There are no air connections to Sapa, which is best reached from Hanoi by overnight trains via LAO CAI, 40km downhill to the east. A couple trains leave nightly at for the eight- or nine-hour trip, with some carriages done up in fancy wood paneling. All soft sleepers have air conditioning. Higher-priced ones have two berths, others four (from US$24 one way). Hard sleepers (about US$19 one way) aren’t as uncomfortable as they sound, but have six berths.

You can get tickets from your hotel, or at the Railway Ticket Office, on Cau May St (across from Viet Emotion tapas bar).

Minibuses leave for Lao Cai every 30 minutes or so (US$1.60; 90 minutes).

From Lao Cai, you can get on a sleeper bus to Kunming, China (US$22; 10hr), leaving at 5.30pm. Tickets are available in Sapa.

Motorbike rental is about US$5 or US$6 per day.