How to get from Hanoi to Cat Ba : The complete guide

Hanoi to Cat Ba transfer guide

Cat Ba island is a lovely island for those who like adventure travel and off the beaten track to be away from the overrated Halong Bay. 

This Hanoi to Cat Ba transfer guide is everything you need to know about travelling from Hanoi to Cat Ba island. Hanoi Eco Tour provide you with ways  ways to get from Hanoi to Cat Ba island using private car, bus, local taxi, shuttle bus, local bus, motorbike and more, suggested by David, a local expert

About Cat Ba island

Cat Ba island is one of the top 5 travel destinations in Northern Vietnam for adventure travellers, way less touristy than Halong Bay. The towering limestone cliffs are pretty much the same but lots of private tiny white sand beaches, and hidden lagoons.

There are various travel activities to choose from : kayaking, swimming, deep solo water, sightseeing, trekking, island visit, cycling and more.

Cat Ba island is recognized as a Unesco site since 2014 for according to the criteria of biodiversity and ecosystem and the “Pearl Island” 

Frequently asked questions about Hanoi to Cat Ba Transfer

How long does it take from Hanoi to Cat Ba island? – Distance and travel period
The distance from Hanoi Old Quarter to Cat Ba island is 160 kilometers or 100 miles three and a half hours including 10 minutes coffee break along the way via the new Expressway and half an hour ferry crossing with the private car option or 10 minutes via speed boat. 

How many piers for taking the cruise in Lan Ha Bay?

There are two piers for taking cruises in Lan Ha Bay : Got pier, which is popular for big overnight cruises which travel in different routes in Lan Ha Bay

Cat Ba island pier for small boutique overnight cruises  and day boat tours who travel in the heart of Lan Ha bay 

Is day trip to Cat Ba from Hanoi worth it?

I recommend taking 7-hour private day cruise in Lan Ha bay plus Canon fort hiking which includes more  activities as two days one-night cruise including  kayaking, swimming hiking and more.

Is there any option as an alternative for Lan Ha bay?

Taking a cruise from Bai Tu Long Bay from Van Don is an unique cruising route  with very few tourists , especially during the summertime from the Middle of May to the Middle of August. 

Read more : Non Touristy Bai Tu Long Bay from Hanoi

How long does it takes from Cat Ba island to Noi Bai airport?

Two and three half-hour drive including half an hour ferry crossing at Got Pier to get to Cat Ba island

How to get from Hanoi to Cat Ba islands : Transports, Advices and Tips

I can spit into 2 options

Option 1 : For those who take Cat Ba island day trip from Cat Ba  (a private car will be the best option for you since you can stay longer on the bay 6 to 7 hours instead of 4 hours (if you are taking the bus options) 

For those who spend  the night a night on Lan Ha Bay cruise, I recommend booking the transfer directly with the cruise or with a tourist-friendly bus : Daichi, Cat Ba Express, Good Morning  

For those who are independent travelers who just want to stay in Cat Ba, if you are solo travellers, couples or groups of friends, a tourist-friendly bus works for you. 

The cost for 7 people taking a bus will be equal to the price of an SUV from Hanoi to Cat Ba island

 If you want to take a private transfer from Hanoi to Cat Ba , you can book through a hotel or travel agent in Hanoi or with Hanoi Eco Tour via WhatsApp: +84.974.313.104

Hanoi to Cat Ba bus (Tourist friendly option)

There is no better choice than taking a shuttle bus from Hanoi to Cat Ba island with tourist bus companies who offer pick up from your hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter and drop off in Cat Ba island. 

There are 3 companies to choose from Cat Ba Express, Good Morning and Daiichi Travel. Among them, Cat Ba Express seems like the best option if I have to choose. 

