How to go from HANOI to SAPA (2022)?

How to get from Hanoi to Sapa - Lao Cai (Train or Bus)
How to travel from Hanoi to Sapa (Lao Cai)? You can travel by bus, train or private luxury taxi or minivan.

Bus – Hanoi to Sapa
Train+Bus – Hanoi to Sapa
Minivan – Hanoi to Sapa
Taxi / Car – Hanoi to Sapa
Questions + Answers
Book Tickets to Sapa

How to get and travel from Hanoi to Sapa/Lao Cai? By bus,train, taxi, minivan.

    • Travel distance from Hanoi to Sapa is about 320 km via Lao Cai City by train/bus. Lots of visitors and tourists travel by the overnight trains (regular or tourist luxury trains) from Hanoi to Lao Cai. It takes about 8 hours by overnight train and you will arrive to Lao Cai Railway Station in 5.30 or 6.05 am or about 6 hours (it can change). Tain tickets from Hanoi to Lao Cai start already at $6.70/pp (soft seat) and $12-17/pp (berth). Lao Cai is about 30 km from Sapa and you can travel on this route by a local public bus (much cheaper) or private taxi to Sapa. Sapa has no airport, so travel by plane is not possible. Another popular option is to travel by tourist bus (seats or sleeper berths).
    • There are also various comfortable tourist buses or minivans from Hanoi to Sapa (Ha Son Haivan, Sao Viet, Inter Bus Lines, Good Morning Sapa, EcoSapa, The SinhTourist…). Bus tickets to Sapa start already at $9/pp, it is the cheapest option of transfer. You can also book also some private luxury taxi or private minivan/limousine. These minivans and other cars are a good option for a group of people and they are cheap (minivans for 9-11 people). Travel time by bus/minivan from Hanoi to Sapa is about 5-6 hours. You can also travel by tourist bus from Noi Bai Airport or railway station in Hanoi to Sapa. It is also possible to travel by private taxi/car (2-4 people) to Sapa or you can rent a motorbike (IDP necessary) and travel on your own. This is the most frequented travel route in northern Vietnam > book your train or bus tickets and private cars from Hanoi to Sapa/Lao Cai online.

BOOK TICKETS with Baolau

    • Sapa is one of the 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 train + new cable car from Sapa (Fansipan Legend cable car). You can also try a local homestay of the ethnic minorities from Sapa (Black Hmong, Red Dao). One of the most popular sites in Sapa is Muong Hoa valley (Hoang Lien Son range), there are some small villages and rice terracces and tourists are welcome. It is also an ideal place for light trekking. So, now you know, there are 3 most popular options how to get to Sapa from Hanoi – by bus, train via Lao Cai or private taxi/car. There is no airport in Sapa and tourist trains to Lao Cai are very popular by foreign tourists.

BOOK TICKETS with 12go.asia


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


1. BUS from Hanoi to Sapa

    • the best way is to use day or overnight tourist bus from Hanoi to Sapa town
    • there are various tourist day or overnight buses, minivans (sleeper, seats, luxury…)
    • travel by tourist bus from Hanoi to Sapa takes about 6 hours
    • buses to Sapa from Hanoi depart from various bus stations in Hanoi (check Baolau or 12go)
    • cheap bus tickets from Hanoi to Sapa, tickets cost only about $9-22/pp
    • the most cheapest way how to get from Hanoi to Sapa
    • bus companies to Sapa: Inter Bus Lines, Ha Son, EcoSapa, SapaExpress, TheSinhTourist, Sao Viet, Hung Thanh, Goodmorning Sapa, Sapa Dragon Express, Hason Haivan…
    • there are also some luxury van/minivans/limousines of Grouptour (tickets cost about $16/pp)
    • Book and buy bus e-tickets from Hanoi to Sapa online on Baolau icon-external-link-square or 12go.asia icon-external-link-square, secured payment
    • this is a top travel route from Hanoi to Sapa – recommended – book + buy your bus e-tickets to Sapa/Lao Cai online!
    • new modern bus station has been opened on September 19, 2018 in Sapa
sapa-express-bus-vip-hanoi-sapa
Sapa Express VIP bus from Hanoi to Sapa. (photo: 12go.asia).
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Luxury tourist bus of Ha Son Haivan bus company to Sapa from Hanoi. (photo: Baolau)


