How to get from

Hanoi to Sapa

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4 ways to get from Hanoi to Sapa

Taking a Bus from Hanoi to SapaDuration: 8h 30m
Know before you go

Travelling by bus, especially sleeper bus, is a unique way to get from Hanoi to Sapa. As you go north on this journey, make sure to bring warm clothes during the winter as Vietnam’s climate changes. The bus has great amenities, like WiFi and food, but the time might extend due to traffic.

  • Pros
    • Inexpensive
    • Lots of amenities
    • Incredible views
    • Replaces night accommodation
    • Partially refundable
  • Cons
    • Bumpy ride
    • Shared cabin: possibly noisy
    • Cramped quarters
    • Popular route, high demand: possible overbooking
Most popular rides
Taking a Minivan from Hanoi to SapaDuration: 5h 30m
Know before you go

Minivans from Hanoi to Sapa provide travellers with two options: shared and private. Just like a private car, paying extra for a van will you give extra space and privacy. But if you just want a more flexible bus-like option, take a standard van for about the same quality.

  • Pros
    • Consistent prices
    • Possible to cancel
    • Flexible pick up
    • Efficient service
    • Soft seats
  • Cons
    • Mountaneous road
    • Shared van: possibly cramped
    • A/C on high
    • Driver lottery
    • Speedy driving
Most popular rides
Taking a Train from Hanoi to SapaDuration: 8h
Know before you go

Trains from Hanoi to Sapa depart from the central train station. The train leaves in the evening and can fill in as an lodging option, instead of a hotel. Make sure to understand how your destination is called in Vietnamese ahead of time, in order to avoid confusion at the station.

  • Pros
    • Great Vietnamese experience
    • Clean accommodations
    • Modern train experience
    • English speaking services
    • Toilet on board
  • Cons
    • Sapa center far from train
    • Long journey
    • Makes no stops
    • Shared bathroom
    • Noisy
Most popular rides
Taking a Car from Hanoi to SapaDuration: 5h
Know before you go

Cars taken from Hanoi to Sapa are considered to be private cars, with private drivers. Some of the private cars have extra amenities like blankets, but all of them have English speaking service providers. Of course, you will still be able to experience Vietnam through the music on the radio and people watching from the window.

  • Pros
    • Quick
    • Pick up any time
    • Pick up from any hotel
    • Free cancellations
    • Very comfortable
  • Cons
    • Driver lottery
    • Possible delays
    • Price per car
    • Bumpy road
    • Expensive
Most popular rides

About the ride from Hanoi to Sapa

Hanoi is a charming city to visit but after some time here, you are likely to be craving some nature. There is no better place to cure this craving than by visiting Sapa from Hanoi. Sapa is the perfect destination to go to for a weekend away in nature, where you will find expansive rice terraces, local tribes, cute cozy bars and much more. 

When travelling the 319 kilometer (198 mile) distance from Hanoi to Sapa, you have four options: You can take a sleeper bus or VIP bus, which takes about 9.5 hours. You can take a train to Lao Cai, 38 kilometers (24 miles) from Sapa, which takes about 8 hours, or you can take a car or minivan, each with private drivers, on your own or as shared rides, which take about 5.5 hours.

Given the long journey to Sapa from Hanoi, we recommend one of the sleeper options. You’re sure to catch some shut-eye in a bus-bed, which you will want to get in order to be prepared for your time away. Comfort is key. An added bonus: If you’re taking the bus or train at night, you’re also saving on accommodation!

The Lao Cai Province in which Sapa sits is mountainous, green, culturally unique, and worth the trek for a wide range of reasons.


What to see when traveling from Hanoi to Sapa

What you are able to see out your window between Hanoi and Sapa depends entirely on what time of day your ride leaves. Of course, if you take a sleeper train or sleeper bus, it will be nighttime for the majority of your ride and you’ll be able to catch up on sleep. However, you will arrive to a striking sunrise in the Vietnamese countryside; an orange glow that almost acts as an umbrella over the green rice terraces. It’s a sight like no other, and one you certainly want to make sure you are awake for.

