Lao Cai is a busy modern town, rebuilt after being invaded by the Chinese Army in 1979. The main reason most foreign visitors travel to Lao Cai is that this the connection point from Vietnam’s railway network to Sapa, which is only 1 hour by road away from Lao Cai Train Station. The train to Lao Cai is a popular way of travelling from Hanoi to Sapa.
Times from Hanoi to Lao Cai
The fastest train service from Hanoi to Lao Cai is Train #SP1 which departs from Hanoi at 21:40 and is scheduled to arrive 7 hours 55 minutes later at 05:35.
The slowest of the four train services is Train #LC3 departing at 06:10 and arriving in Lao Cai at 15:46, a journey time of 9 hours 36 minutes. 1st Class and VIP sleeper berths are available on Trains #SP1 and #SP3.
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Sapa town is 58.9 km from Lao Cai by road and there are plenty are bus and taxi services between the two towns. Sapa came into existence in 1922 as hill station built by the French Colonialists. Since then Sapa has grown into a large town with a population in excess of 40,000 permanent residents. This growth as come on the back of tourism.
Sapa is starting point for trek and tours of the the picturesque surrounding hills famous for its terraced rice fields. Sapa is one of the major ‘must see’ destinations in Vietnam and train services to Lao Cai are very popular. Book in advance.