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

    • lots of travelers go to Sapa by the overnight train from Hanoi to Lao Cai
    • trains run to Lao Cai town (340 km from Hanoi), it is the end station (25 km from Sapa)
    • from Lao Cai to Sapa you can travel by local public bus or taxi, read this: How to go to Sapa from Lao Cai?
    • trains to Lao Cai can be boarded from Tran Quy Cap station in Hanoi (western entrance of Hanoi Railway Station)
    • a cheap trains of Vietnam Railways with less comfort (ofic.vietnamese railways) or tourist luxury trains
    • train tickets from Hanoi to Lao Cai – prices start already at $6.70/pp (soft seat – Vietnam 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
    • you can choose seat and berth at Baolau and also at 12go.asia (+ updated schedule available)
    • Vietnam Railways may change the orientation of the carriage at the departure station anytime at their convenience
    • Book and buy train e-tickets from Hanoi to Lao Cai online on Baolau icon-external-link-square or 12go.asia icon-external-link-square
    • this is a top travel route from Hanoi to Lao Cai – recommended – book and buy your train e-tickets online!
    • you can check Vietnam Railway Map
vietnam-train-seat-cabin-berth
Trains of Vietnam Railways in Vietnam are renovated, comfortable and clean. Soft seats and 4-berth cabin (photo: Baolau)


Vietnam Railways trains – SP1, SP3, SP7, LC3:

    • 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 ticket is $12-17, 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):

    • 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 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.
    • 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 train/bus.

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

FULL UPDATED TRAIN SCHEDULE – CLICK HERE

Train Schedule - Hanoi to Lao Cai (Sapa)

Departs in Hanoi

Arrival in Lao Cai

Book train ticket

Train SP1 (soft seat, sleeper)

21:35

05:30

Book from $6-8

Train SP3 (sleeper)

22:00

06:05

Book from $12-17

Orient Express SP1 (sleeper)

21:35

05:30

Book from $27.60

New Livitrans Express SP1 (sleeper)

21:35

05:30

Book from $31.89

Violette Trains SP3 (sleeper)

22:00

06:05

Book from $27.60

King Express SP3 (sleeper)

22:00

06:05

Book from $27.60

Fanxipan Express SP1 (sleeper)

21:35

05:30

Book from $36.20

Chapa Express SP3 (sleeper)

22:00

06:05

Book from $36.20

Sapaly Express SP3 (sleeper)

22:00

06:05

Book from $32.00

Laman Express SP3 (sleeper)

22:00

06:05

Book from $40.50

Victoria Express SP3 (sleeper)

22:00

06:05

Book from $101.27

Pumpkin Express SP1 (sleeper)

21:35

06:05

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).

hanoi-to-sapa-tourist-train
Violette Train and King Express train from Hanoi to Lao Cai. 2-berth and 4-berth cabin (photo: Baolau).


3. VAN / MINIVAN from Hanoi to Sapa

    • you can also travel by luxury minivan/van, from Hanoi city or from Noi Bai Airpot to Sapa
    • travel by private minivan/limousine/taxi takes about 4.5-5.5 hours
    • also private minivans for 9 passengers or private vehicle for 2-4 people
    • various private companies to Sapa: EcoSapa, GreenLion Bus, Grouptour…
    • the most comfortable way how to travel to Sapa from Hanoi
    • EcoSapa vans – by this van you can travel directly from Noi Bai Airport to Sapa
    • transfer by minivan/van to Sapa from Hanoi cost about $14-22/pp
    • Book your ticket for van or minivan from Hanoi to Sapa on Baolau icon-external-link-square or 12go.asia icon-external-link-square
ecosapa-minivan-noi-bai-airport-to-sapa
Minivan of EcoSapa from Noi Bai Airport to Sapa (photo: Baolau)


4. PRIVATE TAXI / CAR from Hanoi to Sapa

    • the most expensive option of transfer to Sapa from Hanoi (or Noi Bai Airport)
    • travel by private car or taxi from Hanoi to Sapa takes about 4.5-5 hours
    • there are modern cars and vehicles, minivans to Sapa
    • private taxi companies to Sapa: Dichung Taxi, Grouptour, Ouros Travel, Booking Car…
    • you can also travel by private car from Noi Bai International Airport
    • private taxi/car to Sapa from Hanoi costs about $140-250/vehicle
    • Book your private car or taxi, limousine from Hanoi to Sapa on 12go.asia icon-external-link-square
ecosapa-minivan-noi-bai-airport-to-sapa
From Hanoi to Sapa you can also travel by private car or taxi (photo: Dichung Taxi, 12go.asia)


5. From Hanoi to Sapa on MOTORBIKE

    • you can also travel on motorbike from Hanoi to Sapa
    • it is a good option only if you are an experienced motorbike driver!
    • I recommend to travel via Nghia Lo and Mu Cang Chai
    • you will be driving on the roads – QL32 and QL4D (check Google Maps)
    • totally it is about 440 km to Sapa from Hanoi (via Mu Cang Chai)
    • you will be driving through the various nice nature sceneries
    • Choose and book your motorbike in Hanoi with Bikesbooking icon-external-link-square

6. Book a tour to Sapa

    • another option is to book a tour/trip to Sapa
    • you can search and book various trips and tours in northern Vietnam
    • these tours in Vietnam offer mainly local tour guides
    • Book your tour to Sapa in northern Vietnam with Loveholidays icon-external-link-square

From Hanoi to Lao Cai you can also travel by tourist bus.

