Halong bay is the must-see destination for any Vietnam tour. But, if you plan to make a discovery off the beaten track, I do recommend you to go to Cat Ba island, a departure point for boat trips to Lan Ha Bay. There are several options to get to Cat Ba from Hanoi, but you have to go through the city of Hai Phong, and then, depending on your time, your budget and availability of transportation, we will decide how to get there.
To go from Hanoi to Hai Phong:
You can go to Hai Phong from Hanoi via bus, car and train
Hanoi – Hai Phong by bus
Buses leave every 15 minutes from Luong Yen Bus station, 1 Nguyen Khoai. It is located 3 km from the city center. To get there, you can take a motorcycle or a taxi. Once you get there, you will see several bus with banner Hanoi – Hai Phong or Luong Yen – Tam Bac (terminus located in Hai Phong province). Prices for Ha Noi – Hai Phong are displayed in front of the bus. The buses are large and comfortable, air conditioned. The bus takes around 2,5 hour.
Ha Noi – Hai Phong by train
You can reach to Hai Phong by train and this is the best solution on the comfort level, price. There are 2 trains in the morning and 1 train afternoon.
The first: 6am, so you have to wake up early morning to go to Ha Noi train station. The train arrives at Hai Phong to 08h30am. Hanoi Railway station is 3 km from Hoan Kiem Lake. If you take the train, you can go directly to Cat Ba island by speedboat the same morning at 09h45.
The second: Departure at 08h55am from the Long Bien station. Arrive in Hai Phong at 11h40. If you take this train, you can go directly by speed boat in the afternoon at 14h15.
The third: Departure at 02h35 and arrival in Hai Phong at 17h05 from Long Bien station.
To go from Hai Phong to Cat Ba
Cat ba is an island and there is no bridge to connect Hai Phong to Cat Ba island. So, you can take the boat or ferry to get there
From Tam Bac station in Hai Phong province, you can take a taxi to Ben Binh boat station (place to find the boat to Cat Ba island).
Speedboat from Hai Phong to Cat Ba island and schedules: There are 2 boats link Hai Phong to Cat Ba.
Hoang Yen boat
Address: 1 street Ben Binh, Hai Phong
Hai Phong – Cat Ba : Depart : 09h00a.m and 01h00p.m
Cat Ba – Hai Phong : Depart : 02h00p.m and 04h00p.m
Boat of Cat Ba island resort and spa
Address: Ben Binh street, Hai Phong
Hai Phong – Cat Ba: Depart: 07h00, 09h00, 10h00, 03h00, 04h00
Cat Ba – Hai Phong: Depart: 07h00, 08h00, 10h00, 01h00, 02h00, 04h00.
Price: 250.000 VND per person (free for children under 1 year old).
If you find the options mentioned above complicated, you can choose another option, more simple and direct via the bus of Hoang Long company. In this case, you will pay once for all transfers by bus and boat, all organized by a local company specialized transport, to go directly to Cat Ba.
- Always go to the Luong Yen bus station (the only station where you find Hoang Long bus), then, you buy the ticket Hanoi – Hai Phong. It’s easy to find it because there is a banner marked Hoang Long before the bus.
- Arrival in Hai Phong, you change the bus to go to Cai Vieng boat station (40 minutes).
- Cross the Red river and the sea by boat in 30 minutes.
- Another bus (30minutes) from the coast to the center of Cat Ba island.