Sapa is a town in the northwest of Vietnam which attracts many tourists with its beautiful landscape and unique ethnic culture. There are many ways to travel from Hanoi to Sapa. As the highway was built, many people choose to travel by bus because it is more affordable and convenient. We’ve chosen to travel from Hanoi to Sapa by Sapa Dragon Express Bus.
Booking Bus Ticket
We booked Sapa Dragon Express bus ticket from Hanoi to Sapa online here: Shuttle service between Hanoi and Sapa. Details of the bus and the pick-up/drop-off points were also provided so you it was easy to check everything before booking.
Bus Ticket Price
Sapa Dragon Express bus ticket price starts at 386,000 VND per person but we booked it online so it was cheaper than that.
Things included in the ticket price:
- Bus ticket from Hanoi to Sapa (One way)
- 1 bottle of mineral water
- Free pick-up service from the hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter
The schedule of our chosen bus was the following:
- Departure time - 06:45
- Arrival time - 13:15
The same company also has a sleeping bus departing from Hanoi to Sapa in the evening.
More departure times for this route can be found here: Bus from Hanoi to Sapa.
Traveling by bus from Hanoi to Sapa
Our itinerary of traveling from Hanoi to Sapa by Sapa Dragon Express was as follows.
6:20 Waiting for the bus
We booked a bus that departs from Hanoi to Sapa in the morning with the scheduled departure from Hanoi at 06:45.
As the bus company provides pick-up service from the hotels in Hanoi Old Quarter, after completing the booking they contacted us via email to confirm the pick-up location and time. We were asked to wait at the hotel 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time so we checked out from our hotel at around 6:20 and waited for the pick-up at the lobby.
6:40 Pick-up from the hotel
After waiting for 20 minutes, the small bus came to pick us up from the hotel. Sapa Dragon Express staff came to the hotel to check our names and invited us to board the bus. Overall, the guy picking us was helpful and spoke good enough English.
The bus that arrived at the hotel was air-conditioned but quite small with limited legroom. However, this bus was used just for picking up people and dropped us off at the meeting point by the company’s office.
7:15 Taking the bus to Sapa
All passengers needed to get off the small bus and transfer to the larger bus. The new bus had spacious seats and more legroom than any other bus we used while traveling in Vietnam. The bus looked newer and more modern. Free Wi-Fi was also available on the bus.
About half hour later than scheduled the bus departed.
8:50 Rest Stop (1st time)
After driving for about 1 hour 40 minutes, the bus made first break and stopped at the place where passengers could take a rest and eat. The first rest stop took about 20-30 minutes. There were plenty of places to grab some food, coffee and other refreshments.
11:30 Rest Stop (2nd time)
The bus stopped one more time before driving up the hill to Sapa. There were shops and variety of restaurants to stock up before the final part of the trip. We got a couple of sandwiches that were quite good and reasonably priced. It is advisable to find something to eat here, as it still takes lots of time to get from this stop to Sapa.
13:27 Arriving at Sapa
The final part of the journey by bus is an uphill road so the bus was driving slowly and it took almost 2 hours to reach the final destination in Sapa. The bus dropped off us at the parking lot of Thanh Binh Hotel. From there you can take a taxi or motorbike to your hotel in Sapa. Our hotel was within a walking distance, so we just walked there.
Duration of travel
The journey by bus from Hanoi to Sapa took around 7 hours, including the time we had to spend waiting for the pick-up at the hotel in Hanoi and the time spent at the rest stops.
Overall, traveling by bus from Hanoi to Sapa was convenient . The bus we took was Sapa Dragon Express as they have good reviews and their schedule was suitable for our plans. Sapa Dragon Express is a bus company offering transfer services on Hanoi-Sapa route that is not as famous as other companies.
Actually, we didn't have a specific bus company in mind when choosing the bus from Hanoi to Sapa. From our experience in Vietnam, the famous bus companies quite often use older buses as they rely more on their fame than on quality of their services. However, Sapa Dragon Express bus was new and had a lot of space. We got comfortable seats and the driver was driving carefully without any worries.
Returning from Sapa to Hanoi by bus can be a bit different experience. Our review of the trip back to Hanoi by the same bus company is detailed here: From Sapa to Hanoi by Sapa Dragon Express Bus [Review].
Our complete guide covering everything you need to know about travelling from Hanoi to Sapa by bus can be found here: How to Travel from Hanoi to Sapa by Bus.