Travelers who set out for Vietnam travel frequently arrive at picturesque locations that are each packed with interesting opportunities. Cat Ba Island, which is tucked away in Hai Phong's picturesque surroundings, is one of these treasures. This guide reveals the most efficient ways to travel from Hanoi to Cat Ba, turning your travel fantasies into reality.
1. Distance and travel time from Hanoi to Cat Ba
The Hanoi to Cat Ba distance is a mere 131 kilometers, a distance that can be covered in approximately 1 hour and 55 minutes. Alternatively, if you are landing at Hanoi International Airport (HAN), the journey spans 149 kilometers and takes about 2 hours and 4 minutes.
>>> Explore things to do in Hai Phong, top places to go, dishes to try, and more!
2. How to get to Cat Ba Island from Hanoi?
2.1. Hanoi to Cat Ba by train
If an authentic adventure appeals to you, take the train from Hanoi to Cat Ba. This choice is not only affordable but also provides a distinctive experience. As you travel through Vietnam's beautiful landscapes, immerse yourself in the local culture and take in the natural beauty.
- Duration: Approximately 4 hours
- Train Ticket: 5–10 USD (one way, per person)
The journey encompasses three steps:
- Step 1: Hanoi to Hai Phong by train
Your adventure begins as you board a train at the historic Long Bien Station in Hanoi. This classic train ride covers a distance of 102 kilometers and takes around 2.5 hours. During the journey, you will have the option to choose between comfortable hard seats and soft seats, each providing a different level of relaxation.
The train schedule offers flexibility, with 3–4 daily departures bound for Hai Phong Station in Hai Phong City.
- Step 2: Hai Phong to ferry terminal by taxi
Upon arriving at the vibrant Hai Phong Railway Station, your next step is to embark on a taxi ride to Got Port or Dinh Vu Ferry Terminal. The ferry boats that travel to Cat Ba Island leave from these terminals. It is possible to get a glimpse of everyday life in the neighborhood and the busy city during the taxi ride.
The taxi ride should cost about 22 USD for a distance of about 30 kilometers. The alternative is to transfer to Pha Binh Terminal, which is only 4 kilometers from the train station and will save you money on taxi fares. However, this choice entails a longer ferry ride and might not be suitable for people who get seasick easily.
- Step 3: Ferry to Cat Ba Island
Your journey ends with a ferry or fast boat ride to Cat Ba Island. This leg of the trip can take up to an hour, depending on the route you take. You will be treated to breath-taking views of the nearby islands and the tranquil expanse of the sea as you sail through the crystal-clear waters.
The cost of the ferry ride varies, ranging from 3 USD for a regular ferry to 12 USD for a speedboat ride that is more rapid and thrilling. Regardless of your decision, the excitement of reaching Cat Ba Island will make the sea voyage a memorable part of your adventure.
2.2. Hanoi to Cat Ba by bus
The tourist bus, also referred to as the shuttle bus, is a great choice for those looking for a relaxing and well-planned travel experience. This mode of transportation offers a variety of amenities to make your journey enjoyable, in addition to convenience.
- Duration: Approximately 3.5 hours
- Bus Fare: 13–18 USD (one way, per person)
The Hanoi to Cat Ba bus offers a selection of bus types to cater to different preferences. There is a bus option for every traveler, ranging from roomy 45-seaters to more cozy 25- to 32-seaters, as well as opulent limousine buses outfitted with cutting-edge amenities like Wi-Fi, LCD screens, USB plugs, and air conditioning.
Currently, this route is serviced by four reliable bus companies that offer shuttle transfers with the added convenience of free pick-up and drop-off services. You can make a reservation easily through a travel agent or a bus operator online.
- Bus Schedules and Prices (One Way):
- Cat Ba Express: Departures at 7:30, 10:45, and 14:00 | Price: 14 USD
- Good Morning Cat Ba: Departures at various times | Price: 13–18 USD
- Cat Ba Discovery: Departures at 8:00 and 14:00 | Price: 14 USD
- Hoang Long Bus: Departures at 8:00, 10:00, 13:30, and 16:00 | Price: 16 USD
2.3. Hanoi to Cat Ba by car
For those who value privacy, flexibility, and a touch of luxury, a private car rental offers an excellent mode of transport for the journey to Cat Ba Island. With the ability to customize your travel itinerary and the convenience of a private vehicle, this option is perfect for travelers who want to enjoy every aspect of their journey. Moreover, the private car option boasts a myriad of other benefits, including the assurance of new vehicles with professional drivers who are well familiar with the route and its suitability for families with children or groups of 3–10 people.
