Train from Hanoi to Sapa

Train from Hanoi to Sapa

Sapa, a picturesque town nestled in the mountains of Northern Vietnam, has long been a popular destination for travelers seeking breathtaking natural landscapes, cultural immersion, and a respite from the bustling city life. One of the most convenient and enjoyable ways to reach Sapa from Hanoi, the capital city, is by train. The train journey from Hanoi to Sapa is a scenic and comfortable experience that allows travelers to soak in the stunning vistas of the Vietnamese countryside.

The train route from Hanoi to Sapa is approximately 380 kilometers long and typically takes around 6-8 hours to complete, depending on the type of train and the number of stops. The journey takes passengers through lush green valleys, towering mountain peaks, and quaint rural villages, offering a glimpse into the diverse and captivating landscapes of Northern Vietnam.

In this comprehensive blog post, we will delve into the various aspects of the train journey from Hanoi to Sapa, including the types of trains available, popular train companies, schedules, ticket prices, on-board facilities, and tips for a comfortable and enjoyable experience. We will also explore the transportation options upon arrival in Sapa and the must-see attractions and activities in this stunning mountain town.

Types of trains available for the Hanoi to Sapa journey

When it comes to the train journey from Hanoi to Sapa, travelers have several options to choose from, each with its own unique features and amenities.

Soft-sleeper trains

The most popular and comfortable option for the Hanoi to Sapa route is the soft-sleeper train. These trains are equipped with private cabins, each accommodating up to four passengers. The cabins feature comfortable beds, air conditioning, and basic amenities such as reading lights and storage space. Soft-sleeper trains are the epitome of comfort and convenience for long-distance journeys.

Hard-sleeper trains

For a more budget-friendly option, travelers can opt for the hard-sleeper trains. These trains feature open-plan sleeping compartments with three-tiered bunk beds, offering a more basic but still comfortable experience. While the accommodations are not as private as the soft-sleeper trains, hard-sleeper trains are a popular choice for those looking to save on their travel budget.

Sitting trains

For the most budget-conscious travelers, there are also sitting trains available for the Hanoi to Sapa route. These trains have standard passenger seating, similar to that of a bus or airplane. While the journey may be less comfortable than the sleeper options, sitting trains are a viable choice for those on a tight budget or for shorter journeys.

High-speed trains

In recent years, Vietnam has invested heavily in its high-speed rail network, and the Hanoi to Sapa route is no exception. Some train companies now offer high-speed train options, which can significantly reduce the travel time between the two destinations. These modern trains feature comfortable seating, on-board amenities, and faster journey times, making them an attractive choice for those who value efficiency and convenience.

Regardless of the train type chosen, the journey from Hanoi to Sapa promises breathtaking scenery, a comfortable travel experience, and the opportunity to immerse oneself in the rich cultural tapestry of Northern Vietnam.

Popular train companies operating on the Hanoi to Sapa route

Several train companies operate on the Hanoi to Sapa route, each offering its own unique services and amenities. Some of the most popular and reliable train companies include:

Vietnam Railways (VNR)

Vietnam Railways (VNR) is the national railway operator and the largest provider of train services in the country. VNR operates a variety of train types, including soft-sleeper, hard-sleeper, and sitting trains, on the Hanoi to Sapa route. VNR trains are known for their reliability and well-maintained infrastructure.

Lao Cai Express

Lao Cai Express is a private train company that specializes in providing high-speed train services between Hanoi and Sapa. Their trains feature modern amenities, comfortable seating, and faster journey times compared to the standard trains. Lao Cai Express is a popular choice for travelers seeking a more efficient and comfortable train experience.

Sapaly Express

Sapaly Express is another private train company that offers train services on the Hanoi to Sapa route. Their trains include soft-sleeper and hard-sleeper options, as well as sitting trains. Sapaly Express is known for its competitive pricing and good customer service.

Fansipan Express

Fansipan Express is a specialized train company that operates luxury train services between Hanoi and Sapa. Their trains feature premium accommodations, such as VIP cabins and deluxe sleeper cars, as well as on-board dining and entertainment options. Fansipan Express is a popular choice for travelers seeking a more elevated train experience.

