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Tet 2018

How to get from HANOI to SAPA?

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.

How to get from HANOI to SAPA?
Photo by Vietnam Typical Tours
If you want to head for the hills at Sapa, the best way to get there is to take the train from Hanoi to Lao Cai. Sapa has no railway station, but it's about 38 km (24 miles) from Lao Cai railway station and easily reached from there by bus, jeep or taxi in about 50 minutes. There are both daytime and overnight sleeper trains between Hanoi & Lao Cai, and on the sleeper trains you can choose between the normal Vietnamese railways sleepers or a whole series of privately-run sleeping-cars of a higher standard aimed at tourists.

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Photo by collect on the internet
What can you expect on board? The privately operated soft-sleeper cabins are generally clean and comfortable and certainly adequate for the length of journey. Each air-conditioned cabin contains four berths, two upper and two lower. Mattresses are thick enough to be comfortable and bedding is clean. Each bed has its own light and storage shelf and luggage can be stored under the bottom bunk or on a large shelf at the end of the upper bunks. Doors are lockable (usually — the lock fell off on the last train we took) but it’s still advisable to keep valuables on your person, or sleep with them under your pillow, particularly if you don’t know your cabin mates. Toilets are Western-style but not always fully functioning; you may need to shop around between carriages to find one with running water and it’s advisable to pack hand-wipes or sanitiser.

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Photo by Sapa Express Bus
If you can’t get booked on the train or want a cheaper option, the bus is an alternative but is less comfortable and less safe — although there have been no reported serious accidents on that particular route that I could find. Sleeper buses come in two formats: the most common is three rows of bunk beds running from the front to the back of the bus with a wide bed at the back, and the other has two rows of double size bunk beds or twin beds. Beds are far smaller than on the train, don’t go flat and have limited storage: bags are kept in the under-bus storage. The same issue of lack of sleep applies as for the trains.

If you want more freedom and flexibility and are prepared to pay for it, then car or jeep hire is a good option. The car can stay with you throughout your trip and ferry you around — for example, to Bac Ha market, or up to Lai Chau. The disadvantage is that it’s still going to take nine hours or so and of course there are no beds on board, so your best bet is to travel during the day, with some rest stops en route — it’s also safer than travelling at night. A car is only really viable if you have some time to spare but can really open up the options in terms of places to visit and experiences.

Finally, there’s getting to Sapa by motorbike. I wouldn’t recommend driving direct to Sapa from Hanoi by bike — it’s a boring road and to be on the safe — and comfortable — side you’ll need to allow two days, unless your butt’s made of steel. And unless you put your bike on the train for the return journey, that’s a lot of driving and a lot of time on the road.

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Photo by pxhere
If you’re really keen on driving then try the scenic route, up through the centre of northwest Vietnam, from Mai Chau. If you stay off the beaten track you’ll be highly rewarded with amazing scenery, challenging driving and local insight — assuming you don’t get lost. Allow four days from Hanoi to Sapa. If you hire your bike from Motorbiking Vietnam they’ll be able to point you in the right direction.

Sa Pa is one of the most famous towns in Vietnam, even more popular during summer thanks to its cool climate. So, please rest assured to plan to explore Sapa this summer. Especially, if you visit Sapa in September and October, you will be amazed at the majestic beauty of the terraced fields in the ripe rice season. It's not a coincidence that visitors always booked Sapa tour packages from Hanoi in September, and a note this is the time when foreigners visit Sapa most.

Are you ready for your vacation yet? We are always ready to assist you with any travel problems at Vietnam: http://vietnamtypicaltours.com/contact-us/
Item Reviewed: How to get from HANOI to SAPA? Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Nga Đỗ
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