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How to get from Ninh Binh to SaPa
There are 3 ways you can travel the 410 km distance from Ninh Binh to Sapa: by bus (7 hours), by indirect train (11.5 hours), and by taxi (8 hours). Rates range from $17.50 (415,000 VND) to $205 (4,880,000 VND).
3 ways to get from Ninh Binh to SaPa
|Bus||7 hours||$17.50 (415,000 VND)||Check bus tickets|
|Train||11.5 hours||$20.50 (485,000 VND)||Read article for more info|
|Private Transfer||8 hours||$205 (4,880,000 VND)||Book a private transfer|
The cheapest way to travel directly from Ninh Binh to Sapa is by bus. Ticket prices start from $17.50 (415,000 VND) for the 7 to 9-hour journey. It’s worth noting, though, that the bus companies operating on this route are known for their late departures and rude staff.
There are no direct trains from Ninh Binh to Sapa. You will take two trains — from Ninh Binh to Hanoi and Hanoi to Lao Cai. And then, you will take a van or bus to Sapa. Taking the train takes about 4 hours longer than the bus. But what we like about the train is that they are safer and more comfortable.
If you want to travel direct and in a private vehicle, you can take a taxi from Ninh Binh to Sapa. Rates for a 5-seater private transfer start from $205 (4,880,000 VND).
PRO TIP: Consider to continue your journey to Ha Giang after visiting SaPa. Ha Giang is famous for its magnificant views on the highlands of Northern Vietnam.
Ninh Binh to Sapa by Bus
When you want to travel direct and on a budget, take the bus from Ninh Binh to Sapa. Bus fares start from $17.50 (415,000 VND).
The Long Travel and Sapa Grouptour operate nightly buses for this route. The advertised travel time is 7-9 hours. However, both companies are known for late bus departures.
Some buses leave at least an hour later than the promised time. Drivers and staff for both The Long Travel and Grouptour can also be rude to passengers.
For these reasons, you can consider just travelling from Ninh Binh to Sapa by train, where you can expect a comfortable ride.
Departure and arrival station
The Long Travel departs from The Long Hotel in Tam Coc and arrives at Sapa Bus Station.
Sapa Grouptour departs from its headquarters in Tam Coc town centre. It parks at its office in SaPa city centre.
Bus schedules from Ninh Binh to Sapa
|The Long Travel||16:00-23:00|
|$17.50 (415,000 VND)|
Check Bus Tickets
|$23.50 (557,000 VND)|
Check Bus Tickets
Ninh Binh to Sapa by Train
Travelling by train from Ninh Binh to Sapa involves 3 steps: 2 trains and then a van or bus.
Despite all these transfers, train travel in Vietnam is generally comfortable and come with good customer service. The same thing cannot be said for the bus companies operating on this route.
Step 1: Ninh Binh to Hanoi by Train
There are several trains operating daily from Ninh Binh to Hanoi.
We recommend taking the last one, SE8, which departs at 16:30 and arrives at 19:12. With this train, you will arrive in Hanoi in time for dinner. You’ll have more than enough time to find a nice resto in the city and get back to the train station before 22:00.
Ticket prices start from $4.90 (115,000 VND) for a soft seat.
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Check out our page on Ninh Binh to Hanoi for more train options.
Step 2: Hanoi to Lao Cai by Train
Starting October 2022, Vietnam Railways is back to its nightly operations from Hanoi to Lao Cai. This route previously operated with fewer weekly departures because of the pandemic.
Vietnam Railways train SP3 departs from Hanoi Railway Station at 22:00 every night. Travel time to Lao Cai is around 8 hours.
A ticket costs $14 (330,000 VND) for a 4-berth sleeper. You can also get a cheaper bunk in a 6-berth sleeper, but it is less spacious.
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For more train choices, you can find deluxe, luxury and private cabins on BookAway.
Also, visit our page on Hanoi to Sapa for more details.
Step 3: Lao Cai to Sapa by Van
From Lao Cai Railway Station, you can get to Sapa by van or bus.
Vans are faster because they don’t make a lot of stops. A seat costs $1.70 (40,000 VND) for the 45-minute journey.
The bus is a good way to travel like a local — just don’t expect a lot of space for your bags. A ticket costs $1.20 (30,000 VND) and travel time is around 1 hour.
Ninh Binh to Sapa by Taxi
Looking to travel door-to-door in a private car?
You can book a 5-seater taxi to get you from Ninh Binh to Sapa for $205 (4,880,000 VND).
You can also save money when travelling in a larger group. A private minivan that can fit up to 10 people costs $275 (6,468,000 VND).
Our favourite places to stay in Sapa
D&D Eco Lodge Sapa - Budget Friendly
There’s no better way to wake up than opening your curtains to a stunning view over lush rice fields. Add a delicious breakfast to that, and you’ll certainly be starting the day right. A stay at D&D Eco Lodge is an experience in itself. It might even turn out to be one of your best in Vietnam? And if you’re travelling as a couple, this is likely to be one of the best value deals you can find.
Eco Palms House – Mountain Retreat - Treat Yourself
Eco Palm House offers luxury bungalows with the most incredible views. You’ll never want to leave your private balcony overlooking rolling hills and endless rice fields. Maybe their infinity pool with an equally spectacular view can convince you? You’re guaranteed to leave this place feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.
Little View Homestay Sapa - Budget Friendly
If you’d like to be near the centre of Sapa, Little View Homestay is a great choice. The private rooms boast a really unique design – they’re covered top to bottom in pine wood. To add to the uniqueness of the place, instead of a traditional heating system, you’ll have a heated blanket to keep you warm at night. The friendly owners and creative sapa style decorations will make this an extraordinary stay!
Routes from Sapa
Most popular routes in Vietnam
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Ela is a storyteller, content producer, solo traveller and a mermaid-in-training. When she’s not in front of her laptop, you will find her barefoot and living her best tan on some island in the Philippines… Or exploring the depths of its seas as a budding freediver. An island girl at heart, she’ll be happy anywhere there is sea, sand, sun and coffee.
Based in Bali, Maarten’s passion for travel is undeniable. In 2016, he decided to quit his job as a stock analyst and started doing what he always dreamed of: travelling through South East Asia and helping other people plan their trips. When he is not working on Gecko Routes, you’ll find him surfing in the ocean or exploring the best gems of Indonesia.