Tripadvisor traveler choice Traveler choice

How to Travel from Sapa to Ninh Binh?

October 19, 2023 - 3751 views

Both Sapa and Ninh Binh are must-see places in the north of Vietnam. While Sapa is in the northwest and is famous for homestays or ethnic minorities, Ninh Binh is in the south of Hanoi city and attracts tourists with the peace of the traditional countryside. If you would like to visit these 2 beautiful places, you may concern and make a question about travel between Sapa to Ninh Binh. In this article, I will clarify and guide you on the ways to travel from Sapa to Ninh Binh.

In my article, you would like to look at the information about price, time and schedule, and some local tips and an itinerary for your trip from Sapa to Ninh Binh. Check it out.


Sapa to Ninh Binh distance and travel time

From Sapa to Ninh Binh, it is about 400 km, which will cost you 7.5 hours by bus, 9 hours by train, and more or less 7 hours by private car. You can transfer from Sapa to Ninh Binh by bus, train or private car. Let's me sum up the transport ways as the table below:

Means of transport Price Duration
Bus 13 - 15 USD 7.5 hours - 8 hours
Train ~ 37 USD 10 hours
Private car ~ 188 USD ~ 8 hours


Sapa to Ninh Binh


How to get from Sapa to Ninh Binh

Let’s discuss how to travel between Sapa and Ninh Binh by bus, train, and private car, together with their pros and cons as my personal experience.

1. Sapa to Ninh Binh by bus

  • Duration: 7.5 - 8 hours
  • Price: 13 – 15 USD 

There are some direct buses run from Sapa town to Ninh Binh. This is the cheap and fastest way to travel between Sapa and Ninh Binh. You can choose between The Long bus or Ha Son for your travel experience with referring price and schedule below:

Bus company Departure time Price Duration
The Long travel 8:00, 16:00, 21:00 360 000 VND ~ 15 USD 7.5 hours
Ha Son bus 14:35 310000 VND ~ 13 USD 8 hours


Pros and cons

Pros Cons
  • It is the cheapest way
  • The time of traveling is quite flexible
  • There is a tour guide on the bus who can help you answer the questions along the way.
  • You may get tired from a long trip.


Sapa to Ninh Binh bus


2. Sapa to Ninh Binh by train

  • Duration: 10 hours
  • Price: ~ 37 USD

For many reasons, you may love to travel by train more than going by bus. If so, it requires some little steps to go by train from Sapa to Ninh Binh. There is no direct train from Sapa to Ninh Binh; you need to do some transit with detail below:

Step 1: Sapa town to Lao Cai train station (by bus)

You take a public bus from Sapa to Lao Cai train station. Because the train from Lao Cai will depart twice at 20:55 and 21:40, therefore, you should take the bus at least 1 hour before your train departs.

Step 2: Lao Cai train station to Hanoi train station

You take the train from Lao Cai to Hanoi. The price starts from 30 USD per person in a 4 berth cabin of the tourist train. Choose between SP2 or SP4.

SP2: Dep. At 20:05, Arr. At 4:32 (Date +1)

SP4: Dep. At 21:40, Arr. At 5:30 (Date +1)

Step 3: Hanoi to Ninh Binh:

From Hanoi to Ninh Binh you can choose to travel either by bus, train or private car. For my recommendation bus is the best option with reasonable price, flexible time choice.

Let’s look at the table below for the summary of all the things above:

Steps Transport method Departure time Duration Ticket fare
Sapa to Lao Cai Local bus 18:30 45 minutes 30 000 VND ~ 1.3 USD
Lao Cai to Hanoi Tourist train

SP2: 20:05 pm

SP4: 21:40 pm

7.5 hours ~ 30 USD (soft bed)
Hanoi to Ninh Binh Bus Flexible departure time 2 hours 6 - 10 USD


Pros and cons

Pros Cons
  • It is a safe way
  • You get your sleep well
  • It takes a longer time than a bus
  • It costs more money than a bus
  • It requires you to plan your trip well, and you have to switch many means of transport. There is no tour guide in this.


Sapa to Ninh Binh train


3. Sapa to Ninh Binh private car

  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Price: ~ 188 USD

The private car will satisfy you and your group for the long trip between Sapa and Ninh Binh. It is quite expensive for this option, but you can share money with your friends if you have enough people. You definitely are not rush to chase the train or get tired to sleep on a bus.

