Popular options to get from Hanoi to Sapa include buses and trains. Find all the relevant information on taking the Sapa Express Bus from Hanoi in brand new, comfortable coach buses.
Sapa Express Bus:
Taking the Sapa Express from Ha Noi to Sapa is faster than taking the train at only 5-6 hours. Bus travel is safer than in recent years thanks to the newly built highway. Bus travel in Vietnam is notorious for being an unpleasant affair, particularly on the budget options. Horrendous reviews abound online on a variety of companies including Queen VIP and Camel Travel. Through one of the local travel agents we found a great bus company known as Sapa Express. While slightly more expensive, this bus offers great service, on time arrivals, and comfort.
The Sapa Express promptly picked us up from our hotel in a minibus and transported us to the main bus. After 6 months of travel throughout Southeast Asia, this was the first company that actually picked up during the designated time window. Once we boarded the main bus, our assistant driver who spoke great English greeted us with a smile and we were on our way.
The Sapa Express bus has roomy seats with a 2 x 1 configuration and a total of 28 seats. The seats all have built in cushion footrests and several reclining modes. These buses are all relatively new and show little wear and tear. We paid $15 for the bus at one of the local travel agencies, but you can also book via their website. Each ticket includes a small snack bag as well as a bottle of water. Blankets and pillows are available on the bus as well.
The Sapa Express Bus offers two departure trips from Hanoi, one in the morning and a night bus option. The morning bus departs Hanoi at 07:00 and arrives at 12:30, while the night bus departs at 21:00 and arrives at 2:30. Buses depart from Hanoi at No.12 Ly Thai To street and arrive in Sapa Town at their office at No.02 Cau May street. The company will pick you up from your hotel and transport you to the departure location. The return bus from Sapa to Hanoi departs at 16:00 and arrives at 21:30.
The best part about the Sapa Express was the customer service. A quick search through reviews on other bus companies and we were ready to be yelled at, misinformed, and put on buses we didn’t book. But the Sapa Express staff was amazing. From the moment they picked us up, they explained the trip route, estimated arrival times, and were very kind. Just before our arrival in Sapa, the assistant came around asking everyone which hotel they booked and then gave us directions on how to get there from the drop off point. For passengers that had no hotel booking, they simply instructed them how to reach the main street and never tried to sell hotel bookings. Great service and no pressure!
The Sapa Express Bus makes two stops along the way. One around 8:30am for a 30 minute break and one later for 10 minutes for a toilet break. Both stops are at very clean, modern highway rest stops where you can buy food and use clean restrooms. Unlike other bus companies, this bus does not stop along the way picking up local passengers along the road making the journey faster and less annoying.
Make sure to book a day or two in advance as this bus can get booked out. We tried to book the night before our departure for our return trip to Hanoi and the bus was already full. Taking the alternative bus, we were stuck in laying down seats and cursed ourselves for failing to book early enough!