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Sapa to Ha Long Bay: Essential information for your first trip

18/01/2024 8.036

Are you heading to Vietnam for the first time and planning a trip from Sapa to Ha Long Bay? You are in for a treat! But before you embark on your journey, make sure you have all the essential information you need.

Sapa to Ha Long Bay

Planning your first trip from Sapa to Ha Long Bay can be an exciting but daunting task. With so much to see and do in both destinations, it is important to have all the essential information you need before embarking on your journey. From choosing your means of transportation, finding the right accommodation to planning your itinerary, this guide will provide all you need for a memorable trip from Sapa to Ha Long Bay.

1. How far is it from Sapa to Ha Long Bay?

The Sapa to Ha Long Bay distance is approximately 475 kilometers. The fastest way to travel from Sapa to Ha Long Bay is by car, taking around 7.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train from Sapa to Hanoi, followed by a 2.5-hour car ride to Ha Long Bay, with a total travel time of approximately 12 hours. 

To get to Ha Long Bay, enter Expressway DCT05 connecting Lao Cai and Hanoi, then follow National Road 5B (Hanoi - Hai Phong) to reach the city center of Ha Long. Remember that the cost of travel includes expressway toll fees.

2. How to get from Sapa to Ha Long Bay?

2.1. By bus

Sapa to Ha Long Bay

For about 475 kilometers, traveling by bus will take you 9 to 10 hours at an affordable fare of $20. 

A great and popular option is the Sapa to Ha Long Bay overnight bus, which is a high-class shuttle bus equipped with full services and facilities. This includes leather sleeping berths, air conditioning, LCD screens, free wifi, blankets, and bottled water, providing the best comfort for a long-distance journey. 

You can note these bus companies below for your consideration:

Bus company




Cuong Lan

Pick-up: 6:15 PM at Lao Cai station 
Drop-off: 1:15 AM at Mong Cai station 

~ $17


Phuc Xuyen 

Pick-up: 11:00 AM at Lao Cai station
Drop-off: 8:00 PM at Bai Chay station 

~ $17


Cuong Lam

Pick-up: 5:30 PM at Lao Cai station
Drop-off: 0:30 AM at Mong Cai station 

~ $19.5


Thien Ha

Pick-up: 5:00 PM at Lao Cai station
Drop-off: 5:00 AM at Bai Chay station 

~ $19.5


Inter Bus

Pick-up: 9:30 PM at Lao Cai station
Drop-off: 7:30 AM at Bai Chay station 

~ $21


Tech Bus Vietnam JSC

Pick-up: 7:35 AM at Lao Cai station
Drop-off: 4:35 PM at Bai Chay station 

~ $21



You just need to make a phone call to one of these companies. Their staff will pick up the phone, provide you with all the essential information, and suggest the best ride for you.

Sapa to Ha Long Bay: By bus



  • Experience a cost-effective direct transfer
  • Enjoy essential amenities 
  • Have time to sleep and save energy for your trip
  • May encounter scams or fraudulent activities
  • May catch motion sickness or discomfort due to winding mountainous roads


>>> Make your trip unforgettable with these 14 things to do in Ha Long Bay!

2.2. By private car

Sapa to Ha Long Bay

If you prioritize privacy and convenience when traveling from Sapa to Ha Long Bay, renting a private car is the ideal choice. With prices ranging from 250 to 300 USD or more, this option provides you with a comfortable and exclusive experience. The journey takes approximately 7.5 hours, covering a total distance of 470 kilometers.

Sapa to Ha Long Bay: By private cars 



  • Freely customize your itinerary and make stops along the way
  • Enjoy amenities like air conditioning and spacious seating
  • May be expensive for travelers on a tight budget
  • May not be suitable for those prone to motion sickness on winding mountainous roads

2.3. By train

Sapa to Ha Long Bay

Train is another great transportation option. You can take a taxi from Sapa to Lao Cai station, then go to Ha Noi station by train. When you arrive in Hanoi, take a train from Yen Vien station (Gia Lam, Hanoi) to Ha Long station. 

The train from Lao Cai station to Hanoi station takes from 8.5 to 11 hours, while the one from Yen Vien station to Ha Long station takes around 7 hours. Some trains for your consideration are: 

Train route 

Train name 


Lao Cai - Hanoi

SP 12 

~ $7 

SP 2

~ $6 - $18 

SP 4

~ $17 - $35 

Hanoi - Ha Long 


~ $4.5 - $5 


The fare varies depending on the seat type (hard seat, soft seat, hard sleeper, and soft sleeper).

