Go directly from Hanoi to Cat Ba Island
Cai Beo Village, Cat Ba Island (Source: Internet)
Cat Ba Island is the home to Lan Ha Bay, the Ha Long Bay in small scale, and Cat Ba National Park, a favorite destination for many trekkers. These are the top places to visit in the North Vietnam. The only way to get to the island is by boat. If your starting point is Hanoi, the best tips when traveling to Cat Ba is to purchase the whole trip, including both bus and boat fare. First, you hop on a bus to Hai Phong City, this trip takes about 2.5 to 3 hours, followed by a minibus to Dinh Vu Port, then you will have 40 minutes on a hydrofoil to Cai Vieng harbor, take another bus and you are at Cat Ba Town. One such ticket costs around 250.000 VND; you can purchase it at Luong Yen Bus Station on the day of departure.
The ferry to Cat Ba (Source: Internet)
Hoang Long is the main operator that service Ha Noi-Cat Ba route. Their buses leave at 5.20, 7.20 and 11.20 and return from Cat Ba town at 7.15 a.m. 9.15 a.m, 1.15 p.m and 3.15 p.m from May to September. Between October and April, the bus departs in Ha Noi at 7.20 a.m and 11.20 a.m.
For the return trip, most hotels and tour operators in Cat Ba can help you book the same bus-boat-bus ticket at similar price. The buses run from 6.00 to 16.00.
Stopover at Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay (Source: Internet)
This route is suitable for those who want to include Ha Long Bay in their trip. Take a bus to Tuan Chau, and then take a 45-minute ferry to Gia Luan pier. The ticket is around 80.000 VND (100.000 VND with a motorbike). From the pier, there are two options; one is to take the bus that usually shows upon the ferry arrival; the other one is taxi. From May to September, the ferry leaves at 7.30, 9.00, 11.30, 13.30 and 15.00 and return at 9.00, 11.30, 13.00, 15.00, and 16.00.
Another option is to book a tourist boat from Ha Long City. You cannot purchase such ticket at Bai Chay Pier so the only choice is to go for a tour operator. The price ranges from $18 to $25, including the fee to enter the bay. Be sure to check the schedule carefully since the boat might stop at some spots on the way for kayaking and sightseeing. Such trip can take up to 6.5 hours.
There are several and affordable ways to reach Cat Ba Island from Hanoi. If you find any other options, please let catbaisland know by leaving comments.