Hanoi to Cat Ba Island: 5 Best Ways to Transfer

December 09, 2022 - 19564 views

Cat Ba Island, the largest archipelago in Halong Bay, welcomes a large number of tourists traveling from Hanoi. Both located in northern Vietnam, Hanoi and Cat Ba Island give ways to the convenience of transport services. For those who think of visiting these two destinations, this guideline on Hanoi to Cat Ba transfer might be valuable to plan a trip without hassle.

Set location in the southeastern Lan Ha Bay, Cat Ba Island is the largest complexity of nearly 370 islets dotted over the region of 260 km2 to the South of Halong Bay. Meanwhile, Hanoi is situated in the heart center of northern Vietnam, 170 km to the West of Halong Bay.

As an inhabited island of Hai Phong City, Cat Ba can be reached by waterways from the surroundings. Normally, you need to travel by road from Hanoi then take a ferry boat to Cat Ba Island. Otherwise, check this article out and pick one of these 5 best ways to travel from Hanoi to Cat Ba Island: by bus, private car, motorbike, train & ferry, and overnight cruise. We also refer to some local tips and itinerary suggestions for your trip.

Hanoi to Cat Ba Island

Find out the best ways to travel from Hanoi to Cat Ba

Hanoi to Cat Ba distance and travel time

The distance between Hanoi and Cat Ba Island is approximately 130 km by road and 40 km by sea. The fastest route is getting a 2-hour car ride from Hanoi city centre to Cat Hai Island via the Hanoi – Hai Phong Highway 5B and the Tan Vu – Lach Huyen sea-crossing bridge, plus a 30-minute ferry transfer to Cat Ba Island. Sometimes it might take longer depending on the traffic and ferry schedules.

In case you land at Noi Bai International Airport, the route from Hanoi airport to Cat Ba Island will take you around 2 hours 15 minutes to travel the road distance of 150 km.

Hanoi to Cat Ba, Hai Phong

First, you have to transfer on road from Hanoi to Hai Phong

Hanoi to Cat Ba distance

Then, take a ferry from Hai Phong to Cat Ba

How to get from Hanoi to Cat Ba Island

As mentioned above, there are 5 common ways of getting to Cat Ba from Hanoi, consisting of the tourist bus, private car, motorbike, train & ferry, and overnight cruise. It is time to weigh up the pros and cons of each way, as well as the price and what to expect, all for your better choice.

Hanoi to Cat Ba bus – The most popular means of transportation

The tourist bus, also known as the shuttle bus, is a preferred kind of transport that is appropriate for a majority of travellers.

  • Duration: 3.5 hours
  • Bus fare: 13 – 18 USD/ one way/ person

Hanoi to Cat Ba bus

Bus from Hanoi to Cat Ba

There are several types of Hanoi – Cat Ba bus running daily from the bus office in Hanoi Old Quarter to its representative office in the center of Cat Ba. You can opt for a 45-seat bus, a 25 – 32-seat minibus, or a luxury limousine bus well-equipped with a wifi connection, LCD screen, USB plug, air conditioning, and other modern facilities.

Up to date, there are 4 Hanoi to Cat Ba bus brands providing shuttle transfer and free pick-up/ drop-off. You can either book online with a bus operator or contact a travel agent to make a reservation.

Let’s take a glance at the bus schedules and prices for one-way transfers. Note that the schedule can be changed due to season, the outbreak, or other exterior factors.

Bus company

Hanoi to Cat Ba schedule

Cat Ba to Hanoi schedule

Ticket price

Cat Ba Express

7:30 – 11:00

10:45 – 14:15

14:00 – 17:30

12:25 – 15:55

15:30 – 19:00

14 USD/one way

Good Morning Cat Ba

7:30 – 11:00

10:30 – 14:00

14:00 – 17:30

9:00 – 12:30

12:30 – 16:00

16:00 – 19:30

13 – 18 USD/one way

Cat Ba Discovery

8:00 – 11:30

14:00 – 17:30

8:30 – 12:00

12:30 – 16:00

15:30 – 19:00

14 USD/one way

Hoang Long Bus

8:00 – 11:30

10:00 – 13:30

13:30 – 17:00

9:00 – 12:30

12:30 – 16:00

16:00 – 19:30

16 USD/one way

Notes: Price could be changed due to toll fees or petrol price without prior notice.

What captures your attention to the shuttle bus?

  • Affordable, time-saving, and direct transfer
  • Comfortable with well-equipped facilities and good services
  • Suitable for solo travellers, backpackers, and couples


Hanoi to Cat Ba private car – The most comfortable way of transfer

For those in search of a private transfer to Cat Ba, a rental car from Hanoi meets the need for privacy and flexibility.

