How to get to Sapa?

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With no nearby airport the only option for getting there is to travel by road or rail and, travelling to Sapa by which vehicles surely is one of the questions that tourist anxious for their trip. Two suggestions for transferring to Sapa are going by bus and by train and hope that it will help you to have your own decision.

Located in the northwest of Vietnam, Sapa is a mountainous district of Lao Cai province where has many wonders of the natural scene. The town in clouds attracts tourists with majestic mountain views, peak Fan Si Pan with challenging and unique experience in the region of ethnic minorities.

Bus on highway to Sapa

Bus from Hanoi to Sapa

Since 2014, you just have to spend 5 hours transferring to Sapa from Hanoi follow the highway. The advantages of the transferring by bus is coming straight to Sapa town and not stopping at any stations, Sapa buses also run similar to night train. But when transferring by bus, you may have to face the obstacles in rainy season, so it is very dangerous for you to catch the bus going to Sapa in the night. Besides that, the mountain pass road to Lao Cai, Sapa is quite bumpy and steep. On the other hands, transferring by bus on highway road, you will not be had chance to sightseeing the outside scene, you just sit on the bus seats or bus beds all your time and maybe it makes you more tired.

Local night train

Regarding Sapa train, it is the choice of the majority of travellers who travelling to Sapa overnight and transferring by train is the safest choice. You will only get to Lao Cai station and catch another bus from Lao Cai to Sapa. However, it’s more comfortable and safer than a bus, and a lot cheaper than hiring a car. You can book your train ticket by visiting a travel agency, contacting a ticket sale agent or buying directly from the Station (on Tran Quy Cap Street). Tickets are from soft-sleeper class to hard-seat berths or private rail carriages. You should buy tickets beforehand to avoid from sold-out conditions during travel season.

Sapa night train

Three sleeper trains leave Hanoi Railway Station each evening, at 20:35 (SP7), 21:10 (SP1) and 21:50 (SP3). They take around 8 hours and 20 minutes to reach Lao Cai. The return journey departure times are 17:30 (SP8), 20:15 (SP2) and 21:00 (SP4) (trains have even numbers in the return direction). Buses leave Sapa at 17:00 from near the church. The SP1, SP2, SP3 and SP4 mainly comprise privately run sleeper cabins and the SP7 and SP8 also have soft seats. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, or can’t get onto one of the SP trains, the LC1 leaves Hanoi at 22:00 and the return LC2 departs at 18:45. This takes around an hour longer and has no soft sleepers, but does have the option of hard seats. The one daytime train, departs at 06:10 (LC3), 09:15 (LC4) and arrives more than 10 hours later.

Room in Sapa night train

From Lao Cai railway station to Sapa Town, tourists still have to go for around 37 km. As ussual, minibuses departure from Lao Cai every 30 minutes with a cost of VND 28000. Ticket is available for purchase at the train station gate. Normally the bus stop is right in front of Sapa Church, but tourists can also ask the bus driver to drop them off at their booked hotel.  Minibus services are also offered by almost hotels in Sapa.

In conclusion, above are some experiences that we would to share about transferring to Sapa. Sapa is a one of Vietnam’s most popular destinations and we cannot know all the reason why many travellers comeback here for the second time. But we´re sure that when talking about Sapa, you will be heard many admiring and appreciative. Let´s take a chance to enjoy the paradise resort in the Northwest of Vietnam.

Mai Linh

Image sources: Internet

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