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Hanoi to Sapa: 4 Best Transport to Travel

September 27, 2022 - 2748 views

For a first-time visitor from Hanoi to Sapa, there will be many unknowns about the distance and the way to go. The following information will help you gain more knowledge.

Hanoi to Sapa is a trip many people are looking for a break from hard work. Finding out how long it takes, how many miles is quite important information, helping you choose the right means of transportation. This article will help you to know the time distance and transportation from Hanoi to Sapa. Hopefully, through that you will get the best options for your trip.

Distance from Hanoi to Sapa

Sapa is a small town located on an elevation of 1500 to 1650 meters on the slope of Lo Suay Tong mountain and 38 km away from Lao Cai city. There are 3 ways to go from Hanoi to Sapa: one goes through the new Noi Bai - Lao Cai highway, one goes through the old 70 highway, and another going through Yen Bai and Lai Chau province

It is not too far to transfer from Hanoi city center to Sapa, normally it takes about 5.5 hours to drive 320km on the new highway going through Noi Bai International Airport, and if you go directly from Noi Bai Airport, the distance is only 290km. 376km of the old 70 highway takes around 9 hours traveling by car. The furthest but most beautiful way of 455 km through Yen Bai and Lai Chau province takes you 11 hours to drive. Despite the far distance, a lot of Vietnamese travelers choose to drive 455km long to embrace the beauty of the Northwest mountains.

There are few other option travel routes that might take up to 2 or 3 days through the northwest or northeast of Vietnam for adventure tourists.

Hanoi to Sapa route maps

Hanoi to Sapa route maps

How to travel from Hanoi to Sapa?

The most popular transfers from Hanoi to Sapa are bus and train, let's review which one is suitable for you.

Travel from Hanoi to Sapa by train

Many travelers choose to travel from Hanoi to Sapa by train because of its reasonable price and safety.  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 however, most of them depart at around 9 or 10 pm from Hanoi and arrive at Lao Cai station at 5-6 am. On some sleeper trains in Vietnam, you can choose between the normal Vietnamese railways or a whole series of privately-run sleeper trains of a higher standard aimed at tourists.  

However, traveling by train from Hanoi to Sapa takes you a lot of time because you need to catch an extra bus to Sapa town. Additionally, train tickets on weekends are extremely scarce and must be booked several weeks in advance. In terms of how much you pay for a train ticket, it will depend on the type of seat you choose that costs between $6 to $60 per person.

If you are interested in experiencing a Hanoi to Sapa sleeper train, the table below will give you information about the ticket fee of different train providers so you can consider your budget.

Train Name Hard Berth(6) Soft Berth(4) VIP Berth(2)
Orient Express Train N/A $31 $67
Livitrans Express Train N/A $33 N/A
The Pumpkin Express Train N/A $33 $70
Fansipan Express Train N/A $34 $73
King Express Train N/A $35 $71
Sapaly Express Train N/A $35 $77
Chapa Express Train N/A $37 $78
Laman Express Train N/A $41 $87
Victoria Express Train N/A $93 $143


Hanoi to Sapa Train

Hanoi to Sapa Train


Travel from Hanoi to Sapa by bus

The advantage when you choose to take a bus from Hanoi to Sapa is that you go straight to Sapa without transferring to any destination. There are 2 main types of buses running from Hanoi to Sapa: sleeper bus and limousine bus, and you do not have to stop at any place to catch another transportation, and the price of both are also reasonable. Most of the buses go directly from Hanoi to Sapa departing at My Dinh or Gia Lam bus stations in Hanoi.

However, there are several bus companies now providing the pick-up service at your hotel. Normally it will cost very little money, but some bus companies have the pick-up service totally free of charge. The price for Sleeper Bus Ticket Hanoi to Sapa ranges from 16 USD/ person, while Luxury Shuttle Bus Transfer Hanoi - Sapa costs from 23 USD/ persondepending on the bus class and seat position you choose.

Hanoi to Sapa bus


Transfer Hanoi to Sapa by private car

If you are looking for a comfortable and flexible way to travel, the private car from Hanoi to Sapa will be a must-choose. Using the private car service, you can not only choose any pick-up and drop-off you want, or take a short break in the middle of the way for photo shooting, but also change the itinerary depending on your preferable destinations.

As the traveling costs in Vietnam are very reasonable, private car service is not too expensive despite it is higher than the other means of transport. The table below shows the average price of private car service from Hanoi to Sapa, it can be different depending on the car brand and quality you choose. They range from refurbished standard cabins to five-star, colonial Indochina-style luxurious cars.

Capability 4 seats 7 seats 16 seats 30 seats 50 seats
Price 169 USD 179 USD 199 USD 269 USD 399 USD

Inclusions: A/C private car, driver, petrol, road tolls & parking fee.

Exclusions: Entrance fees, tour guide, personal expenses, and gratuities tips for guide or driver.

Hanoi to Sapa Private Car


Hanoi to Sapa Flight 

Since there is not yet an airport in Sapa, there’s no option of flying from Hanoi to Sapa. But did you know that Dien Bien Phu, a historical destination of Vietnam in the Northwest mountainous region, has a domestic airport that you can fly to from Hanoi? A Northwest Vietnam journey combining Sapa and Dien Bien Phu will be more interesting and informative than you can think. 

You may also like Best Hanoi Sapa Halong Bay Vietnam Itinerary 6 days

Local tips to get from Hanoi to Sapa

  • Don’t give money to the children or buy products from them. Their parents make them quit school to go earn money, so if you give them money, they will never go to school again.
  • Most of the time Sapa is usually cold, or cooler than other places at least, you should prepare a jacket for your trip, also the small rain or fog may come anytime so the roads are dirt, so prepare hiking boots also.
  • You have to pay for the entrance ticket at any tour destination so prepare some small VND for it.
  • At bus/car stop points the food is a higher price than at other places, preparing your food and drink is a good option but just bring it out when the car stops because most cars don’t allow you to eat food in the car.

Although the distance is a bit far, with a temperate climate, beautiful wild nature, and unique culture of many colors, Sapa still does not reduce its attractiveness to visitors from all over the world. To go from Hanoi to Sapa you can refer to the information above to know which means of transport is suitable. Booking Sapa Tours from Hanoi with BestPrice Travel will surely give you a lot of fun and full of experiences!

Hue Pham

(Image source: Internet)

Questions & Answers (1)

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Hi, I’ve a group of 4, reaching Hanoi airport on 24dec 2022, 1030am touchdown. We would like to go to Sapa directly from the airport. Would like to check with you on the transfer (price and time), by shared limo, private car and private limo. Appreciate if you can advise on the best options. Separately, we would like to come back by overnight train from Sapa to Hanoi on 27 Dec. Would you be able to help us book the tickets as well? Thank you. Regards Michael


The bus will leave 2 fix time: 7:00 -7:30 AM or 14:00 - 15:00 afternoon so if you want to join bus you need to wait at airport for afternoon trip. For private transfer cost about US $200 1 way transfer for group of 4. It can increase if the petrol come-up.

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