If you’re leaving earlier in the day, you will inevitably experience the traffic (AKA hustle and bustle) of Hanoi. Once you’ve left busy Hanoi, the road to Sapa is full of long, unending, lush stretches of land, which mountain views as far as the eye can see.


How to get from Hanoi to Sapa

Taking a bus

If you’re looking for a unique yet luxurious way to get to Sapa from Hanoi, you’ll want to travel by sleeper bus. You travel through the night, so you’re saving on accommodation, while simultaneously having the unique experience of riding a sleeper bus. On top of that, the buses have fantastic amenities. WiFi and food are available, but the most exciting aspect of the ride to Sapa from Hanoi with a sleeper bus is the massage seats! Yes, you read that correctly. Some sleeper buses actually have massage seats.

Keep in mind that it’s typically first come, first served, so if you want to be one of the lucky ones to get a back rub while on the go, you’ll want to arrive early since not every seat is equipped with this feature.

Read a traveler's first-hand review of the bus from Hanoi to Sapa


Taking a train

Taking a train from Hanoi to Sapa is as simple as can be. You leave from the Hanoi's central train station in the evening; giving you another opportunity to save on accommodation for the night.

Taking a train will offer you a unique experience as well as the option to stay in a VIP or luxury bunk, second class, or in standard economy. Although the ride is long, it’s a direct train to Sapa (Lao Cai) from Hanoi.

You will arrive to a stunning sunrise at Lao Cai station, about a 20-minute drive from the Sapa city center. Sapa itself does not have a train station, so Lao Cai is the closest you can get by train. You will find a long line of minivans at the station waiting to take you straight to Sapa. 

Read a traveler's first-hand review of the train from Hanoi to Sapa


Taking a minivan

You have the option of taking either a shared minivan or a private minivan from Hanoi to Sapa, whether you go with the standard minivan, a limo minivan, a luxury or VIP minivan, or even a standard van minivan. If you’re willing to make the extra expense, you will get extra space and, of course, privacy and peace and quiet. Taking a shared minivan is basically like taking a bus, but with more flexible pickup and drop-off options.


Driving with a private car

Did you know that you can only drive a car in Vietnam if you are a citizen of the country? Well, now you know! If you decide to rent a car in Vietnam, it will “come with” a private driver, all of whom know at least some English.

Driving through Vietnam in your own car will give you the unique ability to experience the country through the music on the radio, to speak with your private driver about life in Vietnam, and will also give you the chance to stop and go as you please. Remember those beautiful mountain views we mentioned earlier? You’ll want to stop and post that on your Instagram story.

Let Hanoi and Sapa inspire you

The midnight train from Hanoi to Sapa: A traveler review

A word picture is painted of the overnight train ride from Hanoi to Sapa; From the cold quarters to the sunrise upon arrival and everything in between.

Read more

Northern Vietnam: Top weekend trips from Hanoi

Have an empty weekend planned in Hanoi? Ramp up the adventure with a visit to one of these places that seem a world away from the concrete jungle of Hanoi.

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Cat Cat Village in Sapa: Immerse yourself in traditions and colors

Cat Cat village is a quaint little tribal village of the H’Mong and Dao people offering you valuable insight into the mountainous way of life.

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Reviews of the ride from Hanoi to Sapa

  • A
    Great service from Sapa to
    Great service from Sapa to Hanoi, got us to the airport within plenty of time for our flight.
  • K
    It would be more convenient
    It would be more convenient if thd stops in Hanoi were explained when booking.
  • T
    Fabulous service, I had trouble booking and they were so prompt to respond and helped me above and beyond expectations. The driver was confident and safe. The bus clean. Highly recommend.
Show more

Your questions, our answers

252 Km (Air)

Second Class Train by Vietnam Railways starting at US$10

Approximately, there are 129 departures each day. You can also book a private ride and leave whenever you want.

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