If you are willing to explore the rice terraces and enjoy a trekking adventure in the Sapa region then you have to catch either a bus or a train from Hanoi.
The train leaves the train station at Hanoi around 10 p.m. in the evening and it takes about 8 hours to get to the train station at Lao Cai. A one way ticket with the train costs around USD 40 for a soft berth. From Lao Cai you need to take one of the numerous minivans waiting in front of the train station, offering transportation to the town of Sapa. The price for the ride per person is 50 Dong.
If you are staying at a homestay in the valley you need to prepare another 150-200 Dong for transportation. This is totally worth it as the atmosphere in the villages is incomparable to the concrete landscape in Sapa town.
Our accommodation was at a homestay in the Ta Van village from where you can trek easily without a guide. If you decide to have an organized trek with a guide it can cost some 70-350 Dong more depending on the number of people you are going to trek with. The smaller the group – the more expensive it is. A group of 6 people usually pays 70 per person which is a pretty good deal, but honestly you can do it by yourself without any problems. It is just advisable to have a prepaid sim card with Internet included so that you can use the GPS. You can book your ticket through different travel agencies. Here are some options:
There are several companies offering transportation from Hanoi to Sapa. They can get you from the capital to Sapa within 5-6 hours. Here are some options:
Honestly, we prefer the train as it is much more comfortable and the coaches have different interior which reminded us of the Wes Anderson movies’ decor. That’s the way a true fairytale should start 😉
There are numerous options in Sapa town, but if you opt for a true experience with the locals, then you should consider booking a homestay.
I suggest you book online since it will be a bit complicated and time-consuming to look for accommodation in the nearby villages once you arrive in Sapa town.