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Going to Sapa from China

florida & QC
Level Contributor
757 posts
Going to Sapa from China

Just wondering is there a better way to reach Sapa from China? Sapa is stunning in the summer. I would prefer to spend a few nights in the countryside in a cool climate than in a hot city. Took Vic. Express train in HN overnight -- the best in VN standard, expensive in western standard. I don't like to land in HN, deal with airport taxi, overnight in hotel, check out at 8pm the next day = paying for a second night. It's so hot in the summer to lock luggage at the lobby to wander around.

florida & QC
Level Contributor
757 posts
1. Re: Going to Sapa from China


Just found a way to go from Guilin to Sapa. Yangshuo is 68km from Guilin. Yangshuo is more scenic than Guilin. Spend couple nights in both places and take the Li River cruise.

- Flight Guilin - Kunming

- Take 12h bus Kunming to Hekou, cross border to Laocai, VN

- Bus 1h Laocai - Sapa.

- Question, which route should I take to return home from Sapa? Train to HN or bus back to Kunming? Either choice is not the best , 13h long trip on a bus or train. Seems like taking a train to HN is better bc I can catch a flight in HN where as I still need a domestic flight from Kunming.



Semporna, Malaysia
Level Contributor
5,912 posts
42 reviews
2. Re: Going to Sapa from China


Sounds like it's better to come to your dream place Hanoi :-) and fly out. If you come back to China, you also need a multi entry visa at first.

I also read about Li River cruise.

Thanks for the information. I need them badly.


BMT, Central...
Level Contributor
1,084 posts
3. Re: Going to Sapa from China

The quickest and easiest route from GuiLin, GuangXi Province (there are several GuiLin's) is to pop down to NanNing (rail)(bus) then catch the daily morning bus to Ha Noi.

The bus takes you straight to the VN border - you walk through the border and then you board another bus that takes you straight to Ha Noi. (This is a daily, bi-directional, service that not many Foreigners know about)

In Ha Noi you catch the train to Sa Pa - there are about 20 each day).

This routing means you do not overnight in Ha Noi.

The route through KunMing is a killer - 12 hours on a bus to He Kou.

Of course, if you buy the Lonely Planet you can take their imaginary train - their book was / is so out of date that they didn't up date from the 1990's landslide that took out the rail line.

Coolum Beach...
Level Contributor
3,313 posts
2 reviews
4. Re: Going to Sapa from China

Hi S-N,

Interesting comments on " Lonely Planet"---my 1997 version is excellent for first 200-300 pages---out of date thereafter!

I called at bookshop yesterday and looked at latest print was aghast at how much was edited from my version!(1100 pagers)

My edition contains no email addresses( fax's only then) ---but has a great deal of very significant general information!

Fingers out, Lonely Planet!!!


5. Re: Going to Sapa from China

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