Cat Ba Express

They use 29-seaters bus (including driver) which is good quality 

Route Departure time  Transfer time  Ticket fare Type of bus 
Hanoi–Cat Ba 

From Hanoi : 7.45am, 10.45am, 2.00pm

From Cat Ba: 9.30am, 12.30am, 3.30pm, 5.00pm 

3 hours and 15 minutes

(Exclude 30 minutes pick up

$13/pax Bus (29 seats)

Itinerary from Hanoi to Cat Ba by bus with Cat Ba express
Hotel pick-up in Hanoi Old Quarter. Otherwise, or getting to their office 10 minutes before the departure time (Their office is at 106 Tran Nhat Duat street) 
Travel via the Freeway 5B to Got pier (2 hours including 15-minute break)
Travel to Cai Vieng from Got pier by SPEEDBOAT (not ferry) (8 minutes)
Travel to Cat Ba Town from Cat Vieng by bus (Half an hour). Drop off at their office in the Center of town.

If your hotel is on the way to Cat Ba town or at the national park, they also offer dropping off. 

Good Morning

A good option for those who take a bus from Hanoi to Cat Ba 

Route  Departure time  Transfer time  Ticket fare Type of bus 
Hanoi – Halong

From Hanoi : 7am,10:30am, 2pm

From Halong : 9.30am, 12.30am, 3.30pm

2 hours and 45 minutes  $12/pax Shuttle bus (21 seats)


Daichi bus

Another options to take a bus from Hanoi to Cat Ba 

Route  Departure time  Transfer time  Ticket fare Type of bus 
Hanoi – Got Pier – Cat Ba

From Hanoi : 6.30am, 8am, 10.45am, 12.30pm, 13pm, 14.30pm

From Cat Ba : 7.30am, 9am, 1.30pm, 4.00pm

4 hours from Hanoi to Halong and 4 hours and 30 minutes from Halong to Hanoi 300.000VND/pax Univer Noble and Samco (45 and 27 seats)

Other transfer companies from Hanoi to Cat Ba

  • Hoang Phu (Local friendly) 
  • Cat Ba Discovery

How to book a bus ticket from Hanoi to Cat Ba

Please on this link here  to book a ticket. Please note that there is sometimes issues when booking the ticket. 

How to take local bus from Hanoi to Cat Ba

There is no direct local bus from Hanoi to Cat Ba. So you must take a bus from Gia Lam bus terminal to get to Hai Phong and take a speed boat from Ben Pier to Cat Ba. Then the bus from the speed boat pier in Cat Ba to the town which is complicated. 

So for tourists, I would recommend taking tourist-friendly bus options above.

Here are some of the local companies that offer transfer services from Hanoi to Hai Phong 

  • Hoang Phuong
  • Hoang Phu
  • Anh Huy
  • Hai Phong travel
  • Bee Pro

Alternatively, you can also book through these platforms

Pro Tips for booking a tourist-friendly bus from Hanoi to Cat Ba

  • Check directly with the bus operator about the timetable before booking. It might be changed without prior notice 
  • You may get to the destination later than the schedule due to traffic fam and dropping off people along the way
  • Double check if the bus drop you off the your hotel, their office or somewhere near the your accommodation.  
  • Take long with you Dong to pay for the best ticket, or you can easily buy it online. 
  • If you take a local transfer, you may encounter the unsafe driver like speaking on the phone, going a bit faster. Private car is an alternative. 
  • Local bus isn’t a choice for tourists who depart from the Old Quarter of Hanoni 
  • If you plan to visit Cat Ba National Park, ask the bus to drop you off at a restaurant near the park and hike the Ngu Lam peak, then take a taxi to the town (300k VND) 

Hanoi to Cat Ba  private transfer: 4 seaters, 7 seaters – SUV car, minivan

If you are in the group from 3 to 5 people, but you do not like sharing with others, private car with affordable rate is a good choice.  Please see the suggested rated for transfer service from Hanoi to Cat Ba island (All rate is American Dollar) 


Route 4 seaters car (2 people with luggage 7 seaters cars (family of four with luggage)  16-seater minivan (up to 8 people with luggage) 
Hanoi to Halong 115 125 199

Driver language skill : Basic English or No English

Pick up and drop off : Door to Door

Type of vehicles : 4 seaters car (Sedan) for 2 adults and 01 kid with luggage, 7 seaters car (maximum 4 adults and 01 kid with medium size luggage), 16 seaters minibus (maximum for 10 adults with medium size luggage) 

For booking a private transfer/car to Cat Ba island, kindly contact us via: WhatsApp: +84.974.313.104

What to see along the way from Hanoi to Cat Ba island

  • Elephant Mountain
  • Hai Phong city
  • Quang Yen village

You will be paying extra if you would like to combine sightseeing spots as mentioned above.  

