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Sapa to Halong Bay: Complete Guide

December 23, 2023 - 5274 views

Halong and Sapa are two of the most beautiful destinations everyone must visit at least once in Vietnam. The transfer between these two places is quite convenient and here are the 3 best ways of getting from Sapa to Halong Bay.

In northern Vietnam, don't miss Sapa's stunning mountains and Halong Bay's awe-inspiring beauty. Sapa offers rustic charm and cultural uniqueness in Lao Cai Province, while Halong Bay boasts extraordinary karst islands, caves, and emerald-green water in Quang Ninh Province. 


Concerning Sapa to Halong Bay transport, it is now much easier to travel back and forth thanks to upgraded transportation and blooming tourist services. This guideline will help you out on how to travel from Sapa to Halong Bay and some hacks for a smooth transfer.

Sapa to Halong Bay

It is straightforward to travel between Sapa and Halong Bay

Sapa to Halong Bay distance

  • Distance: 475 km
  • Travel time: about 7 hours by car & 12 hours by train (including 9.5 hours by train from Sapa to Hanoi and 2.5 hours by car from Hanoi to Halong).


The fastest way to get from Sapa to Ha Long is by the following route:

From Sapa, you will enter Expressway DCT05 connecting Lao Cai and Hanoi, then follow the National Highway 5B (Hanoi - Hai Phong) to get to Halong city center. The new highway provided with modern infrastructure only allows four-wheel vehicles to get in. You should bear in mind that the travel cost also includes expressway toll fees. 

Sapa to Halong Bay distance

The distance between Sapa and Halong Bay

In specific, the distance between Sapa and Halong Bay can vary depending on the departure location in Sapa and where you want to get to Halong Bay. Before you go, you should better draw up a travel plan for Sapa to Halong Bay transport. 



Travel path

  Sapa - Halong City

475 km

Expressway DCT05 & Highway QL18/ 5B

  Sapa - Cat Ba

480 km

Sapa - Halong - Cat Ba

  Sapa - Got Pier

443 km

National Road QL163 & Highway QL18/ 5B

  Sapa - Halong International Cruise Port

450 km

Expressway DCT05 & Highway QL18/ 5B

  Sapa - Tuan Chau

473 km

Expressway DCT05 & Highway QL18/ 5B


How to travel from Sapa to Halong Bay

There are several ways of transfer between Halong Bay and Sapa, including the overnight bus, train over Hanoi, private car, and so on. Let’s spell out the 3 best ways to transfer from Sapa to Ha Long to decide on the most suitable one for you.

Sapa to Halong Bay bus

  • Price: 20 USD
  • Travel distance: 475 km in 9 - 10 hours

Traveling by bus is the most economical and convenient way compared to other means of transportation. Outstandingly, Sapa to Halong Bay overnight bus is widely popular as a high-class shuttle bus provided with full services and facilities like leather sleeping berths, air conditioner, LCD screen, free wifi, blankets, bottled water, etc. All create favorable conditions for good sleep and the best comfort in a long-distance journey. 

Sapa to Halong Bay bus (overnight bus)

Sapa to Halong Bay overnight bus

Cuong Lan and Phuc Xuyen are among the best shuttle bus brands for Sapa - Halong Bay transport. It is also the only shuttle bus to run straight from Ha Long to Sapa, giving passengers a direct trip without having to go through a transit point such as Hanoi. 

Overnight bus schedule and price

Each Sapa to Halong Bay overnight bus provider has a particular schedule, so you have to get to know each well to avoid being scammed while booking one.

Transportation company

Schedule Price
Phuc Xuyen

8:00 am - 6:00 pm

11:00 am - 8:00 pm

4:00 pm - 0:30 am (next day)

6:00 pm - 1:00 am (next day)

18 USD
Cuong Lan

4:00 pm - 0:30 am (next day)

5:30 pm - 0:30 am (next day)

17 USD


>> Now, from your place, you can easily book a bus ticket through websites or hotlines. Through websites, all you need to do is go to the bus agency website, fill up all your information, then submit and wait for the email that contains e-tickets. You can also find the agencies’ hotlines through the Internet, then contact them to receive the tourist service.



