Sapa is a town located among high mountains and there are no nearby airports thus the only way it can be reached by tourist is to travel by road. Departing from Hanoi, the most widely used commuter transportation is the overnight train travelling to Sapa. It was only back in 2014 that another option was opened to the public because of the opening of a new highway. Now, tourist may also reach Sapa by riding a bus.
Traveling via the train
If you are planning to travel from Hanoi to Sapa through the overnight train, the journey will take around 8 to 9 hours. Before you can reach your destination, you will have to stop at Lao Cai because this is the train’s last station. Lao Cai is a province where Sapa is located. After alighting at the Lao Cai station, you will have to travel for another hour to reach the mountainous town of Sapa.
There are many different tourist trains that are available when getting a ride from Hanoi. Every train company has their own carriage where are then connected to the official train carrier of the country. It is recommended booking your tickets ahead of your visit, most especially during the peak season. Every week there are peak days as well which is Thursday and Friday for travels coming from Hanoi going to Lao Cai and Sunday and Monday for travels coming from Lao Cai back to Hanoi. The peak times are caused by the weekend retreat conducted by the local tourists in the area. Sunday is also the scheduled time for the special market fair that is held in Bac Ha which is the reason why many visitors are flocking the town.
Overnight trains usually leave the station between 8 and 10 in the evening thus you will be able to have a good sleep before arriving there at dawn. Day trains are also available when travelling from Hanoi to Sapa but they are not as comfortable as the overnight ones and the travel time is longer due to the fact that it needs to stop more often.