  • Duration: 2 hour
  • Cost: 125 – 150 USD/ trip

Hanoi to Cat Ba private car

Rental car to Cat Ba from Hanoi

The private car from Hanoi to Cat Ba is the fastest and most enjoyable way, also makes it easy to customize your travel itinerary. The cost of car rental varies from 125 USD to 150 USD, depending on the car types and the length of renting day. It has already included fuel, highway toll, parking fee, car fee on the Cat Hai – Cat Ba ferry, and pick-up/ drop-off. The other cost of your personal expense, tip & gratitude to drivers, and passenger ferry tickets will not be included.

Hanoi to Cat Ba private car type

Price range

4-seat vehicle

145 USD

7-seat vehicle

155 USD

12-seat vehicle

170 USD

(The price is equal to Cat Ba to Hanoi route and could be changed due to petrol price)

Why should you decide on a private car?

  • High privacy and convenience for your trip
  • Easy-to-manage and flexible itinerary
  • New vehicles with enthusiastic and professional drivers
  • Best for families with kids or groups of 3 – 10 people


Hanoi to Cat Ba motorbike – The most adventurous experience

Everyone seeking a venturesome journey on two wheels can consider a motorbike ride, familiarly known as “Phuot” among Vietnamese youngsters.

  • Duration: 3.5 – 4 hours
  • Rental fee: 8 USD/ bike/ day

Hanoi to Cat Ba motorbike

Travel on two wheels from Hanoi to Cat Ba

From Hanoi, you can rent a bike at numerous motorbike centres such as Motogo, Nguyen Tu Motor, and BonBon Motorbike with the cost of 6 – 8 USD per day. You have to pay an extra fee of fuel and motorbike ferry cost of 2 USD/one way.

As it is all about your proactivity, you can choose one out of the two following routes to Cat Ba from Hanoi.

Route 1: Hanoi – Hai Phong – Cat Hai – Cat Ba

Following the National Road No.5 and Tan Vu – Lach Huyen sea-crossing bridge, you have to travel a distance of 135 km from Hanoi center to Got Port in 3.5 hours. From here, you have to catch a ferry to Cai Vieng Terminal, Cat Ba Island in 30 minutes. Upon arrival, it is essential to ride to the town centre in 30 – 40 minutes.

Route 2: Hanoi – Halong – Tuan Chau – Cat Ba

Another route for Hanoi – Cat Ba motorbike is travelling 145 km across the National Road No.5 and No.18 to Halong Bay in 3.5 hours. As soon as you reach Tuan Chau Ferry Terminal, you can catch a boat or a hydrofoil to Gia Luan Terminal in Cat Ba. At final, you need to finish a 30-minute ride from the port to the town centre.

You may refer to Cat Ba Island Ferry: Schedule & Price 2021


What makes the motorbike ride worth-experiencing?

  • A proactive and low-cost way to travel
  • Great chances for nature lovers to sightsee on the way
  • Ideal for backpackers and those who seek a truly mesmerizing adventure


Hanoi to Cat Ba train – The most like-a-local way to travel

With a view to getting closer to the Vietnamese local, a train journey from Hanoi to Cat Ba is the cheapest and most authentic way that every adventurer is seeking for.

  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Train ticket: 5 – 10 USD/ one way/ person

Hanoi to Cat Ba train

Inside the train from Hanoi to Hai Phong

In this way, you have to take a joint journey by train from Hanoi to Hai Phong, taxi from Hai Phong City to ferry terminal, and ferry/speedboat to Cat Ba Island. Let’s get into details of the 3 steps to follow.

Step 1: Hanoi to Hai Phong by train

The railway distance is 102 km, which takes you 2.5 hours to transfer with both hard seats and soft ones available. There are 3 – 4 daily trains leaving from Long Bien Station, Hanoi to Hai Phong Station, Hai Phong City.

Train route

Train No

Train schedule


Hanoi to Hai Phong train


6:00 – 8:25

2h 25m


9:20 – 12:00

2h 40m


15:20 – 18:00

2h 40m


18:15 – 20:55

2h 40m

Hai Phong to Hanoi train


6:05 – 8:40

2h 35m


8:55 – 11:30

2h 35m


15:00 – 17:35

2h 35m


18:45 – 21:10

2h 25m


Step 2: Hai Phong to ferry terminal by taxi

Upon arrival at Hai Phong Railway Station, tourists need to take a cab to Got Port or Dinh Vu Ferry Terminal, two departure points of ferry boat from Hai Phong to Cat Ba. The route takes 45 minutes and costs about 22 USD for a distance of 30 km.

In case of saving taxi cost, you can transfer to Pha Binh Terminal, only 4 km from the railway station. However, this way takes a longer ferry and not recommended for those with seasickness.