When selecting a train company for the Hanoi to Sapa journey, it’s important to consider factors such as train type, schedule, amenities, and pricing to find the option that best suits your travel needs and preferences.

Train schedule and duration for the Hanoi to Sapa trip

The train schedule for the Hanoi to Sapa route can vary depending on the train company and the type of train you choose. In general, there are multiple daily departures from both Hanoi and Sapa, catering to the needs of travelers.

Departure times from Hanoi

Trains from Hanoi to Sapa typically depart in the early evening, with the first train leaving around 9:00 PM and the last train departing around 10:00 PM. This schedule allows travelers to arrive in Sapa in the early morning, making the most of their time in the mountain town.

Departure times from Hanoi to Sapa

Arrival times in Sapa

The journey time from Hanoi to Sapa can range from around 6 to 8 hours, depending on the train type and the number of stops along the way. Soft-sleeper and high-speed trains generally have the shortest journey times, while hard-sleeper and sitting trains may take a bit longer. Travelers can expect to arrive in Sapa between 4:00 AM to 5:00 AM, depending on their chosen departure time from Hanoi.

Arrival times in Sapa to Hanoi

Frequency of train services

The Hanoi to Sapa route is well-served, with multiple train departures throughout the day. Most train companies offer at least 2-3 daily departures, with some companies providing even more frequent service, especially during peak travel seasons.

It’s important to note that train schedules can be subject to change, so it’s always a good idea to check with the train company or your travel agent for the most up-to-date information before booking your tickets.

Ticket prices and booking options for the Hanoi to Sapa train

The cost of train tickets for the Hanoi to Sapa journey can vary depending on several factors, including the type of train, the class of travel, and the time of day or season.

Ticket prices

Soft-sleeper trains are generally the most expensive option, with ticket prices ranging from around $25 to $50 per person, depending on the time of day and the train company. Hard-sleeper trains are more budget-friendly, with tickets typically costing between $15 and $30 per person. Sitting trains are the most economical choice, with ticket prices starting from around $10 to $20 per person.

It’s worth noting that ticket prices can also be affected by the time of year, with higher prices during peak travel seasons, such as national holidays and the summer months.

Booking options

Travelers can purchase train tickets for the Hanoi to Sapa route through a variety of channels, including:

  1. Train company websites: Many train companies, such as Vietnam Railways (VNR) and Lao Cai Express, offer online booking services on their websites, allowing travelers to conveniently purchase tickets in advance.
  1. Travel agencies: Local and international travel agencies can also assist with booking train tickets for the Hanoi to Sapa route. They may be able to provide additional services, such as hotel and tour bookings, as part of a comprehensive travel package.
  1. Ticket offices: Travelers can also purchase tickets directly from train station ticket offices in Hanoi or Sapa, but it’s recommended to book in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to ensure availability.
  1. Online booking platforms: Websites and apps like Baolau, Bookaway, and 12Go Asia offer a convenient way to search for and book train tickets, often with the option to compare prices and availability across multiple train companies.

Regardless of the booking method, it’s advisable to secure your train tickets as early as possible, especially if you have specific travel dates or train preferences, to ensure the availability of your desired option.

Facilities and amenities on board the trains from Hanoi to Sapa

The trains operating on the Hanoi to Sapa route offer a range of facilities and amenities to enhance the travel experience for passengers.

Sleeping accommodations

As mentioned earlier, the trains feature different types of sleeping accommodations, from private soft-sleeper cabins to open-plan hard-sleeper compartments. These sleeping areas are equipped with comfortable beds, clean linens, and basic amenities such as reading lights and storage space.


For travelers opting for the sitting train option, the seats are typically spacious and comfortable, with ample legroom and recline. Some trains may also offer reclining seats or even VIP seating areas for a more premium experience.

On-board dining

Many of the trains operating on the Hanoi to Sapa route have on-board dining facilities, ranging from simple snack and beverage services to full-service restaurants. Passengers can enjoy local Vietnamese cuisine, as well as international options, during their journey.

Restrooms and shower facilities

The trains are equipped with clean and well-maintained restroom facilities, including both western-style and Asian-style toilets. Some trains may also offer basic shower facilities for passengers’ convenience.

