How To Get From CatBa to Ninh Binh?
The best way to travel the 125km distance from CatBa to Ninh Binh is by bus. This bus journey takes 4 hours and costs $12.
We recommend booking a combined bus and ferry ticket from CatBa to Ninh Binh. You can buy a ticket from an agency or your hotel on CatBa Island or book your ticket online.
You can also book a ferry ticket to Hai Phong and arrange a bus ticket to Ninh Binh/Tam Coc from there. But this option doesn’t save you any money and doesn’t offer any benefit.
We do not advise to travel by train because it will take a full day, it is more expensive, and it includes a lot of transfers. The closest railway station from CatBa is in Hai Phong. You can reach this by taking a ferry from CatBa to Hai Phong Harbour. From this harbour, you can take a taxi to the railway station.
Unfortunately, there is no direct connection from Hai Phong to Ninh Binh. This means you first have to take a train to Hanoi and then switch trains going to Ninh Binh. This journey will take over 8 hours.
|Bus||4 hours||280,000 VND ($12)||Check bus tickets|
View itinerary from CatBa to Ninh Binh
- Cat Ba
- 4 hours
- Ninh Binh
CatBa to Ninh Binh by Bus
Duration: 4 hours
Costs: 280,000 VND ($12)
The bus brings you from the main street in CatBa to the North-East side of the island (Cai Vieng). After this 45min bus ride, you are transferred to a ferry (50min) which brings you to Benh Dinh harbor. From this harbour, a bus is waiting to bring you in about 3 hours to Ninh Binh or Tam Coc.
See our Ninh Binh destination page for why we think you should travel to Tam Coc instead of Ninh Binh.
In case you want to stay in Ninh Binh, make sure the bus company stops at Ninh Binh city! We have heard stories of bus drivers who did not stop in Ninh Binh city and argued that they were going to Ninh Binh province and not the city.
Where to book your combined bus + ferry ticket?
There are several agencies on CatBa island where you can buy a combined bus and ferry ticket.
If you want some more comfort on the bus and don’t want to take the risk that the bus is fully booked, we recommend booking your ticket online via BookAway. All of the bus companies mentioned below receive good reviews. Some of them also offer free pick-up from CatBa.
See here their schedule:
|4h||280,000 VND ($12) + free pick-up|
|Good Morning Cat Ba||09:30-14:30|
|5h||335,000 VND ($14.50) + free pick-up|
|4h 30m||290,000 VND ($12.50)|
|The Long Travel||07:30-11:30|
|220,000 VND ($9.50)|
|Cat Ba Discovery|
|4h 30m||320,000 VND ($14)|
|Cat Ba Express|
(Go To Cat Ba)
- not available -
|320,000 VND ($14) / 360,000 VND ($15.50)|
When you want to buy your ticket from a local agency, we recommend booking your tickets at Alibaba (restaurant/guest house). Bus rides booked via Mr. Ba leave at 10:00 or 12:30 and take about 5 hours to Tam Coc. Tickets cost between 200,000 – 250,000 VND ($9 – $11) at a local agency.
Tip: With Mr. Ba, you can also book a great tour on their family boat for just $12. Also, he has the cheapest motorbike rental on the island.
My favourite places to stay in Tam Coc (Ninh Binh)
Want to stay in a real Vietnamese Guesthouse? Tam Coc Family Hotel is a perfect example why you don't have to spend more than $17 for a great guesthouse.The super friendly owners will tell you the best spots to visit and will make sure you have a good start of your day with a delicious breakfast. It's a 1-minute walk from the Tam Coc river and drop-off point of the bus.
Do you prefer to stay close to the river? Tam Coc Bungalow has spacious bamboo bungalows right next to the Tam Coc river. Bungalows start from $32 and dorm rooms from $6.
What we really liked about this place is their common area. From the terrace you can watch the locals paddling back to Tam Coc town during sunset and in the evening you can play a game of pool at the open restaurant area.
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