Friday, 29 December 2017

Getting To Sapa From Hanoi: Sapa Express Review

How To Get To Sapa From Hanoi 
There are two main mode of transport commuting between Hanoi and Sapa, namely the express buses and the express trains. I initially thought the train was a safer mode of transport and deliberated a while before making up my mind to take the bus instead.

These are the reasons why I opted for the bus.

1. It is more convenient to take the bus. 
Express buses travel all the way from Hanoi to Sapa town whereas the train will only take passengers up to Lao Cai City (40-60 minutes from Sapa). From Lao Cai passengers still need to hop onto a van, bus or taxi to get to Sapa.

2. It is cheaper to take the bus
There are about 9 express bus companies with one way ticket costing between USD10 to USD 60. There are also about 9 train companies that commute between Hanoi and Lao Cai with one-way ticket costing between USD 32 to USD 110. It is a lot cheaper to take the bus.

3. Travelling time is shorter by bus
Travelling time by express buses is between 5 to 6 hours while the express train will take about 8 hours just to reach Lao Cai. It will take another hour or so to reach Sapa so all in it will take up to 9 hours or more to commute between the two places.

4. Buses have a diverse range of departure times compared to trains.
Almost all the trains depart Hanoi at about 9.30-10.00 pm and reach Lao Cai at 
5.30-6.15 am. There is only one departure time and one arrival time for each train company. The time of departure and arrival can be considered odd hours which is not in tandem with the normal check-in or check-out time of most hotels. This may cause a lot of inconvenience for travelers.

"Sapa Express" Bus Review
Among the various bus companies, I chose to travel by "Sapa Express" as it has received rave reviews from those who used its service before. Now that I have traveled on Sapa Express, I can confidently pen a few statements about this company.

1. It is safe to book and pay for tickets online.
2. The bus is punctual and reliable.
3. You only get your seat number on the day you about to depart but sitting preference can be requested during online booking.
4. Besides the driver, an accompanying staff who speaks English is provided to facilitate foreign tourists who can't understand Vietnamese along the journey.
5. Total travelling time inclusive of two stops is just 5½ hours.

Sapa Express pick-up (and also drop off) point is located at No 12, Ly Thai To street in Hanoi old quarter. The bus company offers free pick-up for passengers staying in Old Quarter. We took the 7am bus as we wanted to reach Sapa in time for lunch and hotel check-in. There are more than one departure each day.
Sapa Express offer a few types of seating package. Ours is 29 seater called "special aircraft on the ground". A one way ticket costs USD16. 
The driver's seat is on the LHS  and the double seater seats are behind the driver's seat. Each row has three seats. The bus is air-conditioned and the seats are very spacious with ample leg space.  There is WiFi on the bus but it is as good as none because the strength is very weak.
As soon as the bus took off, snacks and bottled water were given out.
After 1 hour 20 minutes, the bus made its first stop at a complex that has toilet facilities, food stalls and a snack and souvenir shop. This stop lasted 35 minutes.

There are interesting foodstuff and snacks at the highway stop.
We had a careful driver who kept to the speed limit. The newly built Lao Cai-Hanoi highway appeared quite safe. The bus stopped at another complex near Lao Cai for a second time just before ascending the hilly road to Sapa. This stop is just a brief one lasting 10 minutes. 
Sitting on the double seater seats will enable you to get a better view of the beautiful rice terraces during the ascent. On the contrary, the single seats offer better view during the descent from Sapa back to Hanoi..
The ascent from Lao Cai to Sapa took 40 minutes. The drop-off point at Sapa is at No 2 Cau May Street which is in Sapa town centre itself.


Marry John said...

You have shared very useful information. Thanks for sharing.
Phuket Airport Transfer

Smart_Margauz said...

This is very ideal for travelers. Congrats and big thanks for sharing this with us. lodge in sukhumvit

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...