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Vietnam forum

Kunming to Sapa

Posted by BAMAnug on 7/6/2016 at 10:07

Hello, I will be traveling through Southeast Asia in February and March of next year. Right now my itinerary is:

India (Delhi/Agra/Varanasi) >>> Nepal (Kathmandu and possibly Pokhara) >>> Tibet (Lhasa) >>> Vietnam ( Hanoi down to Ho Chi Minh).

My question concerns getting from Lhasa to Sapa (or Hanoi):

(Option 1) Fly from Lhasa to Hanoi---this would be more expensive, and also looks to take around 10 hours, and I would then have to almost backtrack to Sapa, then back through Hanoi to Halong Bay

(Option 2) Fly from Lhasa to Kunming, enter Vietnam through Lao Cai---there are direct flights from Lhasa to Kunming, that would only take approx. 1 1/2 hours. However, it is difficult to find reliable information on getting from Kunming to Sapa/crossing the Vietnamese border.

How simple is it to find a bus from Kunming to Lao Cai? Is it necessary to book in advance, or can you book on arrival? Is the border crossing simple?

To save the headache, would anyone recommend simply flying from Lhasa to Hanoi?

Also, if anyone has any information on when the train from Kathmandu to Lhasa will be open, it would be much appreciated.


#1 BAMAnug has been a member since 16/2/2014. Posts: 8

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Posted by amnicoll on 8/6/2016 at 05:43

option 2 is simple and for future reference check out the man at seat 61 for any rail related info. I would guess there is also the option of a bus but here is a copy and paste of the train details

[ulist][li]Step 1, travel from Kunming to Hekou North (= Hekoubei) by train. There are two trains a day, the K9832 leaving Kunming at 09:32 arriving Hekou North at 15:51, and the K9836 leaving Kunming at 17:38 and arriving Hekou North at 23:44. The fare is 70.5 RMB ($11) for a regular hard seat (comfortable enough) or RMB 182 ($30) with a seat in a soft sleeper. You'll soon be able to check times & fares (and if you don't mind a few dollars booking fee, buy tickets) although at the time of writing the new route has not yet been enabled in their system.
[/li][/ulist][ulist][li]Step 2, transfer from Hekou North station in China to Lai Cai station in Vietnam: Either take a bus the several kilometres from Hekou North station to the Hekou border point for RMB 2, journey time 10-15 minutes, or take a taxi for around RMB 10-15, there will be plenty of taxis waiting at the station. Walk across the border to the Vietnamese side (border controls can take up to an hour) then walk another 25 minutes or take a 5-minute taxi ride into Lao Cai , just 2.5km (1.5 miles) from the border post. There are hotels in both Hekou and Lao Cai if you need them.

#2 amnicoll has been a member since 10/1/2005. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 971
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