People who are planning to visit Vietnam will surely have Sapa in their itinerary because it is considered one of the most popular tourist spot in the country. The only problem is that there is no airport close to Sapa and the only way to go there is either by rail or road. From Hanoin, Sapa is 380 km and choosing either road or rail will still be exhausting so it is important to decide carefully on what route to choose.
Majority of the tourists who are planning to go to Sapa chooses to board the overnight train from Hanoi. Compared to riding a bus or using a motorbike, the train ride is more comfortable and considered safer by many. This is also the better alternative if you want to save money from renting a car.
Every night, three sleeper trains depart from the Main Station of Hanoi – SP7 leaves at 8:35 PM, SP1 leaves at 9:10 while SP3 leaves at 9:50. The journey will last about 8 hours and 20 minutes and then stop at Lao Cai. There is another 34 km left before reaching Sapa and it can be travelled either though a private transfer or by riding a minibus. When returning from Sapa there is also three sleeper train schedule – SP8 leaves at 5:30, SP2 leaves at 8:15 while SP4 leaves at 9:00. You might have noticed that the train numbers are all even going from Sapa to Hanoi.
The schedule for the buses to leave Sapa is at exactly 5:00 in the after and it can be located near the church. The sleeper trains SP1 to SP4 contains sleeper cabins that are privately managed while the trains SP7 and SP8 offers soft seats for the passengers. There are only five private operators of the sleeper train which are Tulico, ET Pumpkin, Livitrans, Orient Express and Hara.
The cabins inside the privately operate sleeper trains are clean and will offer comfort to travelers. The rooms are air conditioned and have four berths inside which is considered a necessity for Hanoi to Sapa train.