➜.

13. Where to go and travel from Sapa?

    • From Sapa you can travel by tourist bus to Dien Bien Phu or by bus to Mu Cang Chai. Ha Giang is an amazing mountain province in the north, full of authentic atmosphere, nature and friendly local ethnic people. The best way how to explore the area of Ha Giang province is to travel by motorbike. You can also travel by bus, bus + train or private car/taxi to Hanoi.

14. 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.

15. What are the most interesting things or facts about Vietnam?

    • Vietnam, a country with a captivating allure, is celebrated for its breathtaking landscapes, including the mesmerizing limestone karsts of Halong Bay, the terraced rice fields of Sapa, and the bustling waterways of the Mekong Delta. Its rich history unfolds through ancient temples in Hanoi, the imperial city of Hue, and the Cu Chi Tunnels, providing a glimpse into Vietnam’s resilience during wartime. The country’s vibrant culture, delicious cuisine, and warm hospitality further enhance the allure of this Southeast Asian gem. Read this: 15 Interesting Things of Vietnam.

16. What to expect from Vietnam Culture?

    • Expect a vibrant cultural tapestry in Vietnam, characterized by traditional values, a strong sense of community, and a deep-rooted respect for family. You’ll encounter a fusion of French, Chinese, and indigenous influences in art, architecture, and cuisine. Traditional water puppetry, folk music, and dance performances showcase the country’s artistic flair. The importance of rituals and festivals in daily life adds a colorful dimension, while the warmth and friendliness of the Vietnamese people make for a welcoming and enriching cultural experience.

17. What is the weather in Vietnam and what to expect?

    • Weather in Vietnam varies with a tropical climate featuring distinct wet and dry seasons. In the north, the dry season (October to April) brings cooler temperatures, while the wet season (May to September) is marked by higher humidity and heavy rainfall. Central Vietnam experiences a dry period (January to August) with lower humidity and a wet season (September to December) characterized by increased rainfall. In southern Vietnam, the dry season (December to April) offers warm temperatures, while the wet season (May to November) brings higher humidity and occasional heavy rainfall. For accurate information, check local forecasts.

BOOK a TOUR / ACTIVITY in Sapa

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🚍 Bus from Lao Cai to Sapa – Bus Schedule / Timetable + Bus Tickets:

FULL UPDATED BUS SCHEDULE – CLICK HERE

Bus Schedule - Lao Cai to Sapa

Departs in Lao Cai

Arrival in Sapa

Ticket Price

Lao Cai Public Bus

06:00

07:20

$1.60/pp

Lao Cai Public Bus

06:30

07:50

$1.60/pp

Lao Cai Public Bus

07:00

08:20

$1.60/pp

Lao Cai Public Bus

07:30

08:50

$1.60/pp

Lao Cai Public Bus

13:00

14:20

$1.60/pp

Lao Cai Public Bus

14:00

15:20

$1.60/pp

Thanh Son Bus

06:00

07:00

$3.60/pp

Thanh Son Bus

06:30

07:30

$3.60/pp


🚕 Taxi from Lao Cai to Sapa – Schedule / Prices + Companies:

FULL UPDATED TAXI SCHEDULE – CLICK HERE

Taxi Schedule - Lao Cai to Sapa

Travel Time

Price (Car)

Saigon DMC

01:00

From $31 (Comfort 3pax)

Saigon DMC

01:00

From $35 (SUV 4pax)

Saigon DMC

01:00

From $47 (Van 9pax)

Tiim Group

01:00

From $34 (SUV 3pax)

Tiim Group

01:00

From $39 (Van 6pax)

Ouros Travel

01:25

From $33 (Comfort 3pax)

Ouros Travel

01:25

From $37 (SUV 4pax)

Ouros Travel

01:25

From $49 (Van 9pax)

sapa-rice-terraces-muong-hoa
Rice terraces in Muong Hoa valley in Sapa.


2 Ways of Transfer from Lao Cai to Sapa:

1. LOCAL BUS or MINIVAN from Lao Cai to Sapa
Transport Local Bus / Minivan
Travel Time About 1-1.5 hours
Ticket Fare About $1.70-4.00/pp
Bus Company Lao Cai Public Bus, Thanh Son Bus
Public bus is the cheapest way of transport between Lao Cai and Sapa
2. TAXI / MINIVAN from Lao Cai to Sapa
Transport Taxi / Minivan / Car
Travel Time About 1 hour
Taxi Fare About $30-60 (vehicle, car, minivan, car for 9 px)
Available at Lao Cai Railway station or in the city center
Private taxi company from Lao Cai to Sapa town: Tiim Group, Saigon DMC, Ouros Travel (car, SUV, van for up to 9pax)

BOOK your HOTEL / STAY in Sapa


🎫 Book your bus tickets from Lao Cai to Sapa + Schedule:

(You can change your departure, arrival … eg. Sapa to Lao Cai, Lao Cai to Hanoi…)

Rach Gia to Phu Quoc ➔

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