Officially opened to the public in September last year, Vietnam’s longest Noi Bai - Lao Cai highway shortens travel time from Hanoi to Sapa in half, from the previous 9 hours to only 4.5 hours, making it an easier visit.
The northwest region of Vietnam has been popular with adventurous trekkers and those who wish to interact with nature and hill tribes people. The mountainous town of Sapa especially offers epic scenery along with exotic minority cultures that make it a not-to-miss destination. Before the highway was constructed, the only way to reach Sapa is either catch the overnight train or bus, which is not advised due to the bumpy road condition and unsafe factors. If taking the train, western travelers find it torturous to sleep on small bunks while their luggage can barely get through the narrow passage. The train usually leaves in the evening and arrives in the early morning at 6:00, meaning travelers need to wait until noon to check into their hotel.
A few gas stations and a rest area are available along the way.
With the operation of the new highway, traveling to Sapa is no longer a nightmare, if not exaggerated. Private transfer is highly recommended - in addition to shorter travel time as 4.5 hours, the drive will be safer and much more comfortable with the most flexibility that train and bus can’t offer. Another best thing is, when traveling in the daytime, you can enjoy beautiful roadside views along the way: rice paddies, village houses, red river, misty mountains, etc..
The roadside views offer both natural scenery and country living.
"The trip was wonderful, compared with a bumpy overnight train ride, which travelers technically cannot sleep well and suffer from loud noises," Odynovo Sales Manager Wanda Tang, who just experienced the drive to Sapa, shared her comment. "We are informing our customers about this good news and are happy to arrange a comfortable car drive for them. It’s much more cost-efficient."