Before you travel from Hanoi to Sapa, there are things that you need to know when taking a Sapa tour from Hanoi:
There are 2 ways of travelling to Sapa from Hanoi: By train or by road
The train is the most comfortable and safest option. Take an overnight train, and the next morning, you are in Lao Cai City, then another 30 mins drive from the city to Sapa. It is a wonderful way of travelling. Just like you take an overnight flight to Vietnam in business class, you can have a big seat or even a bed. Wake up the next day then you are in another country.
Generally, there are three train options – sleeping train tickets, soft seat tickets and hard seat tickets.
While the sleeping train ticket is the most common one with 4-berth cabins and 2-berth cabins.
Now, if you want to take a road trip, then an overnight bus is an option. Local people often use this option because it is cheaper, and they might stop on the way to Sapa. So, it is more convenient to take a bus than the train.
Some people want to travel by motorbike, a real road trip. This option I would recommend going with professional organisers. If you want to travel by motorbike, please read this article for important tips.
2. Cultural Experience
Vietnam has 54 ethnic groups in the whole country. Sapa is home to many ethnic minority communities. For many Vietnamese people, travelling to Sapa not only experiences scenery but also a cultural experience.
There are opportunities to learn about ethnic minority groups’ cultures and traditions. For example, why not visit a local or participate in a homestay tour?
3. Distance from Hanoi to Sapa
Sapa is located about 350km from Hanoi. It takes around 7-9 hours by train or bus, depending on your transportation choice.
As I said before, if you take the train, you will stop at Lao Cai train station, then take a bus from Lao Cai to Sapa (around 30-45 mins).
4. Weather and Accommodations
Sapa is truly a picturesque town, situated amidst breathtakingly beautiful mountains. Therefore, the weather in Sapa is cooler than in Hanoi.
Remember to bring warm clothing, especially if you plan to travel in the Winter. Recently, Sapa often has had snow during the winter time.
Sapa is a popular tourist destination, and even though, it has a wide range of accommodations, it is better to book your room before travelling. Why?
Vietnamese people love to see snow in the Winter. Sapa often packs with tourists when snowing. The summertime is a high peak season for Vietnamese tourists.
5. Recommended Sapa tours from Hanoi
Sapa is renowned for its delightful trekking tours, inviting homestays, and vibrant market tours. The trekking tour can be between 4 hours to 8 hours, depending on how adventurous options you are going to take.
The most popular tour is a 3-night, 2-day tour—two nights on the train and one night in Sapa. You can book a private tour or join a group to save money.
If you take the option of overnight on the train, then you will sleep 2 nights on the train (one night to go up and one night to come back to Hanoi). However, there is another option that you can take now is to travel with a day bus to Sapa, and spend 2 nights in Sapa.
Here are some recommended tours for 3 nights 2 days:
1, Sapa Tour 3 Nights 2 Days overnight on the deluxe train
2, Sapa 3 Days 2 Nights Trekking Tour From Hanoi by bus
3, Sapa Tour By Night Train From Hanoi 3 nights 2 days – stay in a 3-star hotel in Sapa.
If you have more time in Sapa, why not discover the breathtaking sceneries and unique cultures? The best ways to discover the culture are: by joining people in their daily life and visiting their markets.
Here are some recommended tours for this option:
1, Sapa Trekking & Sightseeing: Sapa – Laochai – Tavan – Catcat – Sinchai – Ma Tra – Ta Phin for 3 Days 4 Nights
2, 3-day Sapa trekking and Bac Ha market on Sunday
3, Northern Vietnam Odyssey Tour 6-Day
All of the content in this blog is based on my own experience. However, I have included some links that you might find useful – and I do make a little money if you use them.