How to travel from Hanoi to Sapa by train?

Sapa is a magnificent destination in Vietnam that every traveler wants to visit at least once. Since Sapa does not have an airport, the only options for traveling from Hanoi to Sapa are by train or by car. Among these options, the train is the preferred choice for most tourists due to its exciting experiences. Let’s explore how to travel from Hanoi to Sapa by train with SVietnam Travel.

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Can you go directly by train from Hanoi to Sapa?

The Hanoi – Lao Cai railway stretches about 296 km, passing through the provinces and cities of Hanoi, Vinh Phuc, Phu Tho, Yen Bai, and Lao Cai. The train departs from Hanoi Station, located at 118 Le Duan, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, and the final stop is Lao Cai Station, situated in Zone 26A, Lao Cai City. Sapa is a town in Lao Cai Province, approximately 35 km away from Lao Cai Station.

Read more: 15 Top Tourist Attractions in Hanoi

Therefore, you cannot take a train directly from Hanoi to Sapa. Instead, you can take a train from central Hanoi to Lao Cai City. From Lao Cai City, you would need to travel the remaining 35 km uphill to reach Sapa, which can be done by car or motorbike. The journey from Hanoi to Sapa takes quite a long time, and that’s why train departures from Hanoi to Sapa are usually scheduled in the evening.

A sleeper train from Hanoi to Sapa
A sleeper train from Hanoi to Sapa

How can I purchase Hanoi to Sapa train tickets?

If you plan to buy Hanoi – Sapa train tickets during peak times, we recommend booking in advance, around 1 to 2 months ahead, to secure preferred seats.

There are two ways to purchase Hanoi – Sapa train tickets:

  1. Buy them at Hanoi Station: 118 Le Duan, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, or at travel agencies.
  2. Buy them online.

You can visit the official website of Vietnam Railways to make an online purchase: However, this website only sells standard tickets, including both sitting and sleeping berths, but the cabins are relatively small.

For a more premium experience, some companies have invested in new train carriages with modern designs to provide better services. These include King Express Train, Livitran Express, Pumpkin Express Train, Victoria Express Train, Ratraco Express Train, Fanxipan Express Train, Dream Train Sapa, Orient Express, Royal Express Train, and Sapaly Express Train.

A train carriage of the Victoria Express
A train carriage of the Victoria Express

To buy tickets for these train carriages, in addition to purchasing directly at Hanoi Station, you can also book them through travel agencies or contact S Vietnam Travel.

Train Ticket Prices from Hanoi to Sapa

Hard seat tickets start at 150,000 VND per person. However, considering the 8-hour journey, it is recommended to choose higher-class tickets such as the 4-bed sleeper cabin, which costs around 450,000 VND per person.

If you want to experience a 5-star service, you can opt for the Victoria Express train. This train features a European-style dining car, a bar, and a fully-equipped kitchen. The train offers luxury with meticulously decorated interiors in an Indochinese style, along with professional service. The ticket prices for the Victoria Express train range from 1,400,000 to 2,300,000 VND per ticket, one way.

A restaurant on the Victoria Express train
A restaurant on the Victoria Express train

Other brands such as Pumpkin Express, Sapaly Express, Chapa Express, Fanxipan Express, etc., offer tickets priced around 600,000 to 900,000 VND per ticket, one way.

Read more: Expenses For Your Vietnam Trip

Should you choose a sitting or sleeping ticket from Hanoi to Sapa?

Typically, the train departs from Hanoi around 9 or 10 PM and arrives at Lao Cai Station the next morning, taking approximately 8 hours. The train offers various types of seats, including soft seats, hard seats, air-conditioned sleeping berths, etc. Sitting for a long duration can be tiring, so it is recommended to choose a sleeping berth for a more comfortable experience and to maintain good health to explore Sapa the next morning.

A room on the Pumpkin Express train
A room on the Pumpkin Express train

How long does it take to travel from Hanoi to Sapa?

Only considering the train journey from Hanoi to Lao Cai, it takes about 8 hours. After arriving at Lao Cai Station, you will need to travel the remaining 35 km by car, which takes approximately 1 hour. However, during this part of the journey, you will get to admire the majestic scenery of the mountains and forests. So, the total travel time from Hanoi to Sapa will be over 9 hours.

Read more: Best Time To Visit Vietnam

Things to note when traveling to Sapa by train:

  • Arrive at Hanoi Station 30 to 60 minutes before departure to prepare your luggage and avoid missing the train.
  • During the train journey, be cautious and keep your belongings safe to prevent theft, especially wallets and mobile phones.

Read more: 16 Things To Know Before Travelling To Vietnam


Traveling from Hanoi to Sapa by train and then by car takes a considerable amount of time, but it provides an interesting experience for your trip. There are various ticket classes to choose from based on your budget, but for the best experience, it is recommended to select an air-conditioned sleeper berth and take care of your health to fully enjoy the beautiful Sapa the next day. Wishing you a pleasant and safe journey!

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