    • from Hanoi to Lao Cai town you can also travel by bus
    • there are lots of sleeper buses of Ha Son Hai Van bus company
    • travel by bus from Hanoi to Lao Cai takes about 4-4,5 hours
    • bus ticket from Hanoi to Lao Cai costs only about $10-15
    • buses from Hanoi to Lao Cai run all day, from morning to evening
    • Book and buy bus e-tickets from Hanoi to Lao Cai online on Baolau icon-external-link-square

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

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.

In the near future, about 2021-2023?, 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.


Recommendation for traveling from Hanoi to Sapa (Lao Cai):

1. Sapa in Lao Cai province is a big tourist place. Lots of foreign 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).
– you can keep your luggage in Hanoi city center with Radical Storage icon-external-link-square
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 train or bus tickets online.
8. The most fastest transport from Hanoi to Sapa is a direct bus connection.
9. If you will be travel by train to Lao Cai – use sleeper train, comfortable and not so expensive.
10. Recommended – come to the train or bus station about 1 hour before departure.

What to avoid and not to do in Sapa (important):

1. Do not buy tourist items and things from small children in Sapa
2. Do not give sweets and money to children in Sapa
3. If you can avoid shopping in plastic goods (bags, bottles, waste disposal systems are unfortunately not in many villages)
4. Do not enter to the local schools without notice
5. Ask people if you can shoot them and respect privacy
6. Do not make too much noise in rural villages in Sapa (you are not on a party)


Sapa (Lao Cai) – Tourist map:

google-map-sapa-vietnam
Google Map of Sapa in Lao Cai – What to see, transport, accommodation…

Baolau – search, book, buy tickets + flights
– Baolau sells the bus, train, ferry tickets mainly for Vietnam (also a tickets for Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia…)
– 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 Quan Lan, ferry to Phu Quoc, ferry to Phnom Penh
– tickets for various travel routes in Vietnam, eg. Da Lat to Hoi An, Lao Cai to Hanoi, Sapa to Cat Ba, Nha Trang to Hoi An
– official Vietnam Railways agent, reliable and trusted company
– the price of tickets or flights is from the official price of transport company or airlines
– you can have online train e-ticket in your smartphone 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

12go.asia – search, book, buy tickets + flights
– 12go sells the train, bus, ferry tickets mainly to Thailand (also Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Laos)
– bus tickets of various well-known companies in Asia (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
– from 2018 you can book train tickets for China online (Beijing to Shanghai, Beijing to Xian, Shanghai to Suzhou..)
– 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

hanoi-to-sapa-town
Sapa town in Lao Cai province and view from Ham Rong mountain.


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 accommodations are common tourist cottages. I recommend to go into the Thanh Kim or Ban Ho village.


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

1️⃣ How to book and buy train/bus tickets from Hanoi to Sapa?

    • You can book tickets from Hanoi to Sapa (Lao Cai) online on Baolau or 12go.asia.

2️⃣ How long does it take to travel by bus, train or car from Hanoi to Sapa?

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

3️⃣ How much does it cost to travel from Hanoi to Sapa (Lao Cai)?

    • To get by tourist bus/minivan or van from Hanoi to Sapa costs about $9-22/pp.
    • To get by train+bus from Hanoi to Sapa (via Lao Cai) costs about $8-100/pp (depends on the type of train).
    • Travel by taxi/private car from Hanoi to Sapa costs about $140-250 (vehicle, car).

4️⃣ 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/bus/minivan.

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

    • It is very easy, you can book a tour to Vietnam at Loveholidays.

How do I get from Hanoi 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) or Eco Sapa (van), you can book and buy tickets on Baolau, find departure „Hanoi – Noi Bai“.

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.

What is the best way of transport options from Hanoi to Sapa?

    • It is not easy to say it. But in my opinion the bus or minivan is better than a train, you 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.

What is the most cheap 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 $9. 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).

Can you drive 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 .

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.

How many days do you need in Sapa Vietnam?

    • 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.

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.

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.

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.

What is the closest airport to Sapa 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 (bus or taxi) is in Hanoi – Noi Bai International Airport, about 290 km from Sapa town.
best-cheap-hotels-sapa-vietnam
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.
best-luxury-hotels-sapa-vietnam
AIRA BOUTIQUE SAPA HOTEL & SPA in Sapa. (photo: Agoda). 15 best luxury hotels and resorts in Sapa.

Book and buy train or bus tickets from Hanoi to Sapa/Lao Cai + Schedule:

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


Hanoi to SaigonHueNinh BinhTrekkingCallingHaLongLuang PrabangDa NangBac HaHanoi to Dong HoiHa GiangDa Nang

Transport in Vietnam

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