Step 3: Ferry to Cat Ba Island

Depending on the route you choose, it takes around 0.5 – 1 hour to get to the Cat Ba ferry terminal. The ticket prices range from 3 USD/ ferry to 12 USD/ speedboat.

What to know about the train from Hanoi to Cat Ba?

  • Cheapest and safest means of transportation
  • A unique experience to enjoy scenic views and laid-back moments
  • Ideal for budget and solo travelers


Cat Ba Island cruise from Hanoi – The most luxurious way to travel

Do you want a perfectly different way to travel from Hanoi to Cat Ba? A luxury Cat Ba cruise tour is the best of choice.

  • Duration: 2 – 3 days
  • Cost: 99 – 286 USD/ person

Cat Ba Island cruise from Hanoi

Cat Ba Island cruise

For the most part, a day cruise starts from 99 USD/ pax while a 2d1n cruise ranges from 160 USD to 220 USD/ pax on average. Booking a cruise package saves your budget on total expenses instead of paying separately for transportation, accommodation, meals, sightseeing, activities, etc. Most Cat Ba Island cruises from Hanoi offer a shuttle bus or limousine bus to the cruise port. There is no need to engage in various types of transfers, also no worrying about which transportation companies to opt for and where to book the service.

Why you should not miss the Cat Ba Island cruise?

  • An inclusive package tour that covers transportation
  • A deluxe staying on a cruise to explore the true beauty of Cat Ba
  • A great diversity of cruise ranges, things to do, and places to go

All things considered, shuttle bus and transportation of cruise tour from Hanoi are highly recommended thanks to a great sense of satisfaction. Nevertheless, the most suitable way is also perfected by how much you are willing to spend, who you go on a vacation with, where you would like to stay in Cat Ba, and other more.

You may also like Hanoi to Halong Bay: 6 BEST Ways to Travel


Local tips for Hanoi to Cat Ba transportation

  • Arrive at the bus departure point at least 30 minutes in advance

Before the scheduled departure time, some bus companies have to organize the transfer for passengers, such as check the booking information, arrange to the seat, and so on. Make sure you are on time and not miss the bus unexpectedly.

  • Avoid peak season if you travel by ferry to Cat Ba Island

Despite the higher frequency of ferry rides in tourist season, it is always bustling at the terminal during this time. Unless you are into the crowds, you should better avoid the domestic tourist season in Vietnam, from May to July.

  • Take a morning train from Hanoi to Hai Phong

Bear in mind that the last ferry to Cat Ba leaves at 17:00 – 18:00 daily. Meanwhile, a train ride takes you almost 3.5 hours to arrive at the terminal. Unlike the other means of transportation, there are only 2 train schedules in the morning you can take to save time. Be an early bird, otherwise, you have to wait till dawn.

  • Hunt for a combined ticket or package tour from a travel agent

Indeed, a combo always saves your time on planning and your money for transportation. However, it is necessary to think twice before you stick with a local agent. With years-long experience and a high reputation, BestPrice Travel can help you out.

Suggest Hanoi – Cat Ba Island tour itinerary

In addition to transportation, planning which places to visit in Cat Ba Island gives you the fullest experience. Here are some suggestions for a two-day itinerary from Hanoi to Cat Ba.

Day 1: Hanoi - Halong Bay - Lan Ha Bay - Dark & Light Cave

From Halong Bay, you can embark on a cruise to uncover the hidden gem of Lan Ha Bay. The excursion will take you to Dark & Light Cave, where you can choose kayaking or bamboo boat rowed by the locals. Onboard life isn't as dull as you think since the afternoon is a great time to join a sunset party, happy hour, cooking class, and other more. 

Day 2: Cat Ba National Park - Trung Trang Cave - Hanoi

Start your day with a refreshing Tai Chi session on the sun deck, then get a trek in Cat Ba National Park to discover off-the-beaten-path routes. The national park is also home to the rich biodiversity of fauna and floral. Don't forget to check-in at the largest valley in Cat Ba Island, called Trung Trang. Here, Trung Trang Cave, a historical site dating back to the Vietnamese War, is an awe-inspiring attraction to learn history and feast an eye on unique stalactites.

Apart from the above suggestion, Cat Ba Island offers plenty of places to go in Lan Ha Bay, Monkey Island, etc. To get further details, don't hesitate to contact us and come up with a better plan for transportation.

Nhung Dang

(Image source: Internet)

Questions & Answers (1)

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Hello. Is there a 2d/1n cruise that starts in Hanoi and finishes in Cat Ba? Thank you

@Tam graham:

We can drop you at Cat Ba with some surcharge (applied for cruise in Lan Ha Bay area).

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