We recommend travelling by train from SaPa to Hanoi, instead of taking a direct bus for this route. Taking the night train saves you a day on travelling and is also a great experience. Since SaPa does not have a railway station, you have to take a (shuttle) bus to Lao Cai railway station. From here you can take the night train to Hanoi.
Buses are a faster and a better option if you want to travel during the day. However, keep in mind that travelling during peak hours can result in several hours of delay. Also, be aware that travelling by train is much safer and a more convenient option for long distances.
PRO-TIP: After your visited the North of Vietnam, it’s time to explore Vietnam’s beautiful karst mountains on the coast of Halong Bay or Cat Ba. Use the search tool on top of the page to see the route overviews or book a Halong Bay boat cruise directly with Kook.
At this moment flying from SaPa to Hanoi is not an option, but there are plans to build an airport close to Lao Cai. The plan was officially approved by the prime minister in 2019 and the airport should be fully operating in 2021.
You can either take the public bus or take a shuttle bus organized by your hotel from SaPa to Lao Cai. From this railway station, you can continue by night train to Hanoi.
Since there is not much to do around Lao Cai railway station, we advise to spend the afternoon in SaPa and take a van around 17:00 or 18:00 to Lao Cai. In Lao Cai, you can have dinner at one of the local restaurants around the train station and then hop on your train which will leave at either 20:55 or 21:40.
Be aware that there are no local buses leaving from Sapa to Lao Cai after 18:00!
In case you missed the last bus, you can take a taxi which will bring you for about 250,000 – 300,000 VND ($11 – $13) to Lao Cai railway station.
Booking a minibus/van to Lao Cai is the easiest option because these buses will pick you up at your hotel. The other option is taking the public bus but be aware that the bus schedules are not always reliable.
Minibus from hotel Most accommodations in SaPa can arrange your transport to Lao Cai railway station for about 60,000 VND ($2.60). The latest van leaves between 17:00 and 18:00 and the ride should take about 45 minutes.
Public bus Taking the public bus to Lao Cai is also a good option. According to the timetable, public buses leave every 20-30 minutes from 7:00 till 18:30. However, don’t rely too much on the board with the blue timetable. Buses often leave later than planned or the last buses can even get canceled without notice. This was what happened to us, but luckily we could take a taxi instead. A public bus ride will cost 30,000 VND ($1.30).
You can find the public bus station in front of “Khach San Hong” hotel (which is at the main square next to the Church).
With both trains, you can book a bed in a 4-person cabin for 528,000 VND ($23). More luxurious options are available from 815,000 VND ($35.50). Book your tickets or check availability by clicking the booking button.
SaPa to Hanoi by Bus
Duration: 5.5 hours Cost: 230,000 VND ($10)
The bus is a cheaper and faster option than the train but doesn’t have convenient departure/arrival times. When you take the bus, you either have to travel during the day or take an evening bus that arrives in the middle of the night in Hanoi.
Sleeper buses in Vietnam have quite a good standard compared to buses in the rest of SEA. However, sleeping on a train and having some extra services offers a lot more comfortable and is much safer!
There are several bus companies leaving from SaPa to Hanoi every day and one of the bus companies we recommend is Interbuslines. They receive great reviews and offer the cheapest rates for this route. Fares start at 230,000 VND ($10).
Green Sapa and Good Morning Sapa are also good alternatives, although a few dollars more expensive.
You can book your bus tickets via BookAway through the link below.
Looking for a room in the middle of the Old Quarter? Ancient Lane Hotel offers very clean rooms nicely decorated with ancient attributes. The hosts Thuy and Tuan will make sure you'll have a great stay!
Just landed in Hanoi? In this hotel, you will get the best night of sleep you had since ages. The friendly staff will give you a warm welcome and serve a wonderful breakfast buffet the next morning! Located in the middle of the center, but completely isolated from all the noise.
For many travellers, Halong Bay is one of the highlights of Vietnam. The stunning landscape and breathtaking views over the limestone rocks look almost unreal!
To experience Halong Bay in the best way, you can book a boat cruise departing from Hanoi. Organized tours departing from Hanoi are often cheaper than tours sold by agencies in Halong Bay and another advantage is that you don't need to organize your transport to get there.
We recommend to book your boat tour online to get the best prices and be certain that you book with a trusted company. I already spoke to many travellers who booked boat trips from a random agency on the street and were very disappointed by the service and conditions of this boat.
See here our recommendtion of well-rated boat cruises