- Duration: Approximately 2 hours
- Cost: 125–150 USD (per trip)
The private car option not only provides a seamless and comfortable journey but also includes several associated costs, making it a hassle-free choice. The cost covers fuel, highway tolls, parking fees, the Cat Hai – Cat Ba ferry fee, and pick-up/drop-off services. However, keep in mind that personal expenses, tips for drivers, and passenger ferry tickets are not included in the price.
- Private car options:
- 4-seat vehicle: 145 USD
- 7-seat vehicle: 155 USD
- 12-seat vehicle: 170 USD
2.4. Hanoi to Cat Ba by motorbike
The motorbike trip from Hanoi to Cat Ba, also referred to as "Phuot" by young Vietnamese, promises an exhilarating and immersive travel experience for those with an adventurous spirit and a love of the open road.
- Duration: Approximately 3.5–4 hours
- Rental Fee: 8 USD (one bike, per day)
Renting a motorbike from reputable centers like Motogo, Nguyen Tu Motor, or BonBon Motorbike in Hanoi provides an affordable way to embark on this exciting journey. With costs ranging from 6–8 USD per day, this option allows you to explore the route at your own pace. In addition to the rental fee, budget for fuel and a 2 USD motorbike ferry cost each way.
The motorbike journey offers a sense of proactivity and adventure, and you will have two routes to choose from:
- Route 1: Hanoi – Hai Phong – Cat Hai – Cat Ba
This route takes you across National Road No. 5 and over the Tan Vu – Lach Huyen sea-crossing bridge. Covering a distance of 135 kilometers, you will traverse this route in approximately 3.5 hours. Upon reaching Got Port, catch a ferry to Cai Vieng Terminal on Cat Ba Island.
From there, a 30-minute ride will lead you to the heart of the town.
- Route 2: Hanoi – Halong – Tuan Chau – Cat Ba
Alternatively, opt for a journey of approximately 145 kilometers that takes you through National Road No. 5 and No. 18 to Halong Bay. At Tuan Chau Ferry Terminal, you can choose between a boat or a hydrofoil to reach Gia Luan Terminal on Cat Ba Island. A 30-minute ride awaits you at the terminal, leading you to the town center.
>>> Discover the common Vietnam transports to travel throughout Vietnam!
3. Useful tips for getting from Hanoi to Cat Ba Island
As you embark on your journey from Hanoi to Cat Ba Island, here are some valuable tips to enhance your travel experience:
- Arrive early for bus departures: To ensure a smooth departure, you should arrive at the bus departure point at least 30 minutes before the scheduled time. Some bus companies may need time to organize passenger transfers. Arriving early helps you settle in and avoid unexpected delays.
- Avoid peak season for ferry rides: During the peak tourist season, which spans from May to July, ferry services are more frequent but the terminals will be much busier than usual. If you prefer a more serene and relaxed experience, consider planning your journey outside of these peak months.
- Opt for morning trains for timely ferry departure: If you are taking the train to Hai Phong and intend to catch a ferry from Hanoi to Cat Ba, make sure to choose a morning train departure. The last ferry to Cat Ba typically leaves between 17:00 and 18:00 daily. Since a train ride takes approximately 3.5 hours to reach the terminal, selecting an early train departure ensures that you have ample time to complete your journey without rushing.
>>> Find out about Cat Ba weather to best plan your trip!
Beyond the journey to Cat Ba Island, Hai Phong offers a tapestry of captivating attractions waiting to be discovered. Delve into the mesmerizing Lan Ha Bay, hike up the scenic Elephant Mountain, unwind at the enchanting Do Son Beach, or venture into the depths of Trung Trang Cave and Hospital Cave. The Red Temple, Hai Phong Museum, Du Hang Pagoda, and the grand Cathedral of the Diocese of Hai Phong await your exploration, each bearing a unique story and charm that adds depth to your travel experience.
Besides the Hanoi to Cat Ba journey, it is recommended that visitors spend time in other destinations during their trip to Vietnam. It could be the bustling streets of Hanoi, the vibrant energy of Ho Chi Minh City, the sun-soaked allure of Phu Quoc, the coastal charm of Nha Trang, the historic enchantment of Hoi An, the modern splendor of Da Nang, or the iconic beauty of Ha Long.
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Get ready for a trip that will take you from the energetic streets of Hanoi to the tranquil allure of Cat Ba Island. Every mode of transportation provides a different viewpoint to take in Vietnam's breathtaking scenery. There is something special for everyone, whether you prefer the steady rhythm of a train, the ease of a shuttle bus, the independence of a private car, or the excitement of a motorcycle ride. You have all the information you need in this comprehensive guide to make sure your trip from Hanoi to Cat Ba is nothing short of extraordinary