CatBa to SaPa

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How to get from CatBa to SaPa

When travelling the 370 km distance from CatBa to SaPa, you have 2 options: a 10.5-hour direct bus and a 12.5-hour indirect train. Fares start from 625,000 VND ($25) and 653,00 VND ($2.60), respectively.

Transport modeDurationCostsAvailability
Bus10.5 hours625,000 VND ($25)Check bus tickets
Train12.5 hours653,000 VND ($26)Check train tickets

Taking a “direct” bus is the fastest and easiest way to get from CatBa to SaPa. This includes a short ferry ride, but it’s already included in the ticket and the tour operator takes care of your transfers. With the bus, you will be picked up and dropped off at the centre of both towns.

If 10.5 hours on a bus is too long for you, you can divide your journey into several transfers by taking the train. You’ll take a combined bus & ferry from CatBa to Hanoi, transfer to a train going to Lao Cai, and then a van or bus to SaPa. This option takes around 12.5 hours — but 8 hours of that will be on an overnight train.

PRO TIP: Consider to continue your journey to Ha Giang after visiting SaPa. Ha Giang is famous for its magnificant views on the highlands of Northern Vietnam.

Itinerary from CatBa to SaPa

CatBa to SaPa travelroute

CatBa to SaPa by Bus

Duration: 10.5 hours
Cost: 625,000 VND ($25)
Duration: 10.5 hours
Cost: 625,000 VND ($25)

There are two companies offering direct buses from CatBa to SaPa: Good Morning SaPa and Ket Doan.

Ket Doan offers the cheapest fares from 625,000 VND ($25), already with free hotel drop-off. Good Morning Cat Ba gets better reviews, though — you can expect friendly staff and comfortable buses.

Both day and night buses are available from CatBa to SaPa. When you take the day bus, you will lose an entire day on the journey. But if you take the night bus, you will arrive in the middle of the night in SaPa, so you will still need accommodation for that night.

Schedule-wise, taking the indirect train is more convenient because you will travel overnight. That is, if you don’t mind all the transfers.

Departure and arrival station

Good Morning Cat Ba offers free hotel pick-up and drops off passengers at SaPa Bus Station, 1 km east of Sapa Lake in the town centre.

Ket Doan departs from the parking lot of CatBa Night Market in the town centre. It takes you straight to your hotel’s doorstep as long as it’s within SaPa town centre.

Bus schedules from CatBa to SaPa

Bus OperatorScheduleCosts
Good Morning Cat Ba
+ free pick-up
750,000 VND ($30)
Check Bus Tickets
Ket Doan
+ free drop-off
15:30-02:00625,000 VND ($25)
Check Bus Tickets

CatBa to SaPa by Train

Duration: 12.5 hours
Cost: 653,000 VND ($26)
Duration: 12.5 hours
Cost: 653,000 VND ($26)

Travelling by train from CatBa to SaPa covers 3 steps and takes around 12.5 hours — a few hours longer than the bus.

The train offers one advantage though: the train leg from Hanoi to Lao Cai travels overnight and allows you to have a good night’s sleep as well as save a night on accommodation.

Step 1: CatBa to Hanoi

Duration: 3.5-4 hours
Cost: From 275,000 VND ($11)
Duration: 3.5-4 hours
Cost: From 275,000 VND ($11)

There are 2 ways you can travel from CatBa to Hanoi: by combined ferry & bus or via a DIY ferry + taxi + train. See below for a detailed guide.

Option 1: CatBa to Hanoi by Ferry & Bus

Duration: 3.5 hours
Cost: 283,000 VND ($11)
Duration: 3.5 hours
Cost: 283,000 VND ($11)

Taking a combined bus & ferry from CatBa to Hanoi is more convenient. Your tour operator takes care of your transfers, which depart from CatBa centre and arrive at Hanoi city centre.

Ticket prices start from 283,000 VND ($11) for the 3.5-hour bus & ferry journey.

Check Bus Tickets with BookAway

For more info, visit our page for CatBa to Hanoi.

Option 2: CatBa to Hanoi by DIY Ferry + Taxi + Train

Duration: 4 hours
Cost: 275,000 VND ($11)
Duration: 4 hours
Cost: 275,000 VND ($11)

This 2nd option involves several steps that you will have to do and plan on your own. While we don’t recommend this, it’s worth knowing these steps as an alternative if the combined bus & ferry tickets are sold out.

From CatBa Pier, you can get to the mainland by ferry to Pha Binh Harbour. There are six ferries available daily, but we recommend taking the last ferry that departs at 15:50. A ticket costs 140,000 VND ($5.50) and you can buy them online through Baolau.

From the pier, you can get to Hai Phong Railway Station via a 20-minute walk or a 10-minute taxi. Rates start from 50,000 VND ($2).

From Hai Phong, Hanoi is 2.5 hours away by train. We recommend taking the last train, LP7, which departs at 18:40. A ticket costs 85,000 VND ($3.40) on Baolau.

Step 2: Hanoi to Lao Cai by Train

Duration: 8 hours
Cost: 330,000 VND ($13)
Duration: 8 hours
Cost: 330,000 VND ($13)

Starting October 2022, Vietnam Railways is back to its nightly operations from Hanoi to Lao Cai. This route previously operated with fewer weekly departures because of the pandemic.

Train SP3 departs at 22:00 every night and arrives in Lao Cai at 05:55 the next day. Travel time is around 8 hours.

Ticket prices for a 4-berth sleeper start from 330,000 VND ($13) when you book online with Baolau.

Check Train Tickets with Baolau

More luxurious train choices are also available on BookAway, where you can book deluxe, luxury and private cabins.

Visit our Hanoi to SaPa guide for more details.

Step 3: Lao Cai to Sapa by Van or Bus

Duration: 45 minutes
Cost: 40,000 VND ($1.60)
Duration: 45 minutes
Cost: 40,000 VND ($1.60)

From Lao Cai Railway Station, you can reach SaPa via a 45-minute van or 1-hour bus. A ticket costs 40,000 VND ($1.60) and 30,000 VND ($1.20), respectively.

Vans are normally waiting for passengers just outside the train station. If you’re taking the bus, you can find them at the parking area across the railway station.


Our favourite places to stay in Sapa

D&D Eco Lodge Sapa

There's no better way to wake up than opening your curtains to a stunning view over lush rice fields. Add a delicious breakfast to that, and you'll certainly be starting the day right. A stay at D&D Eco Lodge is an experience in itself. It might even turn out to be one of your best in Vietnam? And if you're travelling as a couple, this is likely to be one of the best value deals you can find.

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Eco Palms House – Mountain Retreat

Eco Palm House offers luxury bungalows with the most incredible views. You'll never want to leave your private balcony overlooking rolling hills and endless rice fields. Maybe their infinity pool with an equally spectacular view can convince you? You're guaranteed to leave this place feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

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Little View Homestay Sapa

If you'd like to be near the centre of Sapa, Little View Homestay is a great choice. The private rooms boast a really unique design - they're covered top to bottom in pine wood. To add to the uniqueness of the place, instead of a traditional heating system, you'll have a heated blanket to keep you warm at night. The friendly owners and creative sapa style decorations will make this an extraordinary stay!

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More routes to SaPa

Hanoi to SaPa

Ninh Binh to SaPa

More routes from CatBa

CatBa to Hanoi

CatBa to Ninh Binh

CatBa to Phong Nha

Halong Bay to Hanoi

Hanoi to Halong Bay

Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh

Hanoi to Sapa

Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi

Ho Chi Minh to Hoi An

Ho Chi Minh to Phu Quoc

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