  • Direct transfer at an economical price
  • Comfortable and essential amenities
  • Time to sleep on an overnight bus and enjoy your vacation during the daytime
  • Uncomfortable and small local bus
  • Language barriers and unexpected scams
  • Dangerous night-driving and steep mountain path


Sapa to Halong Bay train

  • Price: 30 USD
  • Travel distance: 515 km in 12 hours

Train from Sapa to Halong Bay is ideal for those who have a carsick and in search of a good night’s sleep. Since there is no direct from Lao Cai to Ha Long, you will follow 2 routes: Lao Cai Train Station to Hanoi Railway Station (8.5 - 11 hours) & Yen Viet Train Station to Halong Train Station (7 hours). Nevertheless, we highly recommend other ways to transfer from Hanoi to Halong as the train journey is so tedious.

Train from Sapa to Halong Bay

Train from Sapa to Halong Bay

There is one option of Hanoi - Ha Long train provided with only hard seat choice. Meanwhile, you can have a variety of Sapa - Hanoi trains to opt for, including regular trains (LC) and express trains (SP).

Train route

Train No

Schedule Price
Lao Cai - Hanoi

Express Train SP2

8:55 pm - 4:30 am (next day) 20 - 85 USD

Express Train SP4

9:40 pm - 5:30 am (next day)
Hanoi - Ha Long No.50501

4:55 am - 11:40 am



>> If you prefer a way that allows you to see the stunning scenery but is still cheap enough, going by train can be a good idea. It is convenient to book online with Sapa - Hanoi train and buy a ticket directly at the train station with Hanoi - Halong train. 



  • The safest and scenic way to travel 
  • A chance to get the local experience
  • Worth-trying journey with Hanoi to Sapa luxury train
  • Time-wasting and non-direct transfer
  • The inconvenience of hard seat only available on Hanoi to Halong train
  • Language barriers and unexpected scams


You might want to know more: Sapa to Halong Bay train


Sapa to Halong Bay private car

  • Price: 250 - 300 USD and above
  • Travel distance: 470 km in 7.5 hours

If you prefer high-privacy during the trip, car rental is the best option to travel from Sapa to Halong Bay. Unless you have a driving license and good health condition, booking a private car with an experienced driver is advisable. 

Sapa to Halong Bay by private car

Car rental from Sapa to Halong Bay

Traveling by private car to Halong Bay, you don't have to follow a fixed route or schedule like the train and bus ride. Also, private cars will be of many conveniences for tourists who like to stop along the road for taking pictures or enjoying the magnificent landscapes. 

>> All you need to do is to contact the private car agencies through their websites or hotlines, have the booking process start, then wait for your private car to pick you up at your place.



  • More comfortable and proactive than other means of transportation
  • Direct Sapa to Halong Bay transport with pick-up and drop-off services 
  • Flexible to travel without time constraints
  • High-priced for budget travelers
  • Not for those who have carsick due to the winding mountain road

Recommend Sapa to Halong Bay itinerary

If you don’t have any ideas for planning a Sapa and Halong Bay tour, take a look at this recommended itinerary. It is suggested to spend 5 days in Halong Bay and Sapa but you can stay longer to explore further.

Day 1: Night train from Hanoi to Lao Cai

The excursion departs from Hanoi Railway Station to Lao Cai. Take an overnight train at 8:00 pm, you will spend a night in a sleeper sharing cabin or a private one (if requested) provided with all the essentials. Maybe you don’t know that Hanoi – Lao Cai express train is the most luxurious train journey in Vietnam. Surely, you can get a great experience to travel like a local to Sapa.