Entertainment and WiFi

Some of the more modern and high-end trains on the Hanoi to Sapa route may offer in-seat entertainment systems, allowing passengers to enjoy movies, TV shows, or music during their journey. Additionally, some trains may provide WiFi connectivity, though the quality and availability of this service can vary.

Luggage storage

Ample luggage storage space is available on the trains, both in the sleeping compartments and in designated luggage areas, ensuring that passengers can comfortably bring their belongings with them.

The level of amenities and facilities can vary depending on the train company and the class of travel. Passengers should research the specific features of their chosen train to ensure that their travel needs and preferences are met.

Scenic views along the train journey from Hanoi to Sapa

One of the highlights of the train journey from Hanoi to Sapa is the stunning natural scenery that unfolds before the passengers’ eyes. As the train winds its way through the mountainous terrain of Northern Vietnam, travelers are treated to a captivating display of breathtaking landscapes.

Lush green valleys

The train journey begins with panoramic views of the lush, verdant valleys that characterize the countryside surrounding Hanoi. Passengers can admire the patchwork of rice paddies, dotted with traditional Vietnamese villages and farmhouses, as the train chugs along.

Towering mountain peaks

As the train climbs higher into the mountains, the landscape transforms dramatically. Majestic peaks, cloaked in a veil of mist, rise up on either side of the tracks, creating a truly awe-inspiring sight. The train navigates through winding tunnels and over bridges, offering passengers a front-row seat to this magnificent mountain scenery.

Winding rivers and streams

The train journey is also punctuated by the sight of rushing rivers and serene streams, which cut through the mountainous terrain. The train often hugs the banks of these waterways, providing passengers with picturesque views of the flowing water and the surrounding natural beauty.

Terraced rice fields

One of the most iconic sights along the Hanoi to Sapa train route is the sight of the region’s famous terraced rice fields. As the train climbs higher, passengers can witness the intricate patchwork of lush green terraces, creating a visually stunning landscape that is a testament to the ingenuity and hard work of the local farmers.

Quaint rural villages

Interspersed throughout the stunning natural scenery are the quaint rural villages of Northern Vietnam. The train journey offers a glimpse into the traditional way of life in these communities, with glimpses of local residents going about their daily activities and the distinctive architectural styles of the region.

The train journey from Hanoi to Sapa is truly a feast for the senses, with ever-changing vistas that captivate and inspire travelers throughout the entire journey. Whether you’re gazing out the window or stepping out onto the train’s open-air platforms, the scenic views are sure to leave a lasting impression.

Tips for a comfortable and enjoyable train ride to Sapa from Hanoi

To ensure a smooth and enjoyable train journey from Hanoi to Sapa, here are some valuable tips to consider:

Book your tickets in advance

As mentioned earlier, it’s highly recommended to book your train tickets well in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. This will not only guarantee your preferred train and seat/cabin type but also allow you to take advantage of early booking discounts.

Choose your train type wisely

Carefully consider the different train options (soft-sleeper, hard-sleeper, or sitting) and select the one that best suits your budget, comfort level, and travel preferences. If you value privacy and a good night’s sleep, the soft-sleeper trains may be the way to go.

Pack light and smart

Limit your luggage to only the essentials, as storage space on the trains can be limited. Opt for a small backpack or duffel bag that can be easily stowed away. Additionally, pack any necessary medications, snacks, and a small pillow or blanket to make your journey more comfortable.

Bring entertainment and activities

The train journey can be long, so be sure to pack some entertainment options to pass the time, such as books, magazines, portable electronics, or travel games. Downloading movies or TV shows to your device can also help make the time fly by.

Stay hydrated and well-fed

Make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks to keep yourself hydrated and nourished throughout the journey. You can also take advantage of the on-board dining options, but having your own supplies can be especially helpful if you have dietary restrictions or preferences.

Dress comfortably

Wear loose, comfortable clothing and layers, as the temperature on the train can fluctuate. Bring a light jacket or sweater to stay warm, and wear comfortable shoes for easy movement around the train.

Be prepared for early arrival

Keep in mind that you’ll likely arrive in Sapa in the early morning hours, so plan accordingly. Have a plan for transportation from the train station to your accommodation, and consider booking your hotel or guesthouse in advance to ensure a smooth transition upon arrival.

