Best Way to Get to Cat Ba Island [UPDATED]

February 15, 2023 - 3006 views

The fact that several ways to travel to Cat Ba are now available may confuse us sometimes. Let’s have a look at the ultimate guide on how to get to Cat Ba Island to find out the best.

Cat Ba is the largest of the 367 islands spanning 260 km2 that comprise the Cat Ba Archipelago, which makes up the Southeastern edge of Lan Ha Bay in Northern Vietnam. Due to its special location, scenic beauty, and a wide range of tourism spots, the island is known as a must-see place for visitors to the country. Each year, Cat Ba attracts thousands of tourists to come and spend their vacation.

Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba Island

Therefore, when it comes to transportation, some people may think the island itself is a crowded tourist place that is hard to reach. Nonetheless, thanks to the diversity and advancement in means of transport, the question of how to get to Cat Ba Island appears to be addressed. Now, it is a piece of cake on how to get to Cat Ba. You can choose among many ways of transfers, which mainly depends on where you are staying and what you expect.

Usually, for a budget vacation, going by train, or bus may fit the bills; for a more adventurous way, ride a motorbike by yourself; if seeking a completely relaxing trip, you can choose to opt for a Halong Bay cruise. Transportation is extremely diverse and flexible. Besides, two of the most popular ways are Hanoi – Hai Phong – Cat Ba and Hanoi – Ha Long – Cat Ba. These two routes allow you to catch sight of many interesting things during your trip such as magnificent mountains, charming beaches, etc., which will make your vacation more enjoyable. As the off-shore island, Cat Ba gives visitors a sense of excitement right on the way to it. Traveling, sightseeing, and entertaining on the island might be worth-a-try experiences throughout your vacation, and before that, the feeling you get on the way to Cat Ba National Park will be an unforgettable one.

How to get to Cat Ba Island from Hanoi 

It will take you 160km to travel to Cat Ba from Ha Noi. That is quite a long distance, so to get to the island from the city, you will have to divide the journey into small parts and use different means of transport for each one.

Hanoi to Cat Ba by Train and ferry/speedboat 

  • Travel route: 133 km (Hanoi - Hai Phong (122 km) and then to Cat Ba (11 km)). 
  • Duration: Generally, it will take you about 3 to 3.5 hours

Usually, when traveling on a Hanoi – Hai Phong train, you will go through Gia Lam, Hai Duong, Phu Thai, and eventually reach Hai Phong city. From Hai Phong, you can take a ferry or speedboat.

From Hanoi, many trains offer to bring you to Hai Phong. Each of them departs at a particular time, which is quite convenient and flexible. If you want to reach Hai Phong in the morning, you can choose to opt for train no.HP1, as it departs at 6 am every day. Alternatively, if you’d like to go in the afternoon, train no.LP5 may be a great idea. The train departs from Hanoi station at 5.20 pm. Besides, in the evening, there is train no.LP7 departs at 6.27 pm. On getting to Hai Phong, Cat Ba ferries/ speedboats are always available for you to take. Usually, there is one every 1 hour.

Hanoi to Hai Phong Train - How to get to Cat Ba Island

From Hanoi, you can travel to Hai Phong by train...

Cat Ba ferry - how to get to Cat Ba

...Then take a ferry route to Cat Ba Island

  • Price: About 2.6 to 4 USD per adult for a train journey and 3 to 9 USD for a speedboat/ ferry route. Also, there are discount policies for children (under 6/ from 6 to 10) and the elderly (over 60).

For Cat Ba Island ferry or speedboat tickets, it is recommended that you buy them directly at the port after reaching Hai Phong city.

If the booking work is quite strange to you, third parties are always available to help you. Usually, it is BestPrice Travel that offers to book tickets for foreign tourists. All you need to do is to contact us and enjoy your vacation.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
  • Safest and cheapest for whom are on a budget
  • Stunning sceneries from both sides of the railway 
  • A local-like experience: a train mainly serves the locals so you can talk to them.
  • Take you a long time.
  • Only a seat option on the train so you can get tired after the trip.


Hanoi to Cat Ba by bus and ferry/speedboat 

Travel route: 125km through highway 5B (Hanoi – Hai Duong – Hai Phong) by bus. After reach arriving at the city, take an 11 km ferry route.

Duration: Around 2.5 hours.

From any bus station around Ha Noi such as Yen Nghia, Gia Lam, Nuoc Ngam, etc., you can easily take a bus to Hai Phong. These buses include Anh Huy Dat Cang, O Ho, Hoang Long, Hai Au. When traveling by bus, you won't be afraid of being late because there is always one departing every 20 minutes from 5:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m every day. However, it will take you longer (about 3 hours) to arrive in Hai Phong. If you are seeking a higher standard of tourist service during the trip, you can opt for shuttle buses or limousines as they will only take you 2 to 2.5 hours. On getting to Hai Phong, Cat Ba ferries are always available to take to the island.