Hanoi to Cat Ba motorbike 

 I only recommend this option for experienced riders  since there is a ton of travelling 

Be sure you put on a full-head helmet and a valid international driving licence

You sometimes see riders ride against your lane which is dangerous. I do not suggest driving from 4pm along the national road number 5 since there is lots of students and workers coming back home after school and work. 

Duration : 4.5 hours including coffee break and ferry crossing 

Route : From Hanoi Old Quarter,  drive pass Chuong Duong bridge, then onto old National road number 5 , then heading to Lach Huyen- Tan Vu road to Got pier. 

Check out this comprehensive map to travel on a motorbike from Hanoi Old Quarter to Got pier


Hanoi to Cat Ba by taxi/Grab

Taxi and Grab isn’t as cheap as a private car. Even Electric taxi called TaxiXanh by Vinfast is an excellent option for those who want to support a green environment. The driver of this company do speak English.

If I were you, I would hire a private car to arrange everything in advance. 

If you take a taxi, please double-check the price with everything included: toll fee, ferry crossing, etc. 

Hanoi to Hai Phong train

It takes 2 hours to get from Hanoi to Hai Phong. There are trains from Hanoi with the following timetable :6am,9.30am, 3.25pm, 6.10pm.

If I were you, I would like the 9.30am and take a Hai Phong city tour then next day, take a transfer from Hai Phong to Cat Ba and spend the night in Hai Phong 

Suggested travel itinerary from Hanoi to Cat Ba island by local experts

I would like to suggest two options as followings

Option 1 : Hanoi – Cat Ba island and Lan Ha Bay day trip from Hanoi (Only private tour option) 

Lan Ha Bay with Three Peaches beach : Kayaking, swimming and relaxing on the beach

5.00am : Pick up from your hotel and take 2 hours drive to Got Pier and half an hour ferry crossing then another half an hour drive to the town of Cat Ba

8.20 :  Arrive at  Beo pier

8.30 : Embark a traditional wooden boat, on the way cruise pass by Cai Beo floating village and witness local living. The we will get to Van Boi areafor kayaking around . our guide will give a safety instruction briefing of using a kayak 

Get back the boat, keep cruising to Three peach beac area  Have lunch on board with seafood. After lunch, you can go swimming, jumping off the boat and kayaking around if you want to. You can also get to one of the beach and hang out there.

Back to the pier around 3.30pm to 4pm. Transfer back to Hanoi (Drive + ferry crossing + Drive) 

Option 2 : Cat Ba island (trekking Ngu Lam peak at Cat Ba National park +Trung Trang Cave) and Lan Ha bay day tour

Day 1 would be the same itinerary as the first option .

Day 2 : Cat Ba trekking and sightseeing tour 

  • Hiking Ngu Lam peak (short trekking route)
  • Trung Trang cave
  • Canon fort

Private Lan ha Bay day tour from Cat ba/Hai Phong

Read more : Lan Ha bay one day itinerary from Hanoi 

Cat Ba private tours

Transfer guide from Cat Ba  to other destinations

Hai Phong to Cat Ba island transfer guide

Halong to Cat Ba island by ferry crossing 

We hope this Hanoi to Cat Ba  transport guide will help you plan your transfer from Hanoi to Cat Ba 

If you are looking for  a private transfer service from Hanoi to Cat Ba island, kindly contact us via Whatsapp at +84.974.313.104

Rate this post
Related post