Train or Bus - Choosing the best way to get to Sapa

The first question that comes to mind of many travelers when planning a trip to Sapa is picking the best way to get there: train or bus?

Before 2014, train was almost an exclusive means to get to the rural town of Sapa. Traveling by road was taking too much time and effort, let alone the safety issue. Direct train line connects Hanoi and Lao Cai, from there it is another 45 minutes ride to Sapa. Most trains are overnight, taking up to 8 hours of travel and one often arrives in Sapa in the early morning.

Since 2014, the new highway's opening has made road travel to Lao Cai (and consequently Sapa) not only easier but a great alternative to train. Although it does not offer the train travel experience that many seek, bus travel saves you time and budget. Below is a comparison of train and bus - which shows both their pros and cons and will make it easier for you to decide:

 By busBy train

- Take shorter time: around 5 hours

- Arrive direct in Sapa

- Usually cheaper: $15-25/person/way

- Offer unique experience on Vietnamese' railway

- Most trains are overnight thus saves travel time

- Train travel will save your hotel night


- Travel is done mostly during the day so it takes out sightseeing time in Sapa

- Experience may not be as unique as the train as the ride is standard

- More expensive than bus, around $35-45/person/way

- Need to take a minibus to Sapa after arrival to Lao Cai

Lean more about Sapa bus travel - cost and schedule

Learn more about Sapa train travel - cost and schedule

Hanoi-Sapa Train Map

Book Sapa Hotels