From Hanoi to Sapa, should I go by bus or train?

From Hanoi to Sapa

Do you want to get away from Hanoi, the hectic capital city of Vietnam? Sapa would be an ideal option. This mountain area is one of the most famous mountainous destinations in Vietnam, attracting thousands of tourists each year. But how to reach Sapa from Hanoi? There are 2 conventional means of transport: bus and train. You may wonder, what should I choose? Our post will help you find some useful information and make your decision.

Bus or Train?

Shuttle Bus to Sapa

There are 3 main advantages of this type:

Firstly, it is faster and more convenient in recent years, thanks to the government’s investment in the highway system. The road now is wider and more concrete, shortening your travel time to 6 drive.

Secondly, it is inexpensive with various departure times daily, including day and night ones. This makes the cost of going by bus cheaper than any other means of transport due to its competitiveness.

If a bus supplier raises the ticket’s fee or is fully-booked, simply, passengers can find another supplier instead as there are many choices. Hence, there is no need to be concerned about the transportation costs as the ticket’s fees are almost the same and reasonable amongst the providers.

Last but not least, these buses can take you straight to Sapa or even drop you off somewhere nearby your hotel, saving you from paying for any taxis or local buses  to take you to the town.

Shuttle Bus to Sapa

Shuttle Bus to Sapa

However, going by bus still has some drawbacks. In case you are not familiar with just sitting or lying for a long time or you need space to take a walk but you are on the bus, then you have to stay in your seat for the whole journey and wait until the bus reaches the bus stop to go to the toilet or eat something. Furthermore, when at the rest stop, you really need to keep an eye on the bus driver when the departure time comes, he might forget to call you back to your bus and unfortunately leave you there.

Train to Sapa

The other affordable type of transportation to Sapa, Lao Cai is by a night train from Hanoi to Sapa. Onboard, they can sleep in the berth or take a walk to relax themselves. The train has enough space for travelers to enjoy meals, gossip with friends or go to the toilet – the thing that  buses do not offer. You can book the tickets in advance to choose your seat, your route and avoid the crowds.

Train to Sapa

Train to Sapa

On the other hand, the train has some weak points.  As all the trains stop at Lao Cai railway station, you will have to continue with a bus or taxi from there to Sapa. This may cause you some inconvenience and confusion after getting off the train as you will not know immediately where to go or what to do next. Moreover, during the peak season, you can not book the ticket at the train station. If you do not book online, you even can not get a seat.

Transfer Expense

As mentioned above, train fares are quite affordable, about $7 per seat according to Vietnam Railways. However, for luxury seats, you may need to pay more , maybe up to 70 USD.

Meanwhile, the price for traveling by bus is staring from $10 for a regular seat. And VIP seats for a couple with more convenient services can cost you $20.

In conclusion, buses and trains are the two popular means of transport from Haoi to Sapa with their own pros and cons. Based on the given information above and your own interest and desire, you can decide the one you want to experience. Or you may choose to depart from Hanoi by train and return by bus in order to enjoy both!

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