How to get from Sapa to Bac Ha by Bus

Travelling from Sapa to Bac Ha in Northern Vietnam is actually an easy experience using two minibuses. The first bus is from Sapa to Lao Cai which takes 1 hour. The second bus is from Lao Cai to Bac Ha which takes 1 hour and 45 minutes. 

If you want to experience the famous Sunday Traditional Market in Bac Ha or the Saturday Water Buffalo Market, I highly recommend staying 2 nights in Bac Ha so you see both Markets and before the bus loads of tourists start arriving after 9am on Sunday. Here is a 3 day / 2 night itinerary for Bac Ha that you can use.

If you start travelling to Bac Ha on a Friday morning it’s perfect. Keep on reading to find out how to get to Bac Ha from Sapa in Vietnam

The bus to Lao Cai


The red and yellow minibus to Lao Cai leaves Sapa from near the Stone Church (Notre Dame Cathedral).

It departs roughly every 30 minutes between the hours of 7:30am to 6pm. It costs 40,000 VND one way.

I hopped on the 8:30am bus departing from Sapa. Arrived in Lao Cai at 9:30am.

When I got closer to Lao Cai, I asked the ticket man “Bac Ha bus?” And he nodded and rang the driver to see when he was arriving. The man then said to me “10” and I was allowed to wait on the bus until it came. 

Bac Ha Temple where the bus from Lao Cai will drop you off and where you can get on the bus back to Lao Cai


This minibus came past the train station at 10am. It drove directly past the front of the train station and past the Sapa bus. It cost 90,000 VND one way to Bac Ha

I hopped in and he drove around the corner and we waited there for 30 minutes while people kept on piling the bus with parcels and food and everything haha. You just need to go with the flow and wait it out. No need to be on a timeframe when in Vietnam. Just go with it 🙂

We departed Lao Cai at 10:30am and the minibus took 1 hour and 45 minutes to get to Bac Ha. 

It stopped at random houses along the way dropping off parcels and picking up people. It was fantastic and quite the experience! 

On the way back, I used this bus on a Sunday to leave Bac Ha after the market and half the bus was full of local women dressed in their traditional clothes!  

This bus will depart from the Bac Ha Temple to Lao Cai every 30 minutes. Roughly.