Most tourists arrive in Sapa by a combination of trains and buses. Daily trains from Hanoi arrive in Lao Cai station early in the morning and from there, it is another hour bus ride to Sapa.
The trains- SP1 and SP3 are overnight trains with full options from hard sheet to soft air-conditioned sleepers. Prices vary accordingly from 90,000 ($4.5) to $500,000 ($25) for the 8 hour trip. You can book your train ticket by visiting a travel agency in Hanoi Old quarter, contacting a ticket sale agent or buying directly from the station (on Tran Quy Cap street). Whichever option, it is suggested that you buy your ticket 1-2 days in advance to secure your sheet.
Hanoi- Lao Cai
SP1 leaves Hanoi station at 9:10 p.m. arrives in Lao Cai at 5:25 a.m.
SP3 leaves Hanoi station at 9:50 p.m. arrives in Lao Cai at 6:15 a.m.
SP5 leaves Hanoi station at 7:40 p.m. arrives in Lao Cai at 4:22 a.m.
SP7 leaves Hanoi station at 8:35 p.m. arrives in Lao Cai at 4:55 a.m.
Lao Cai- Hanoi
SP2 leaves Lao Cai station at 20:05 p.m. arrives in Hanoi at 4:35 a.m.
SP4 leaves Lao Cai station at 20:45 p.m. arrives in Hanoi at 5:10 a.m.
SP6 leaves Lao Cai station at 6:55 p.m. arrives in Hanoi at 3:40 a.m.
SP8 leaves Lao Cai station at 7:30 p.m. arrives in Hanoi at 4:05 a.m.
As you exit the station, bus transfer ticket is available for sale. The public bus costs you 30,000 ($1.5) per person and a taxi is about 200,000 ($10). Both arrive in Sapa within the hour and the ride is one of the most photogenic in the country. To get from Sapa to Lao Cai, you can book a bus ticket from your hotel or any travel agency nearby.
Another way to get back and forth from Sapa to Hanoi is by bus. Tickets are for sale at most travel agency, though this option is not as safe as travelling by train.
If you decide that you want more adventure and confident of your motorbike skills, you can rent one and ride from Hanoi. It usually takes 8 hours to arrive so start your trip early. The road condition is generally acceptable, but the traffic is unpredictable.