Route overview from SaPa to Ninh Binh
Van + Train + Train from SaPa to Ninh Binh (recommended)
12,5 hours, 540.000 VND (€20,50)
We recommend traveling from Sapa to Ninh Binh by train. To cover this 400km distance, you first have to take a van from SaPa to Lao Cai railway station. And from there you can take the sleeper train to Hanoi.
When the train arrives in the early morning in Hanoi, you can switch trains to Ninh Binh and optionally take a taxi to Tam Coc.
Continue reading to book your train tickets online.
Bus from SaPa to Ninh Binh
9,5 hours, 270.000 VND (€10)
Another good alternative is to take the bus from Sapa to Ninh Binh. The bus will first go to Hanoi and continue from there to Ninh Binh. Although the bus is cheaper and also a bit faster, we still prefer to travel by train from Sapa to Ninh Binh. The train is much safer and is also a great experience!
Private car from SaPa to Ninh Binh(4 pers)
7,5 hours, 1.980.000 VND (€75)
Booking a private car is a very convenient option if you are traveling with more people. The journey will be much quicker and you will be pick-up at your hotel and dropped at the doorstep of your hotel in Ninh Binh.
Option 1: Van + Train + Train
Route: Sapa Lao Cai Hanoi Ninh Binh
Duration: 12h 30min
Costs: 540.000 VND (€20,50)
Van: Sapa Lao Cai
Costs: 60.000 VND (€2)
In SaPa you can arrange a van or take the public bus which brings you to Lao Cai train station in 45min.
Read more about this route on the page from Sapa to Hanoi.
Train: Lao Cai Hanoi
Duration: 7h 50min
Costs: 385.000 VND (€14,50)
From here you can take the train leaving at 20:55 or 21:40 to Hanoi.
Read more about this on the page from Sapa to Hanoi.
Train: Hanoi Ninh Binh
Duration: 2h 15min
Costs: 95.000 VND (€4)
When you arrive in the early morning in Hanoi you can switch to the train to Ninh Binh, which departs at 9:00.
This train takes a bit more than 2 hours. If you stay in Tam Coc, you can take a taxi from Ninh Binh railway station (15min).
Read more about this route on the page from Hanoi to Ninh Binh.
|Method of transport||Time||Duration|
|Van or public bus to Lao Cai||17:30-18:15||45m|
|Sleeper train from Lao Cai to Hanoi||21:40-05:30||7h 50m|
|Train from Hanoi to Ninh Binh||09:00-11:17||2h 17m|
|Taxi from Ninh Binh to Tam Coc||11:17-11:32||15m|
Option 2: Bus
Route: Sapa Ninh Binh
Duration: 9,5 hours
Costs: 300.000 VND (€12)
Although taking the train is safer and more convenient, you can also take a direct bus from Sapa to Ninh Binh.
The bus ride takes about 9,5 hours and there are at least 2 bus companies who sell tickets for this route. We assume that ‘Quan Anh’ bus company also drops you in Tam Coc since they also offer a pick-up service from Tam Coc when traveling in the opposite direction. Ask the booking agency or the bus driver to confirm this.
Note: This route is not confirmed by us, so any feedback about one of these routes is very welcome!
|Quang Anh |
|21:00-5:30||7-8h||270.000 VND (€10)|
|7h 30m||280.000 VND (€11)|
|Viet Anh||22:00-05:30||7h 30m||300.000 VND (€12)|
Quang Anh picks you up from your hotel in Sapa and drops you in Ninh Binh city and possibly also Tam Coc. You can book your ticket at a local travel agency or book your ticket online at Vexere.
Option 3: Private Car
Route: Sapa Ninh Binh
Duration: 7,5 hours
Costs: 1.980.000 VND (€75)
A private car is by far the quickest option to reach Ninh Binh. Definitely worth to consider when you want some more luxury and are traveling with more people.
You can book a spacious taxi with the well-rated “Ab Vietnam Travel” taxi service.
My favourite places to stay in Tam Coc (Ninh Binh)
Tam Coc Family Hotel
Want to stay in a real Vietnamese Guesthouse? Tam Coc Family Hotel is a perfect example why you don't have to spend more than €15 for a great guesthouse.The super friendly owners will tell you the best spots to visit and will make sure you have a good start of your day with a delicious breakfast. It's a 1-minute walk from the Tam Coc river and drop-off point of the bus.
Tam Coc Bungalow
Or do you prefer to stay close to the river? Tam Coc Bungalow has beautiful bamboo bungalows with spacious rooms from €23 or dorm rooms for just €5.
What we really liked about this place is that they have a great common area. Watch locals paddling back to Tam Coc town during sunset and dare the staff to play a game of pool in the evening.
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