Taking the bus is the fastest and cheapest option when travelling from Sapa to Ninh Binh. Night buses are also available so you won’t lose a day travelling.
Another good option is to go by train. We think that trains in Vietnam are very convenient and much safer than taking the bus. However, this particular train route involves a few transfers and takes much longer than the other options. Continue reading for a step-by-step guide.
Booking a private car is a very convenient option if you are travelling with more people. You can get a spacious 5-seater car for $240. This will pick you up at your hotel in SaPa and drop you off at the doorstep of your hotel in Ninh Binh.
Quang Anh, Sao Viet and Viet Anh used to operate this route as well. Currently, they are not available on our preferred booking websites. But you can still try booking them via local agencies.
SaPa to Ninh Binh by Train
Duration: 11.5 hours Cost: 545,000 VND ($24)
There are no direct trains operating from Sapa to Ninh Binh so you will have to make a few transfers for this route.
First, you have to take a van from SaPa to Lao Cai railway station. 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.
Step 1: Sapa to Lao Cai by Van
Duration: 45min Cost: 60,000 VND ($2.60)
In SaPa, you can arrange a van or take the public bus which brings you to Lao Cai train station in 45min.
A private car is by far the most convenient option to reach Ninh Binh. Definitely worth to consider when you want some more luxury and are travelling with a group.
With Hanoi VIP Transfer, you can rent a comfortable 5-seater car for 5,560,000 VND ($240). This option is much more expensive than taking the bus or the train. But it gives you the advantage of travelling door-to-door and you can stop anytime for food and bathroom breaks.
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 $17 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.
Do you prefer to stay close to the river? Tam Coc Bungalow has spacious bamboo bungalows right next to the Tam Coc river. Bungalows start from $32 and dorm rooms from $6.
What we really liked about this place is their common area. From the terrace you can watch the locals paddling back to Tam Coc town during sunset and in the evening you can play a game of pool at the open restaurant area.