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Getting to Bac Ha

Posted by ltisme on 18/8/2010 at 13:37

Hi, we're trying to get to the Bac Ha market on Sunday morning by taking a night train from Hanoi. Our original plan was to arrive in Lao Cai and then try to get a bus or something to Bac Ha. However we've heard that this can be difficult, expensive and time consuming.

We also read that it can be easier and quicker to get off the train at Pho Lu, the stop before Lao Cai on the train route, and proceed to Bac Ha from there.

Does anyone have any experience with either of these routes that they can share? What would you recommend? The key factors we're concerned about are getting to the market early enough on Sunday morning, and not paying ridiculous prices to get to Bac Ha, and from there on to SaPa.


#1 ltisme has been a member since 18/5/2010. Posts: 1

Posted by HanoiDownUnder on 20/8/2010 at 15:52

Posted from within Vietnam.

Group tours that will pick you up from Lao Cai and take you to Bac Ha are cheap. If you don't like the group tour thing, just use them for the transport and do your own thing in Bac Ha, then transport back to Sapa with them as well. I can recommend a tour company if you pm.

#2 HanoiDownUnder has been a member since 5/7/2010. Location: Vietnam. Posts: 4
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Posted by daawgon on 24/8/2010 at 01:30

Don't know who gave you that info? Getting off the train B4 Lao Cai makes no sense, since you have to pass through Lao Cai to get to Bac Ha. Most tours coming in from Sapa will stop at the station in Lao Cai to pick up additional passengers for Bac Ha. If you want a private car, you could hire a Mai Linh cab too.

(The problem could be that cab scammers are at work in Lao Cai as well)

#3 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,152
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Posted by violets on 30/8/2010 at 15:19

I came down to Lao Cai from Sapa on Friday morning and got a bus from there to Bac Ha . The touts were trying to get us to pay a lot but we refused to pay more than 50,000, which was still a good price for them. I think you'd be better off going straight to the bus depot where you have a better chance of getting good info. The touts tried to get us waiting near the train station until all the other buses had gone. Get there early. Our bus went about 11am as far as I remember and was quite a scenic trip.

The market at Bac Ha is much more interesting before the crowds of tourist buses arrive about 10am and it all becomes impossibly crowded, so getting there the day before works well. there are other things to do there. It seemed to me though that the tours get the good hotel rooms and other options are pretty poor. Perhaps try booking ahead. i also found that available food before Saturday night was woeful, so you might want to take some of your own supplies if you go earlier.

#4 violets has been a member since 6/7/2009. Posts: 153

Posted by nickbrieger on 27/11/2010 at 14:21

If you are coming on the Saturday overnight train (SP3) from Hanoi, leaving 21.50, to get to Bac Ha, you can jump off at Pho Lu at 05.00. Walk out of the station and wait outside the cafe by the entrance to the station. There's a bus about 05.30 going to Bac Ha. Journey time is 2 hours, which means you'll be there before the tourists coming from Sapa. Ticket price is probably negotiable. We paid 50,000 VD each - too much, I think, but no bargaining energy at that time in the morning.

#5 nickbrieger has been a member since 27/11/2010. Posts: 1

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