The easiest way to travel the 410km distance from Ninh Binh to Sapa is by bus. This bus journey takes 8 hours and costs $19.50. Other options include taking the train (11.5 hours) or a taxi (8 hours).
The quickest way to travel directly from Ninh Binh to Sapa is by bus. There are 2 bus companies available for this route. One departs from Ninh Binh city center and the other one departs from Tam Coc. You can choose which one is near your accommodation.
Traveling by train from Ninh Binh to Sapa involves an extra stop. First, you have to take the train from Ninh Binh to Hanoi. Once you arrive at Hanoi railway station, you have to switch to an overnight train going to Lao Cai. From there, you will need to take a van or public bus the next morning to reach Sapa. We only recommend taking the train when travelling back from Sapa to Hanoi.
A private taxi is an option to consider if you are travelling with a group. It provides more privacy and gets you straight to your hotel in Sapa. No need to worry about switching transport and it is quicker than the train. However, it can be very expensive at $240 for a 5-seater car.
Don’t need to see Hanoi before you go to Sapa? Consider taking a direct bus from Ninh Binh to SaPa.
The bus of Long Travel only takes 8 hours and drops you off at the center of SaPa. Couldn’t be much easier right? If coming from Ninh Binh city center, you can also take a bus operated by Ha Son. However, its travel time is 2 hours longer at 10h 15min.
At the moment, only Long Travel and Ha Son operate direct buses on this route. But before there were also a few other companies. There is a chance you can book them at a local travel agent, but always be aware of the drop-off location. Sometimes they are far from the city center of Sapa. See here some more info:
Quang Anh Bus
Quang Anh Bus Company picks you up at your hotel in Ninh Binh City or Tam Coc. Their drop-off location in SaPa is at ‘Sapa Ethnic Travel’ office which requires a 10-minute taxi ride to the city center. Since you arrive around 3:00 in the morning, you also have to let your hotel know that you arrive at this time. Especially in the winter months (January/February), you don’t want to wait outside till the reception opens.
The bus from Sao Viet leaves at 18:30 from Ninh Binh City and the drop-off point is in front of ‘Hong Long Sapa Restaurant.’ The restaurant is just a 10-minute walk from Sapa center.
Ninh Binh to Sapa by Train
Duration: 11.5 hours Cost: 570,000 VND ($24.50)
If you want to travel by train, we recommend to take an afternoon train to Hanoi and then continue by sleeper train to Lao Cai. When you take this sleeper train from Hanoi, you will arrive in the early morning in Lao Cai. From this station, you can take a van or public bus to SaPa.
Step 1: Ninh Binh to Hanoi by Train
Duration: 2.5 hours Cost: 115,000 VND ($4.90)
The first route you have to take is the train from Ninh Binh to Hanoi which takes about 2.5 hrs. We recommend taking the SE6 afternoon train which arrives around 20:00 or earlier in Hanoi.
You can check our page about Ninh Binh to Hanoi or directly book your train ticket by clicking the button below.
When you arrive at around 20:00 at Hanoi railway station, you still have some time to grab some food before the train from Hanoi to SaPa leaves around 22:00. This train will arrive at 6:05 in Lao Cai from where you can hop on a van or public bus to SaPa.
You can check the page from Hanoi to SaPa for more details and check the availability of train tickets by clicking the button provided below.
We recommend to use the two provided buttons or to search for the routes separately. Searching for a combined ticket from Ninh Binh to Lao Cai will not show you the best results.
Step 3: Lao Cai to Sapa by Van
Duration: 45min Cost: 40,000 VND ($1.70)
When you arrive in the early morning in Lao Cai, you can take a van or public bus to SaPa. See the page about Hanoi to Sapa for more details.
Here is an example itinerary:
Method of transport
Train from Ninh Binh to Hanoi
16:56 – 19:12
Train from Hanoi to Lao Cai
22:00 – 06:05
Van from Lao Cai to SaPa
06:15 – 07:00
Ninh Binh to Sapa by Taxi
Duration: 8 hours Cost: 5,580,000 VND ($240)
If you are travelling with a group of people, you can also book a private car to Sapa. You won’t have the hassle of switching transport and will be dropped right on the doorstep of your hotel.
You can book a 5-seater taxi to get you from Ninh Binh to Sapa for 5,580,000 VND ($240). You can also save more money if travelling with a bigger group. A mini-van that can comfortably fit up to 10 persons costs 6,350,000 VND ($270).
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!