The best way to get to Sapa from Hanoi

Nga Do
Due to its location, around 350km from Hanoi, Sapa happens to also be a region in Vietnam that a lot of tourists bypass as it requires slightly more effort to reach; however if you read our post about the best way to get to Sapa from Hanoi, you will realize Sapa is not a difficult thing as you think.

The best way to get to Sapa from Hanoi
Photo by pxhere

There are various means of getting from Hanoi to Sapa.  The most popular way to travel from Hanoi to Sapa is to either choose between an overnight sleeper train or an express bus (there is no airport in Sapa, so cross that Hanoi to Sapa Flight idea off your list!).  I’ll be comparing both as we travelled from Hanoi to Sapa by train, but decided to go with the bus option to get from Sapa to Hanoi!

What is the best way to get to Sapa from Hanoi?

Which to choose?  Bus or train to Sapa? Let us help you choose!

Train to Sapa from Hanoi – Sapaly Train Review

We chose to travel overnight on the Hanoi to Sapa train.  In our opinion, the best train to Sapa is definitely the Sapaly train (although the Fransipan Train comes in at a close second!). It can be slightly tricky to organize your Hanoi Sapa train tickets ahead of time!  We found that the easiest and most reliable way of booking your trip on either the bus or train is through the Vietnam transport page here! –

The Positives of the Overnight Train to Sapa:

It is a great way to save ‘time’ as you travel overnight. If you choose to go with the train from Hanoi to Sapa option, it is important to choose the ‘soft-sleeper’ option.  You either have the option on this train of sharing your cabin with other people (4 pax) or alternatively to purchase all 4 tickets for you and your partner/friend which means you now have what they call a VIP private cabin.

We thought the cabins were beautifully decorated, soft pillows and mattresses, slippers under the bed.  There were also free water, snacks, toothbrushes in each cabin.

We were grateful for the electrical points as well so that we could charge up our electronics before hitting Bac Ha markets upon arrival in the Sapa region.

The train also has some western style toilets for those of you who would be concerned about that!  They stayed fairly clean for our train trip and had toilet paper for the whole duration of the night – although I still suggest you take some of your own just for in case!

The best way to get to Sapa from Hanoi 2
Photo by Sapa Express

Hanoi to Sapa Bus | Sapa to Hanoi Bus

Because of the fact that we wanted to get a decent night sleep before heading to Halong Bay, we chose to try out the bus on the way back from Sapa to Hanoi.  This meant that we could book a hotel in Hanoi for the night before heading off in the early morning towards our cruise on Halong Bay.

We found that the easiest and most reliable way of booking either the Sapa train or bus tickets is through the Vietnam transport page here!

Positives of choosing the bus from Hanoi to Sapa option:

The Express bus to Sapa (or vice versa) is a very comfortable bus to travel in.  The seats could slightly recline, we had our laptop with us, so watched some Anthony Bourdaine to kill the time!

The bus travels in the day, which means you that you can see some pretty spectacular scenery on the drive!  It also means that you can get some good sleep in a hotel once you arrive at your destination.

They gave us a bottle of water and a small packet of snacks as we were climbing onto the bus. Blankets and neck pillows were available, on the Hanoi to Sapa by bus, for use as well.

The Hanoi Sapa bus makes a stop halfway through the trip at a servo-type stop point.   It is great to stretch the legs for 30 min and grab something cool to drink, and if you are brave, you might want to grab some food there as well!  A word of warning, there are two sets of toilets here.  One of which the locals use ….. gutter on the floor, bucket-water flush system, no toilet paper.  I used these toilets, they did not smell polite at all!!  It was a struggle!  However as we walked around the grounds, we realized that there are touristy-style toilets at the opposite end to where our bus stopped!!  DOH!!!!!!!  I didn’t go in to investigate as they were charging the tourists a small fee on entry, but I would suggest you have some cash on hand to pay for the better toilets.

I hope that the information here will help you to figure out your travels plans from Hanoi to Sapa.  I personally think that the best way to get from Hanoi to Sapa is by bus, and would take that option if we ever go back to Sapa.  However, the train definitely remains a fun memory in mind!

It is important to weigh up the pro’s and con’s of each style of travel to pick the one that makes you feel most comfortable! Whichever you choose we truly feel that the trip is worth the destination! Sapa was one of my favorite regions of Vietnam!

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