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Hanoi to Sapa and back in three days

Posted by nelschrecker on 3/11/2013 at 08:26

Hello all, I have been studying Travelfish for a while now but this is my first post.

I am arriving in Hanoi on the 20th of November with my wife and we have a 3D2N Halong Bay cruise booked for the 24th, 25th and 26th. I would like to take the overnight train from Hanoi to Sapa on the 20th, spend the night in Sapa on the 21st and then return to Hanoi on the 22nd. Does this sound feasible?

We arrive early on the morning of the 20th, would it be easy to arrange the train tickets when we arrive in Hanoi or is it better to pre-book online? What are the chances of a major delay on the return journey causing us to miss our transfer to Halong Bay?

I know it will be very rushed but we have just over a week in Vietnam and would love to see Sapa and Halong Bay.

After Halong Bay we will have 3 nights in Hanoi.

#1 nelschrecker has been a member since 19/10/2013. Posts: 2

Posted by Geer1 on 3/11/2013 at 11:18

I didn't go to Sapa but saw a few people that didn't get back to Hanoi until hours after they were supposed to, a couple of them missed their Halong Bay connection because of it. I think they were lucky as they booked both trips through same company and they just bumped back the Halong Bay tour a day.

What time is your connection to Halong Bay? Isn't it the morning of the 24th from Hanoi? If so you could even take day bus back on the 23rd which would give a little more time in Sapa.

#2 Geer1 has been a member since 14/9/2012. Posts: 540
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Posted by nelschrecker on 3/11/2013 at 11:36

Yeah, only leaving for Halong on the 24th so a couple of hours, even twelve hour, delay won't be a problem. to be safe I would like to spend the evening of the 23rd in Hanoi.

#3 nelschrecker has been a member since 19/10/2013. Posts: 2

Posted by Geer1 on 3/11/2013 at 16:35

If you took the day bus you would be back in time for sure. That is what I would do.

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Posted by mixtourist on 3/11/2013 at 22:26

Posted from within Vietnam.

it's possible. u may reach Lao Cai train station at 5am, catch bus to Sapa . then u travel Silver waterfall in the 21st's morning, Cat Cat village in the afternoon.
spend 22nd to visit Ham Rong and Sapa market and then catch train to go back hanoi in the evening. u will be at hanoi in 23rd. but u will be very tired.

#5 mixtourist has been a member since 27/10/2013. Posts: 3

Posted by travellingsarah on 3/11/2013 at 23:39 TF writer

Posted from within Vietnam.

Sure, it's possible and will give you some Sapa memories, but unless you sleep super well on trains (and I don't know anyone that does) you are likely to be very tired. Maybe try to get a hotel that guarantees early check-in - even if you have to pay - so that when you arrive you can get a couple of hours sleep before setting out for the day, that usually works for me.

I don't know about the day bus Geer - that just means you get an extra night in Sapa and it's not the nightlife most people go for. Personally I'd take the overnight train and have some rest time on the 23rd, rather than spending the day on a bus.

#6 travellingsarah has been a member since 23/3/2010. Location: Vietnam. Posts: 684
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Posted by HwangHuyDo on 4/11/2013 at 01:12

Posted from within Vietnam.

I've just visit Sapa this summer. But i think you should spend 3days in Sapa. Coz the train will take you about 8 hours from Hanoi to Sapa ( and about 30 minutes from Lao Cai station to Sapa town ) and you should book a high quality room on trains ( i booked Sapaly train with airconditional but can not sleep well ). You will very tired if only 3 night and 2 days, i think so.
I could hire a motobike there, about 80.000 VND to 100.000VND/day with out gas to discover around. I think you know where to go in Sapa. I am very impression with Love waterfall and rice fields.

#7 HwangHuyDo has been a member since 4/11/2013. Location: Vietnam. Posts: 2
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Posted by frere on 4/11/2013 at 10:44

Posted from within Vietnam.

HHD right about the three days and take one away from hanoi if it fits. be careful with hanoi taxis, more so if they insist on telling you have a meter. mini buses from the airport only $2. and be warned - you can't cash travellers scheques in hanoi.

#8 frere has been a member since 27/9/2012. Posts: 28
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