SaPa to CatBa

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How to get from SaPa to CatBa?

When travelling the 370km distance from SaPa to CatBa, you have 2 options: you can take a direct bus (10.5 hours) or the train (16.5 hours, excluding transfers). Rates range between $25 and $35.

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 of the bus is that you will travel by night, so you won’t lose a day travelling.

2 ways to get from SaPa to CatBa

Transport modeDurationCostsAvailability
Bus10.5 hours580,000 VND ($24.50)Check bus tickets
Train16.5 hours805,000 VND ($34.50)Read article to book train rides

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, where you can transfer to the train going to Hai Phong. Then, take a taxi from Hai Phong railway station to the harbour and continue by ferry to CatBa Island.

TIP: Want to visit Halong Bay instead? Check out this route overview from Hanoi to Halong Bay or book a Halong Bay boat cruise incl pick-up starting from $39.

Itinerary from SaPa to CatBa

SaPa to CatBa travelroute
Bus icon

SaPa to CatBa by Bus

Duration: 10.5 hours
Cost: 580,000 VND ($24.50)

We recommend to book with Ket Doan if you travel from SaPa to CatBa. They offer free hotel pick-up from Sapa and they also receive good reviews.

You can take the night bus leaving at 20:30. 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 company that operates direct buses on this route, but we recommend to book with Ket Doan as they receive better reviews.

Bus Schedule from SaPa to CatBa

Ket Doan08:00-18:30
580,000 VND ($24.50)
Buy Your Bus Tickets

SaPa to CatBa by Train

Duration: 16.5 hours
Cost: 805,000 VND ($34.50)

Traveling from SaPa to CatBa by train includes 5 steps and takes 16.5 hours, excluding transfers. If you still prefer this option, you can see a detailed guide below. For more information, we refer to the pages from SaPa to Hanoi and Hanoi to CatBa.

Step 1: Sapa to Lao Cai by Bus/Van

Duration: 45min
Cost: 60,000 VND ($2.55)

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

Step 2: Lao Cai to Hanoi by Train

Duration: 7h 50min
Cost: 385,000 VND ($16.50)

From Lao Cai, you can take train SP2 (20:55-04:32) or SP4 (21:40-05:30) to Hanoi.

Check Available Train Tickets

Step 3: Hanoi to Hai Phong by Train

Duration: 2.5 hours
Cost: 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 journey to Hai Phong.

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 train ticket to Hai Phong till you arrive at the railway station in Hanoi. You can buy your ticket at the station instead. In case you miss the 6:00 train, you can either take a bus to Hai Phong or take train LP3 leaving at 9:28.

Check Available Train Tickets

Step 4: Hai Phong to Pha Binh Harbour by Taxi

Duration: 10min
Cost: 50,000 VND ($2.15)

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).

Step 5: Pha Binh Harbour to Cat Ba by Ferry

Duration: 45min
Cost: 240,000 VND ($10)

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 instructions on how to get there.

Our suggested schedule looks as follows:

Train Schedule

Method of transportTimeDuration
Van or public bus to Lao Cai17:30-18:1545m
Sleeper train from Lao Cai to Hanoi21:40-05:304h 50m
Train from Hanoi to Hai Phong06:00-08:252h 25m
Taxi from train station to ferry station08:30-08:4010m
Ferry from Hai Phong to Cat Ba09:00-09:4545m

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