When you prefer a bit more comfort and want to have a few hours of rest to stretch your legs, you can also split this journey. First, take a bus including ferry from CatBa to Hanoi and continue the journey with the night train from Hanoi to Lao Cai. From Lao Cai railway station you can hop on a van to Sapa.
It will be quite a long journey, but when you have already seen Hanoi, it’s worth to consider doing this trip in one leg.
There are 2 companies offering direct buses from CatBa to SaPa. You can choose between day and night buses. Note that when you take the day bus, you will lose an entire day for the journey. If you take the night bus, you will arrive in the middle of the night in Sapa, which makes it less convenient than the train.
This means you still need accommodation for the night of arrival and your night rhythm will be messed up. That’s why we recommend to take a bus from Hanoi instead and then take the night train to Sapa.
If you still want to take a direct bus, you can check their schedules in the table below.
We recommend booking with Ket Doan as they offer free drop-off to your hotel in Sapa. That’s a great advantage, especially if you’re taking the night bus. If you want to take Grouptour instead, you can book a ticket via 12go.Asia.
Cat Ba Discovery is another bus company that used to operate on this route with more convenient schedules. Unfortunately, they stopped their services for this route but we will update the info when they start operating on this route again.
Note: This route is not confirmed by us, so any feedback is welcome!
Departs from Cat Ba Bus Station, Cat Ba town
Arrives at Ket Doan Office in Sapa (or at your hotel)
Departs from No. 5, Tung Dinh street, Cat Ba town
Arrives at No. 582 Dien Bien Phu street, Sapa
CatBa to SaPa by Train
Duration: 13 hours Cost: 655,000 VND ($28)
When you prefer to cross the main part of the journey by train, you should first buy a combined bus ticket from CatBa to Hanoi.
For the second part of the journey, you have to book another train ticket from Hanoi to Lao Cai. From Lao Cai, you can take a van or mini-bus to SaPa.
Step 1: Cat Ba to Hanoi by Bus
Duration: 4-5 hours Cost: 200,000 VND ($8.50)
On CatBa Island you can book a combined bus and ferry ticket from CatBa to Hanoi for about 200,000 VND ($8.50) at a local agent. Another option is to book online with CatBa Express. Cat Ba Express is a bit more expensive but is also a faster and more luxurious option.
You can buy your bus ticket with CatBa express for 325,000 VND ($13.50) on BookAway. Just click the button below.
Buses booked through local agents take a different route from CatBa to Hanoi and therefore take a longer time. Expect these bus rides to take 4-5 hours, while CatBa express is much quicker and only takes 3.5 hours. Also, bear in mind that travelling during peak hours can take much longer.
We advise you to arrive before 19:00 in Hanoi so you will be on time to catch the train to Lao Cai. From the bus stop to Hanoi railway station, it takes about 30min to walk and 20min by taxi.
You can find more bus options and details on the page from CatBa to Hanoi.
Step 2: Hanoi to Lao Cai by Train
Duration: 8 hours Cost: 415,000 VND ($17.50)
To travel by train from Hanoi to Sapa you have to take one of the evening trains to Lao Cai. We suggest the train which leaves at 22:00 and arrives at 06:05 in Lao Cai. Alternatively, you can also take the train leaving at 21:35, which will arrive at 05:30 in Lao Cai.
Check our Hanoi to SaPa page for more details or book your train ticket on Baolau through the button provided.
When visiting Sapa, there is no better way than waking up with a stunning view over the rice-fields while enjoying an outstanding breakfast. An experience not to miss and probably one of the best during your trip in Vietnam! The adorable bungalows of Lodge D&D cost only $32 a night, including a fantastic breakfast! When you are travelling as a couple, this will probably be one of the best value deals you can find!
Still not convinced with the previous listing? Eco Palm House offers even more luxious bungalows, starting from $90. But don't let this scare you of! Eco Palms House also offer something for travellers on a lower budget. For solo traveller, you can already stay in a dormitory for just $17 or when travelling as a couple, you can book a double bed in the open area for $33.
Want to stay around the center but prefer a homestay instead of a hotel? The rooms of Little View Homestay are all made from pine wood and instead of a heating system, you will get a heated blanked that keeps you warm at night. The friendly owners and creative sapa style decorations will make this an extraordinary stay!