Day 2, 3: Trekking visit Village of Sapa included: Y Linh Ho – Lao Chai – Ta Van - Cat Cat – Sin Chai

Upon your arrival at Lao Cai Train Station, you will get a ride uphill to Sapa town center. Don’t forget to behold the awe-inspiring mountain ranges and rice terraces on the way.

The first day starts with a trek to some hill tribe villages in Muong Hoa Valley. You will pass Y Linh Ho Village, Lao Chai Village – the community of Black Hmong ethnicity, and Ta Van Village to visit Zay people. It is a perfect chance to get a deeper insight into the locals and get closer to the rustic scenery.

Go trek to Cat Cat Village and let your hair down at the foot of the captivating waterfall. It would be a big mistake to visit Sapa without calling on hill tribe villages. The itinerary in Sapa ends with a visit to Sin Chai Village, located at the foot of Fansipan Mountain. Then transfer from Sapa to Hanoi by bus.

Sapa Halong Bay tour

Trekking to Sapa village

Day 4: Hanoi – Halong Bay – Overnight on cruise

The 4th day is a journey of an overnight cruise among the impressive karst formations. It is a perfect seascape for you to enjoy wonderful sightseeing and join interesting activities like swimming, kayaking, cycling, cooking class, sunset party, etc.

Day 5: Halong Bay cruise – Hanoi

On the last day of the Halong – Sapa tour, you will spend the morning doing Tai Chi exercises onboard. Sit back and relax on the sundeck. The itinerary ends on arrival in Hanoi.

For further details, see what to expect in North Vietnam at a Glance: Halong Bay & Sapa 5 days

How to book a Halong - Sapa tour

In Vietnam, there are numerous travel operators offering a tour package to take an overnight Halong Bay cruise and admire the spectacular limestone karsts, as well as go off-road to the hill tribes in Sapa and get to know the local communities. Without doing any research, BestPrice Travel is a great source of Halong – Sapa tours and other destinations in Vietnam. You can either choose an arranged tour or request a tailor-made tour to draw up your own trip.



  • The best way to transfer between Halong and Sapa
  • Wide range of interesting activities to do and stunning attractions to visit
  • Various choices of excursion length (3 – 6 days)
  • Various type of tours (small group, private, honeymoon, etc.)
  • Tailor-made itinerary
  • High cost and length of days spent in Halong and Sapa

find best tour Halong to Sapa

Local tips to get from Sapa to Halong Bay 

These local tips suggested by BestPrice Travel will give you the best experience during your trip from Sapa to Halong Bay.

  • Usually, the best time to book a Sapa to Halong Bay tour is about 1 – 2 weeks before your trip so that everything can be well prepared. It is also guaranteed that you have better options while booking ahead.
  • For families with kids, it is much more convenient to book a Halong – Sapa tour. First and foremost, you don’t have to wonder if this way is kid-friendly or not. Furthermore, you will be likely to get a promotion when taking a cruise/tour than booking the transportations separately.
  • If you travel on a budget, the bus and train are among the best choices. Or else, go find some companions in a travel group/ forum to share the car ride from Halong to Sapa.
  • Another way to save more money is to engage in budget tours that are cheap but still feature many interesting activities (trekking, local-like experience, etc.). There are always available tour packages at BestPrice Travel for you to consider.
  • The luggage size also affects your choice of transportation. The train and bus give more space to keep large suitcases, while the car trunk is big enough to store 3 large ones.
  • Unless you stay nearby the bus/train station, you should consider the pick-up and drop-off services. So do people who stay far from the center.
  • The weather must be taken into account. If you travel to Halong Bay and Sapa in winter (December – February), it is expected to be foggy and drizzling. In these weather conditions, traveling by train is much more preferable than traveling by bus or car due to its safety.

All in all, choosing the best way to get to Halong Bay from Sapa is as easy as pie if you have an understanding of the transportation system. If you are interested in one of our suggestions, you can go to for further details. We are always available to give you the best travel experiences in Vietnam.

Duc Anh Tran

Image Source: Internet 

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