Hanoi to Lao Cai , Sapa Travel Guide

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Lao Cai is a mountainous province in the northwest region of Vietnam, bordering with Ha Giang on the east, Yen Bai at the south, Lai Chau at the west and China’s southern province Yunnan in the north. At the moment, there is no airport, so Lao Cai can be reach only by road or by railways.

1. From Hanoi to Lao Cai

* By road: It is 335 Km by road. From Hanoi, first follow national road 2 via Viet Tri City to Doan Hung Junction. Turn left and follow national road 4D via Yen Bai. Due to the mountain terrain and poor investment, the road condition is bad and it is a long and tiring trip.

* By Train: The French started to build the rail road to Lao Cai from early 20th Century and nowadays this portion has been developing very fast to satisfied great demand especially for tourists to go to Lao Cai. Every day there are many trains depart from Hanoi to Lao Cai and v.v. However the only day train, departing at 06.00Am, is a slow one which stops at every station and poorly equipped with hard seats only. Most of the best trains with best facilities including sleeping cabins with A/C start from Hanoi station in the evening from 21.00 to 23.00 and arrive at Lao Cai station early next morning. 

2 – From Dien Bien Phu via Lai Chau:

It is about 200 Km by road from Dien Bien City and it is the only way to reach to Sapa and Lao Cai from Dien Bien Phu via Lai Chau and Tam Duong. This road was very bad in the past but is being upgraded. However some tourists choose to flight from Hanoi to Dien Bien Phu and take tours along this rout.

3 – From Kunming City, China:

Lao Cai is about 500 Km from Kunming City, the central city of Yunnan province, China. Passengers, especially tourists choose this rout to reach to Lao Cai in stead of taking a flight to Hanoi.

• By road: The road from Kunming to Hekou with a border crossing to Lao Cai is good and it takes about 9 to 10 hours by bus. There are many bus operating along this rout day and night.

• By Train: There are 2 trains from Kunming to Hekou every day. 

Once when in Hekou, Just go to the border gate for clearing immigration formalities and it takes only 5 minutes to walk crossing to Lao Cai town.

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