Which better: Train or Bus to Sapa From Hanoi?

Nga Do
Due to Sapa's location, around 350km from Hanoi, so, more effort is needed to approach it. The only choice you have to make is whether to take the train or bus to Sapa.  In this post on how to get from Hanoi to Sapa, detailed outline of the transport mode of trains and buses so you can easily choose.

Which better: Train or Bus to Sapa From Hanoi?
Photo: Kenznguyen

Train to Sapa From Hanoi

Hanoi → Lao Cai → Sapa

Hanoi to Lao Cai by train: 8 hrs
Lao Cai to Sapa by bus: 45 min

To travel by train from Hanoi to Sapa you have to take the train to Lao Cai and then continue by mini bus/van or public bus to SaPa.

The night train from Hanoi to Sapa is one of the most convenient and affordable options to get from Hanoi to Sapa. This is the most relaxed experience among transfer options from Hanoi to Sapa. If you’re looking for  the most comfortable way of travelling, this is an option for you.

Hanoi Sapa trains run daily at night from Tran Quy Cap Station (Hanoi) to Lao Cai Station early in the next morning, also the same in return route.

Tourist and luxury trains (also 2 or 4-bed cabin in train), but also more expensive (Orient Express, King Express, Dream …)

Vietnam Railways may change the orientation of the carriage at the departure station anytime at their convenience.

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 trains arrives to Lao Cai town at 5.35-6.00 am. After your arriving to Lao Cai 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. Public bus in Lao Cai town is a cheap (about 1.50 USD).

Book your ticket for train from Hanoi to Sapa at: https://sapatoursfromhanoi.com/sapa-trains/

Which better: Train or Bus to Sapa From Hanoi?
Photo: sapaexpress.com

Bus to Sapa from Hanoi

A cheaper and faster option is taking the bus during day time. There are several bus companies going from Hanoi to SaPa daily. One of the companies is Sapa Express since they are known for their great service.

The bus departs from the Old Quarter in Hanoi and drops you off in the center of SaPa. Tickets for Sapa Express cost about €18 and the journey takes about 5 to 6 hours depending on the traffic.

Other companies are Ha Son Hai Van and Fansipan Express, but they include a transfer in Lao Cai. The final bus stop of these companies is about a 15-minute walk from SaPa center. You can book online if you prefer these options.

Some tips for traveling to Sapa: 

Weather and the good time for visiting Sapa

Sapa is a mountainous area. So it has a high seasonal separation among the 4 seasons. The climate of Sapa changes from a subtropical climate in Summer to a temperate climate in winter. The maximum temperature is around 1ºC or less in winter. The weather in summer is different from around 25-29ºC.

You should think about your hobbies and purposes to choose a suit time for your trips. If you like the natural vitality, go to Sapa in Spring. You will see a charming spectacle of flowers blooming and the best time for trekking and doing outdoors activities is from March to May.

Best Sapa itinerary for trekking and doing outdoors activitiesin 2 days 1 night: http://vietnamtypicaltours.com/tour/sapa-tour-bus-2-days-1-night/

Summertime is an ideal time for tourists coming to Sapa to relax and enjoy a cool and fresh air. It is often rainy from June to September. During this period Sapa is crowded with local tourists.

Fall lasts from the late of September to the middle of December. It is golden season of Sapa - rice harvest season. The cool dry weather is best suit for taking photos and trekking.

Winter is from middle of December to the end of February. This season is often cold to local tourists. But it is an ideal weather for sightseeing, taking photos, camping and watching the snow falling.

Transportation in Sapa

There are several ways for transportation in Sapa such as Taxi, trekking, motorbike, bicycle or motorbike taxi (xe om).

The common way is trekking in Sapa. Sapa is well-known as the most interesting place for trekking in Vietnam. Here, tourists can choose the most suitable route for their trekking.

Shopping in Sapa

Souvenirs are a good choice in Sapa because of its diverse and rich ethnic culture. There are some places for shopping in Sapa such as Indigo Cat. It is an Authentic H'mong handicraft shop. In this shop, tourists can find many interesting local crafts as bag, pillows, belts, clothing. All these products are handmade.

Local foods

Some kinds of traditional food of ethnic people are good for tourists to try and experience such as Thang Co, Sapa “Cap Nach” pork, Salmon Sour Hotpot or grilled skewers.

So, over to you?  Which of the options appeal to you the most? Have you ever travelled from Hanoi to Sapa?  How did you go about it?

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