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Trip overview from SaPa to CatBa

To make trip planning super easy and fast, we created a step-by-step guide to find the best options by bus and train from SaPa to CatBa.

To start with, use the slider to compare the different options:


How to get from SaPa to CatBa

Taking a direct bus from SaPa to CatBa is the best option if you don’t mind being on the road for more than 10 hours. The advantage is that you will travel by night, so you won’t lose a day on traveling.

When you prefer more comfort and don’t mind to switch transport a few times, you can also travel by night train from Lao Cai to Hanoi. First you have to take a van to Lao Cai from where you take the night train to Hanoi. When you arrive in the early morning in Hanoi, you can switch to the train to Hai Phong. Then, take a taxi from Hai Phong railway station to the harbour and continue by ferry to CatBa Island.

Your options at a glance

Transport modeDurationCostsAvailability
Bus9 hours566.000 VND (€22)Check bus tickets
Train16,5 hours805.000 VND (€31)Read article to book train rides

Are you a fast decision maker? Simply use the links above to book your tickets!

If you haven’t found your best transport option yet, no problem. This was just the intro. Below we share our step-by-step guide of how to get from SaPa to CatBa.


SaPa to CatBa travelroute

Bus icon

Bus from SaPa to CatBa

Duration: 9 hours
Costs: 566.000 VND (€22)

Discovery Travel is the company we recommend to book with if you travel from SaPa to CatBa. Their buses leave from Sapa center and receive very good reviews. Buses are new and come with very comfortable seats and if you are lucky their will even be wifi. Their buses leave 2 times a day: one in the morning and one in the evening.

We recommend taking the night bus leaving at 20:00. This allows you to sleep the largest part of the journey (from Sapa to the harbour) and arrive with the earliest ferry at Cat Ba island.

SaPa Grouptour is another operator who operates direct buses on this route, but we recommend to book with CatBa Discovery as they receive better reviews.

See the recommended options below:

Discovery Travel08:00-17:00
9h566.000 VND (€22)

Check Available Bus Tickets




Train from SaPa to CatBa

Duration: 16,5 hours
Costs: 805.000 VND (€31)

Below you find a brief description when you want to travel from SaPa to CatBa by train. For more detailed information we refer to the pages from SaPa to Hanoi and Hanoi to CatBa.

Step 1: Bus/Van from Sapa to Lao Cai

Duration: 45min
Costs: 60.000 VND (€2)

In SaPa you can arrange a van or take the public bus which brings you to Lao Cai train station (45min).

Step 2: Train from Lao Cai to Hanoi

Duration: 7h 50min
Costs: 385.000 VND (€15)

From Lao Cai, you can take the train from 20:55 or 21:40 to Hanoi.

Check available train tickets online

Step 3: Train from Hanoi to Hai Phong

Duration: 2,5 hours
Costs: 70.000 VND (€3)

When you arrive in the early morning in Hanoi you can switch trains to Hai Phong leaving at 6:00. With this train, you can continue your sleep in a soft seat during the 2,5-hour train ride to Hai Phong.

Check available train tickets online

Step 4: Taxi from Hai Phong to Pha Binh Harbour

Duration: 10min
Costs: 50.000 VND (€1,90)

From Hai Phong railway station, you can arrange a taxi to the ferry station (10min) and book a ticket at the port for the ferry to Cat Ba Island (45min).

Although the trains from SaPa normally run on time, it happens from time to time that the train has some delay. In case the delay is more than 30min, you will miss the connecting train at 6:00.

For this reason, we advise you to wait with buying the ticket till you arrive at the railway station in Hanoi and buy your ticket at the station. In case you miss this train, you can take a bus to Hai Phong or take train LP3, leaving at 9:17.

Step 5: Ferry from Pha Binh Harbour to Cat Ba

Duration: 45min
Costs: 240.000 VND (€9)

Hai Phong has several harbours but we recommend to take the ferry from Pha Binh harbour. This harbour is the closest to the railway station and has reliable ferries. Check the page of Hanoi to CatBa for a detailed schedule and instruction how to get there.

Our suggested schedule looks as follows:

Method of transportTimeDuration
Van or public bus to Lao Cai17:30-18:1545m
Sleeper train from Lao Cai to Hanoi21:40-05:30 4h 50m
Train from Hanoi to Hai Phong06:00-08:25 2h 25m
Taxi from train station to ferry station08:30-08:40 10m
Ferry from Hai Phong to Cat Ba09:00-09:45 45m

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