The best way to travel the 125km distance from CatBa to Hanoi is via a combined bus and ferry ride. This option takes 3.5 hours and costs $14. You can also take the train for 4 hours, excluding transfer time.
With a combined bus and ferry ticket from CatBa to Hanoi, you will arrive in Hanoi within 4 hours. This method is the easiest, fastest and also the cheapest way to travel from CatBa Island to Hanoi.
The trip offered by local travel agent ‘Alibaba’ is fast and convenient. But if you want a more luxurious option, we recommend to book with Cat Ba Express.
If you want to travel by train, you need to travel from Hai Phong railway station to Hanoi. To reach this railway station, you first need to take a ferry to Hai Phong Harbor and then a taxi to the railway station. This is an interesting option if you want to transfer to another train after you arrive in Hanoi. If not, then you are much better off booking a combined bus ticket. Buses are often cheaper and bring you directly from CatBa to Hanoi.
You can book a combined bus and ferry ticket with Cat Ba Express. They operate new buses (as of Feb 2017) with free wi-fi and USB charger, and they receive very good reviews. The ticket includes transport to the ferry station in CatBa, the ferry to Hai Phong harbor, and the bus ride to Hanoi.
Apart from Cat Ba Express, there are other cheaper bus options: Good Morning Cat Ba, Daiichi Travel and Orient Travel. All companies offer free pick-up within Cat Ba town proper and free drop-off within Hanoi Old Quarter. You can check their schedules below.
Third, you can also ask one of the local agencies and book your ticket to Hanoi for just 200,000 VND ($9). Note that these buses take more time since they use a different harbor/ferry, and they save you very little money. Also, don’t expect the same comfort as offered by one of the previous options.
Duration: 4h excl transit time Cost: 300,000 VND ($13.50)
We advise booking a combined bus ticket from Catba to Hanoi, since this is a cheaper and more convenient option. However, if you prefer to split this journey or want to do it independently, you can also take a ferry to Hai Phong Harbor, a taxi to the train station in Hai Phong and then a train to Hanoi.
Step 1: Cat Ba to Hai Phong Harbor by Ferry
Duration: 1 hour Cost: 180,000 VND ($8)
The cost of a ferry ticket to Hai Phong will be between 150,000 VND ($6.50) and 240,000 VND ($10.50). Notice that this is almost the same price as a combined ticket to Hanoi. There are two hydrofoil speed ferries operating between CatBa and Hai Phong. These are “Cat Ba Island Resort and Spa” and “Mekong Hoang Yen”.
Another option is to travel with one of the slow ferries of “Thong Nhat 05” or “Hadeco.” The ferry companies don’t have their own offices, so you have to book the ferry tickets with a local agency. Or even better, book your ticket in advance for 180,000 VND ($8) by clicking the button below.
Step 2: Pha Binh Harbor to Hai Phong Railway Station by Taxi
Duration: 10min Cost: 50,000 VND ($2.20)
The ferry port where you will arrive depends on the ferry company you booked with. Most ferries arrive at Pha Binh Harbor which is about a 10-minute taxi drive or a 20-minute walk to the railway station in Hai Phong. A taxi ride costs around 50,000 VND ($2.20).
The lower priced ferry tickets often don’t go to Pha Binh Harbor, but drop you off at Dinh Vu Harbor. This is a shorter ferry ride and this route is often used to transfer to a bus to Hanoi or Ninh Binh. From Dinh Vu Harbor to Hai Phong railway station almost takes 1 hour, so you are better off booking a ferry ticket to Pha Binh instead.
Step 3: Hai Phong to Hanoi by Train
Duration: 2h 30min Cost: 70,000 VND ($3.10)
From Hanoi railway station to the Old Quarter, it is a 10-min taxi ride or a 20-min walk.
Looking for a room in the middle of the Old Quarter? Ancient Lane Hotel offers very clean rooms nicely decorated with ancient attributes. The hosts Thuy and Tuan will make sure you'll have a great stay!
Just landed in Hanoi? In this hotel, you will get the best night of sleep you had since ages. The friendly staff will give you a warm welcome and serve a wonderful breakfast buffet the next morning! Located in the middle of the center, but completely isolated from all the noise.
For many travellers, Halong Bay is one of the highlights of Vietnam. The stunning landscape and breathtaking views over the limestone rocks look almost unreal!
To experience Halong Bay in the best way, you can book a boat cruise departing from Hanoi. Organized tours departing from Hanoi are often cheaper than tours sold by agencies in Halong Bay and another advantage is that you don't need to organize your transport to get there.
We recommend to book your boat tour online to get the best prices and be certain that you book with a trusted company. I already spoke to many travellers who booked boat trips from a random agency on the street and were very disappointed by the service and conditions of this boat.
See here our recommendtion of well-rated boat cruises