Pros and cons of going Sapa to Ninh Binh by private car


Type of car Duration Price per car
4 seater car 8 hours 188 USD
7 seater car 198 USD
16 seater car (minivan) 250 USD


Pros and cons 

Pros Cons
  • You are comfortable
  • You are active to go at any time
  • You are picked up and dropped off at your hotel
  • You get your private atmosphere with your friends and family
  • The driver can speak basic English
  • It is a very expensive way
  • There is no tour guide in this


Sapa to Ninh binh private car


Recommended Sapa to Ninh Binh tour itinerary

Day 1: Go trekking from Sapa to Y Linh Ho, Lao Chai, Ta Van

By train, you arrive at Lao Cai train station at about 5:00 am. Our driver (he will bring the sign with your name) is waiting for you and then drive you to our hotel in Sapa town.

By bus, you arrive at Sapa bus station in Sapa town at about 4 am. Do not worry; we will not wake you up at that time. At 6 am, our driver picks you up and drives you to our hotel in Sapa town.

When you arrive at our hotel, we will provide a free room for your shower or changing clothes if you would like to.

Buffet breakfast is served from 6:30 am.

At 7:30, you meet the local tour guide and discuss the itinerary. You start your trekking trip at 8:00 am. It would be best if you put your big luggage at our hotel before going. You visit Y Linh Ho, Lao Chai, Ta Van through the way.

Lunch is served at a local restaurant in Lao Chai village.

Night 1: after the trekking trip, you sleep at our local homestay in Ta Van village.

Day 2: Go trekking to Giang Ta Chai village, sleep at hotel in Sapa

You do trekking to visit Giang Ta Chai village.

Night 2: Our van comes to pick you up and drive you back to the luxury hotel in Sapa town.

Day 3: Visit Cat Cat village

After breakfast, you start going to visit Cat Cat village.

Lunch is served at our hotel or a local restaurant.

In the afternoon, you have free time to buy souvenirs and walk-in Sapa town.

Dinner is served at our hotel.

After dinner, we drive you to Lao Cai train station if you go by train.

By bus, the tour guide picks you up at the hotel then you go on the bus to go back to Hanoi.

Day 4: Hanoi – Ninh Binh 1 day trip

You arrive in Hanoi at around 4 am by bus, and 5 am (by train). Our driver will come to pick you up at the drop off point and drive you back to your hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter

6:30 Please enjoy breakfast

7:00 Our tour guide comes to pick you up for Ninh Binh 1 day trip

10:20 You visit Hoa Lu (the Old Capital) and join a trip to visit the temples of King Dinh and King Le.

12:15 Buffet lunch is served at a local restaurant.

13:15 You get on the sampan to go to Tam Coc and enjoy the extraordinary scenery along the way.

15:00 You ride a bike to explore the rice paddy fields and the life of local people.

16:00 You get back on the bus and come back to Hanoi. Tour ends.

Sapa to Ninh Binh


Local tips to get to Ninh Binh from Sapa

  • Choose a good partner: Let’s discuss with your hotel receptionists or travel agency the best itinerary, and you will get more discounts when you reserve the bus or train with them. Surely, they are in charge of dealing with your problems if some unexpected things happen.
  • Plan your itinerary well: If you go by train, let’s plan it and write down the details or ask your travel agency to remind you.
  • Stop in Hanoi: If you are not in a rush, let’s get back to Hanoi for breakfast, then take the direct bus from Hanoi to Ninh Binh. A good breakfast will refill your energy, and you are active to explore Ninh Binh through the day.


I hope you enjoy reading my article and find useful information for your next trip. Do not forget to follow BestPrice Travel for other travel guides and good deals from us. Feel free to contact me and make your questions if there are some things you are not clear about.

Let's look at our package trip of 6 days in the north of Vietnam for your further reference. 


Mr. River

Image source: Internet

Plan your tailor - made trip with a local expert
Book securely with money-back guarantee
Travel stress-free with local 24/7 support

Questions & Answers (2)

Ask a Question

How do I book a private van (for 11) from Sapa to Ninh Binh? Any recommended websites or vendors?


We can help you book it, please email to

1 Reply

We are visiting Vietnam in Nov for 7 days. Places we hope to visit are Ninh Binh, Sapa, Halong Bay & Hanoi. Do you think it's possible?


Yes Ann,

It is enough time and you can see our reference program best of north Vietnam 6 days with 1 extra night in Hanoi before or after.

1 Reply