Route overview from CatBa to Phong Nha
How to get from CatBa to Phong Nha
As far as we know, there are no direct tickets from CatBa to Phong Nha. Given the long journey, we recommend making a stop for one or more days in Hanoi or Ninh Binh/Tam Coc.
Via Tam Coc (recommended)
14,5 hours, 930.000 VND (€35,50)
Ninh Binh province is a beautiful area and has a lot to offer. That’s why we recommend staying here at least for one or a few days.
Does this not fit into your schedule? Book the earliest bus and ferry ticket to Ninh Binh and take a night train leaving between 21:00-23:00 from Ninh Binh to Dong Hoi. This way you can still spend a beautiful afternoon on a boat in the Tam Coc or Trang An river. Once you arrive in Dong Hoi you can take a bus to Phong Nha. Read more about it below.
We do not recommend to continue by bus because you cannot buy your bus ticket from Ninh Binh to Phong Nha online. If you prefer to take the bus, you should call a local agency in Ninh Binh to reserve your ticket. On your own risk of course.
14 hours, 710.000 VND (€27)
Book a combined bus and ferry ticket to Hanoi and continue by train or bus to Phong Nha. We recommend taking the bus from Hanoi because the bus brings you directly to Phong Nha. When you take the train, you first have to go to Dong Hoi and take a bus or taxi from there to Phong Nha.
Option 1: Via Tam Coc
Route: Cat Ba Tam Coc Dong Hoi Phong Nha
Duration: 14,5 hours
Costs: 930.000 VND (€35,50)
We recommend booking a combined bus and ferry ticket to Ninh Binh on CatBa Island. Even better, book the ticket with earliest departure time, so you can still spend your afternoon in Tam Coc. After having spent your afternoon on the Tam Coc river, you can take the night train at 21:47 to Dong Hoi.
Bus & Ferry: Cat Ba Tam Coc
Duration: 5 hours
Costs: 320.000 VND (€12)
We recommend booking a combined bus and ferry ticket from CatBa and the night train to Dong Hoi. The earliest ferry leaves at 7:00 and arrives at 13:00 in Tam Coc.
Since you arrive in the early afternoon you will still be able to do a boat tour on the Tam Coc river. This boat leaves from the center of Tam Coc which is only a 1-minute walk from the drop off point. After the boat tour, you can have dinner or play pool at Tam Coc Bungalow. From the terrace, you will see the villagers paddling back from work through the Tam Coc River. Enjoy this beautiful view over the gorgeous limestone rocks, while sipping away your cocktail. And regret you cannot stay longer here…
Note: Tam Coc is a little village in Ninh Binh province and about 15min from Ninh Binh city. If you stop in Ninh Binh city, you will be further away from all the attractions. In Ninh Binh city is not much to do. Conclusion: If you decide to spend your afternoon at one of these two places, make sure it is Tam Coc.
Visit the page from CatBa to Ninh Binh for more information on this route.
Train: Ninh Binh Dong Hoi
Duration: 8,5 hours
Costs: 550.000 VND (€21)
After you had dinner in Tam Coc, you can take a taxi which will bring you in 10min to Ninh Binh railway station.
There are two night trains leaving to Dong Hoi every day. We recommend booking the SE19 which leaves at 22:25 from Ninh Binh.
See the page of Ninh Binh to Phong Nha for more details.
Bus: Dong Hoi Phong Nha
Duration: 1-1,5 hours
Costs: 60.000 VND (€2)
The bus from Dong Hoi to Phong Nha leaves at 7:10 from the bus station. This is a 15min walk or a short taxi ride from Dong Hoi railway station. You can also take a taxi from the railway station to Phong Nha for 400.000 to 500.000 VND (€15-€19).
See the page of Dong Hoi to Phong Nha for more details.
Option 2: Via Hanoi
Route: Cat Ba Hanoi Phong Nha
Duration: 14 hours
Costs: 710.000 VND (€27)
We recommend booking your bus ticket from Hanoi to Phong Nha online. If you wait till you arrive in Hanoi, you have the risk that the bus will be fully booked. The bus will leave around 18:00-19:00 from Hanoi and will drop you between 3:00-6:00 in Phong Nha.
Bus & Ferry: Cat Ba Hanoi
Duration: 4 hours
Costs: 360.000 VND (€13,50)
We recommend booking a combined bus and ferry ticket with departure in the morning.
CatBa Express morning bus leaves at 9:00 from CatBa and arrives at 12:30 in Hanoi. Later options are also available, but if there is some delay you might miss your bus or train. Keep in mind that is not uncommon that ferries in Asia are delayed or get canceled because of the rough ocean. This sometimes gets worse during the day.
Visit CatBa to Hanoi for more information.
Bus: Hanoi Phong Nha
Duration: 10 hours
Costs: 350.000 VND (€13,50)
When you book your bus tickets from Hanoi to Phong Nha online, you can choose between ‘Queen Cafe’ and ‘Hung Long’. These buses leave between 18:00 and 18:30.
Visit Hanoi to Phong Nha for more tips on this route.
Option 3: Plane
The closest airport to CatBa is Hai Phong, but there are no direct flights to Phong Nha. The only option you have is to take an indirect flight from Hai Phong to Dong Hoi. The cheapest flight will still cost you 2.392.885 VND (€89) and it would be a shame if you miss this flight when the ferry is delayed.
If you really want to fly it is better to fly from Hanoi. Visit the page from Hanoi to Phong Nha for more information.
My favourite places to stay in Phong Nha
Thanks to the great hospitality of the family, this homestay will feel like your home. After a day of trekking you can take a dive in the pool or sit back and relax with a Netflix movie. The homestay is located right in front of the bus stop in the center of Phong Nha. Rooms with mountain views already start from €19,- including an outstanding breakfast!
Bonus: Free cancellation policy till the last day!
Want a more unique experience? The interior of Phong Nha Rustic Home creates a real rustic feel which makes you feel one with nature. It's located outside the city center, but you can use their free-bicycle rental to explore the National Parks or get to the center. Rooms start from €22.
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