Sapa to Ha Long Bay: By train 



  • Enjoy breathtaking landscapes and countryside views
  • Interact with fellow travelers and locals
  • Reduce motion sickness
  • Have less flexibility in terms of departure and arrival times
  • Take more time than other means of transportation


For adventurous backpackers, embarking on the journey from Sapa to Ha Long Bay by motorbike is also a great option. However, it is suitable only for those who have ample time and are in top physical condition, as it involves long and challenging roads.

>>> Explore Ha Long Bay restaurants and enjoy tantalizing culinary experiences! 

3. A highly-recommended 4-day Sapa Ha Long Bay itinerary

Sapa to Ha Long Bay

Before going on your Sapa - Ha Long Bay trip, consider our 4-day itinerary below:

Start your day by visiting Sapa Stone Church and Sapa Square, both free of charge. Immerse yourself in the bustling atmosphere as tourists and locals gather, often hosting cultural festivals.

In the afternoon, go to the picturesque Thac Bac Waterfall. Continuing on to reach the Heaven Gate on O Quy Ho Pass. Here, enjoy the breathtaking panoramic view of the sunset in Sapa.

Begin your second day with a visit to Cat Cat Village, a popular destination located 2 kilometers away from the town of Sapa. Park your vehicle, embark on a picturesque walk through the village, and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. You can also rent a traditional costume for around 200,000 VND and immerse yourself in the local culture.

In the afternoon, make your way to Fansipan Mountain for a mesmerizing panoramic view of Muong Hoa Valley, with a cable car fee of $33. Don’t forget to take memorable photos at the Welcome Gate before ascending to the summit of Fansipan, standing proudly at 3,143 meters.

On the third day, set off to explore the magnificent Ha Long Bay and its captivating attractions.

Our first stop is Sung Sot Cave. Prepare to be amazed by its stunning rock formations, illuminated pathways, and breathtaking stalactites and stalagmites. This natural wonder will leave you in awe of its beauty and grandeur.

Next, head to Ti Top Island. Here, you can climb to the island's peak for a panoramic view of Ha Long Bay, or take a refreshing swim in its crystal-clear waters. This scenic island offers the perfect blend of natural beauty and recreational activities.

Bai Tu Long Bay is the last destination of the day, which is a hidden gem near Ha Long Bay. This is the perfect place to escape the crowds and soak in the tranquility of this lesser-explored bay.

On day 4, continue your adventure in Ha Long Bay with a visit to some remarkable attractions.

Begin with Bai Chay Beach, one of the most popular beaches in Ha Long Bay. Enjoy the golden sand, take a leisurely stroll along the shore, or simply relax and soak up the sun. With its scenic beauty and calm water, Bai Chay Beach offers a perfect spot for unwinding and rejuvenating.

Next, head to Quang Ninh Museum, where you can delve into the rich history and culture of the region. The museum contains engaging exhibits, artifacts, and displays that showcase the heritage and traditions of Quang Ninh province.

To conclude the day, make your way to Bai Tho Mountain. You can embark on a hike to the top and be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of Ha Long Bay. The mountain's summit provides a vantage point to admire the picturesque landscape dotted with limestone karsts and emerald waters.

To experience luxury and comfort at its finest while in Ha Long, consider staying at Vinpearl Resort & Spa Ha Long. Here, you can immerse yourself in serenity with three private beaches, lush green surroundings, a stunning outdoor swimming pool, and more. 

Sapa to Ha Long Bay

>>> Plan your dream getaway now and book rooms in Vinpearl Resort & Spa Ha Long!

In conclusion, exploring the magnificent journey from Sapa to Ha Long Bay is a must for any traveler seeking a truly unforgettable experience. From the stunning landscapes of Sapa and its cultural gems to the breathtaking beauty of Ha Long Bay's limestone karsts and emerald waters, this journey offers a blend of adventure, relaxation, and cultural immersion. Plan your next trip and get ready to create wonderful memories with your family and friends.

>>> Book rooms in Vinpearl Resort & Spa Ha Long to elevate your traveling experiences to new heights!

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