Hanoi to Hai Phong Bus

Bus Hanoi to Hai Phong

Cat Ba Speedboat - How to get to Cat Ba Island

Instead of a ferry, you can take a speedboat to Cat Ba Island


Vehicles Price Per pax
Local bus About 3 - 5 USD
Shuttle bus More than 15 - 30 USD
Speedboat About 9 USD
Ferry About 3 - 5 USD

Of course, the price tells what you can expect. On a local bus, you can only be provided with a seat option. Also, you will have to share space with many other people during the trip, which is quite inconvenient. Whereas, a shuttle bus or limousine will offer to pick you up at The Old Quarter and provide you with many tourist services. Before you go, just think twice and choose the one that fits the bill. Usually, the speedboat will cost about 9 USD per person. However, if you can easily get seasick, the idea seems to be unsuitable. Instead, you will have to go by ferry at a price of about 3 - 5 USD per person.

Pros and Cons 

Pros Cons
  • Traveling by bus is also a cheap way for those who are on a budget.
  • Have more options to choose such as a seat, bed, and even conditioner. 
  • A local-like experience: Talk to the locals and hear about their stories of life or a daily job.
  • To reach the bus station, you have to pay another sum for the trip.
  • Share space with many other people. Therefore, privacy may not be ensured.

book Bestprice bus

Hanoi to Cat Ba by car and ferry/speedboat

Travel route: 100 km route from Hanoi, through Hai Duong, and eventually Hai Phong.

Duration: More than 3 hours

To be more detailed, you need to spend 2 to 2.5 hours from Hanoi to Hai Phong by car and then 1 to 1.5 hours to reach Cat Ba Island on a ferry or speedboat.

Price: Usually, it will cost you at least 40 USD/person for a taxi to Hai Phong. The prices may vary according to type of car (4-room, 5-room, 7-room, and 16-room). Also, there can be some extra fees during the trip. Though these fees are not much, bring more money to avoid undesired situations.

Taxi to Cat Ba Island

Hanoi to Hai Phong Taxis

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
  • Private: Can freely talk to your friends or family without any disturbance from strangers.
  • The itinerary and schedule are up to you. 
  • A taxi will take you straight to the port, don't need to pay for other transportation.
  • Some extra fees during the trip, so it is hard to know exactly how much the trip costs you.
  • Can only offer a small number of passengers. 

book private car

Hanoi to Cat Ba by motorbike and ferry/speedboat

Travel route: 155km (Hanoi – Bac Ninh – Ha Long).

Duration: About 3 hours. 

Price: Riding a motorbike will not cost you much as all you need is a motorbike and some essential stuff. The budget is usually up to you.

Hanoi to Cat Ba

Hanoi to Cat Ba by motorbike

Pros and Cons 

Pros Cons
  • For those who are longing for a more money-saving and adventurous journey.
  • Should go with a group of friends (about 5 – 10 people) to make an unforgettable journey.
  • A chance to experience and admire many stunning sceneries on the way.
  • Don’t have to worry about how to get around the island, thus, can save a lot of money.
  • May contain some risks such as getting lost or the bike’ breaking down. 
  • Some extra fees during the journey make it hard to balance the budget.


By seaplane and cruise

Travel route: You can fly from Hanoi to Halong Bay. Then, get a Cat Ba Island Cruise.

Duration: From Hanoi, a seaplane will take you only 45 minutes to fly through many stunning sceneries.

For the cruise, you can choose among day tours, 2 or 3-day tours.

Price: Around 350 – 450 USD/one-way/person.

The price can vary according to the season, time of day, ... Likewise, you will have to pay from 90 to 900 USD/person for a cruise, which depends on which kind of tour and cruise. However, there are some tour packages and combos available for you to minimize the budget but still have a great vacation.

You can get to know more about the Halong Bay seaplane cruise tour.

Hanoi to Halong Bay seaplane - How to get to Cat Ba Island

Hanoi to Halong Bay Seaplane

Pros and Cons 

Pros Cons
  • A seaplane can be the fastest way, its tourist service is always good and professional.
  • Experience a completely private time plus get a panoramic view from above.
  • Experience a perfectly scheduled itinerary and a luxury service.
  •  The idea may be more expensive than others. 

book seaplane

How to get to Cat Ba Island from Halong Bay 

Unlike Ha Noi, Ha Long Bay is just 19.6 km to the North East of Cat Ba and considered the neighbor of this island, so it will be a big regret when seeing Ha Long bay but missing the stunning scene of Cat Ba. For those who have plans to enjoy their vacation, a short excursion to Cat Ba will be a great idea. Also, there are plenty of choices offered for you to choose:

Types Durations Schedule Prices Features
Ferry from Tuan Chau 1 - 1.5 hours 7.30 am, 9 am, 11.30 am, 1.30 pm, 3 pm $4 pp Cheapest way; share space with many other peoples, which is quite uncomfortable for those who prefer privacy
Speedboat from Bai Chay 20 - 30 minutes 7.15 am, 8.30 am, 10.30 am, 1 pm, 2.30 pm, and 4 pm $12 pp Faster & comfortable, seasick should not choose this option, as the high speed will make you tired.
Cruise day trip, 1-night, 2-night ... Daily from 8:00 AM or 12:00 $90 - $600 pp most interesting experiences, more enjoyable, best services

You can learn more about the travel route Halong Bay to Cat Ba Island.


Above are the answers to your question on how to get to Cat Ba island, you can make up your mind to choose one that fits the bill. No matter what choice you choose, in every way, you will experience the peaceful atmosphere of the sea and admire the majestic beauty of the mountain, which will give you a sense of tranquillity.

Duc Anh Tran

Image Source: Internet

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