By following these tips, you can ensure a comfortable and enjoyable train ride from Hanoi to Sapa, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the stunning natural beauty and rich cultural experiences that await you in Sapa.

Transportation options upon arrival in Sapa from the train station

Once you arrive in Sapa, you’ll need to consider your transportation options to get to your final destination or explore the town. There are several convenient options available:

Taxi or private transfer

The most straightforward way to get from the Sapa train station to your hotel or other accommodations is to take a taxi or arrange for a private transfer. Taxi stands are typically available at the train station, and you can negotiate the fare with the driver. Alternatively, you can pre-arrange a private transfer through your hotel or a reputable local travel agency.

Local buses

Sapa has a well-developed local bus network that can take you to various parts of the town and surrounding areas. The buses are generally affordable and convenient, though they may not be the most comfortable option, especially if you have a lot of luggage.

Shuttle buses

Many hotels and guesthouses in Sapa offer shuttle bus services from the train station to their respective properties. This can be a hassle-free way to get to your accommodation, as the shuttle buses are often included in your hotel booking or can be arranged for a small additional fee.


If your hotel or guesthouse is located in the town center and you’re traveling light, you can consider walking from the train station. This can be a pleasant way to get your bearings and start exploring Sapa’s charming streets and scenic vistas.

Regardless of your chosen transportation method, be prepared for the early arrival time (typically between 1:00 AM to 5:00 AM) and have a plan in place to ensure a smooth transition from the train station to your accommodation.

Recommended activities and attractions in Sapa after arriving by train from Hanoi

Once you’ve settled in and freshened up after your train journey, Sapa offers a wealth of activities and attractions to explore. Here are some of the top recommendations:

Hike through the terraced rice fields

One of the must-do activities in Sapa is to explore the region’s famous terraced rice fields. Embark on guided hikes through these breathtaking landscapes, where you can witness the daily life of local farmers and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area.

Visit ethnic minority villages

Take a cultural tour to visit the ethnic minority villages that dot the Sapa region. Meet local tribes such as the Hmong, Red Dao, and Tay, and learn about their unique traditions, customs, and way of life. You can shop for handcrafted souvenirs, taste traditional cuisine, and interact with friendly locals.

Conquer Fansipan Mountain

For adventure enthusiasts, a trek up Fansipan Mountain, the highest peak in Indochina, is a challenging yet rewarding experience. You can opt for a multi-day trek or take the cable car to enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and lush forests from the summit.

Explore Sapa town

Spend some time exploring the charming streets of Sapa town, where you’ll find bustling markets, quaint cafes, and local shops selling handicrafts and textiles. Visit the Sapa Market to sample local delicacies, shop for souvenirs, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the town.

Relax at a homestay or spa

Unwind and rejuvenate after your train journey by booking a stay at a local homestay or indulging in a relaxing spa treatment. Experience traditional Vietnamese hospitality, savor home-cooked meals, and pamper yourself with a massage or wellness therapy amidst the serene surroundings of Sapa.

Attend cultural performances

Don’t miss the opportunity to witness traditional dance performances, music shows, and cultural events showcasing the rich heritage of the ethnic minorities in Sapa. Many hotels and tour operators offer evening entertainment options that provide insight into the local culture and traditions.

Whether you’re seeking adventure, cultural immersion, relaxation, or culinary delights, Sapa has something for every type of traveler. By exploring these recommended activities and attractions, you can make the most of your visit to this enchanting destination after arriving by train from Hanoi.


In conclusion, traveling by train from Hanoi to Sapa is not only a convenient and scenic journey but also a memorable part of your Vietnam travel experience. With various train options, schedules, and amenities to choose from, you can tailor your trip to suit your preferences and budget.

From the moment you board the train in Hanoi to the early morning arrival in Sapa, each stage of the journey offers unique opportunities to admire the stunning landscapes, interact with locals, and anticipate the adventures that await you in Sapa.

By following the tips for a comfortable train ride, exploring transportation options in Sapa, and engaging in recommended activities post-arrival, you can make the most of your time in this picturesque mountain town. Whether you’re hiking through rice terraces, immersing yourself in local culture, or simply enjoying the tranquility of Sapa, the journey from Hanoi by train sets the perfect tone for an unforgettable travel experience in Northern Vietnam.

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