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
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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”
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
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
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
|Type of bus
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
|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.
A good option for those who take a bus from Hanoi to Cat Ba
|Type of bus
|Hanoi – Halong
From Hanoi : 7am,10:30am, 2pm
From Halong : 9.30am, 12.30am, 3.30pm
|2 hours and 45 minutes
|Shuttle bus (21 seats)
Another options to take a bus from Hanoi to Cat Ba
|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
|Univer Noble and Samco (45 and 27 seats)
Please on this link here to book a ticket. Please note that there is sometimes issues when booking the ticket.
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
Alternatively, you can also book through these platforms
Pro Tips for booking a tourist-friendly bus from Hanoi to Cat Ba
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)
|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
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)
What to see along the way from Hanoi to Cat Ba island
You will be paying extra if you would like to combine sightseeing spots as mentioned above.
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
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.
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
I would like to suggest two options as followings
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)
Day 1 would be the same itinerary as the first option .
Day 2 : Cat Ba trekking and sightseeing tour
Read more : Lan Ha bay one day itinerary from Hanoi
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