How to travel from Hanoi to Lai Chau

Lai Chau Province is the Northwest of Vietnam. The provincial capital city is Lai Chau City, 420km from Hanoi via Route 32, 120km from Lao Cai City and 80km from Sapa, 220km from Dien Bien Phu City.

 Most of Lai Chau is not much visited by the travelers. Some tourists would only make day trips to Tam Duong from Sapa and some adventurous travelers stop over at Phong Tho or Than Uyen taking the North-West of Vietnam Loop. Some other young travelers would go mountain climbing in Lai Chau. Below you can find out the means of transportation available between Hanoi and Lai Chau.

By private car: the road trip by private car is the most convenient way to travel from Hanoi to Lai Chau. The road is in good conditions and the scenery on the way is spectacular. If you take Route 32 from Hanoi, then you’ll be passing several tourist attractions on the way: Muong Lo Valley, Tu Le Valley, Cao Pha Valley, Khau Pha Pass and Mu Cang Chai.

Else, you can take the new highway from Hanoi to Lao Cai where you climb the gradients into Sapa, passing through the sublime O Quy Ho Pass and descend the pass into Lai Chau. The road conditions are good and the last leg of scenery from Lao Cai to Sap and Tu Lai Chau has wonderful landscape. A trip by private car takes 8-10 hours.

By local bus: There are several local buses from Hanoi to Lai Chau from the bus stations: My Dinh, Gia Lam, Road Intersection at Noi Bai Airport. The ticket cost is approximately 300.000VN /one-way ticket. All buses have air-conditioning nowadays. A bus trip should take about 8-10 hours to get to Lai Chau from Hanoi. It may not be convenient as most buses depart Hanoi in the evening and arrive at Lai Chau early in the morning the next day.

By overnight train: You can take a 9-hour train journey from Hanoi to Lao Cai where there are several buses depart for Lai Chau which should take 3-4 more hours.

By motorbike: You can travel via Route 32 from Hanoi through Nghia Lo, Tu Le, Mu Cang Chai, Than Uyen, Lai Chau. It’d be good to stay overnight either at Tu Le or Mu Cang Chai then continue the trip the next day.

By bicycle: Route 32 is scenic and good enough for biking. There are some steep gradients at Thu Cuc and Khau Pha Pass that you may like to ride with good caution. It is necessary to make several overnight stops on the way before reaching Lai Chau.