Transportation

Hanoi to Lao Cai by train

From Hanoi, you can take a night train which departs from Hanoi railway station every night. This night train offers different class of tickets for tourists. You can choose a seat or a comfortable bed with different price ranges. Tickets can be booked by yourself right at Hanoi Station or booked through any travel agency in Hanoi. It takes up to nine hours to reach Lao Cai Railway station. From Lao Cai station, you will take another minibus drive to Sapa town, which may take around one hour. The minibus will take you along the winding road, nice valleys and fantastic rice paddies before arriving at Sapa.

Tickets to Hanoi can be bought at the station or from one of the private operators, such as Livitrains on Phan Dinh Phung. If you're on a trip from Hanoi then it's best to get a return ticket sorted in Hanoi as trains get busy and you might find yourself stranded or paying big money for a private carriage. Note though that even buying at the train station in Hanoi won't guarantee you the ticket you want — we're guessing that travel agents buy up all the tickets so those of us not willing to pay the 50% commission might not have much luck.

These prices are for the regular, public cars, not the ones run by private companies — and unless you buy direct from the station you will end up paying quite a lot more.

Hanoi to Lao Cai by road

There are regular night buses and coaches from My Dinh Station, Hanoi to Lao Cai which takes about ten hours. Besides, you can also choose other options such as traveling by motorbike, which may be more dangerous since the road is rather long and bumpy with deep valleys. If you are panning to travel by motorbike, you must take care to avoid excessive speeds and select vehicles or bikes suitable for all types of terrain. The rainy season should be avoided if you plan an off the beaten track route, unless you are a very experienced off-roader. In case you are a first time traveler, you may get a travel agency to arrange a trip by private jeep or combo jeep.

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