How do I get from

Cat Ba Island to Sapa

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Sapa at a glance

High season

Sep - Nov
Place you can't miss
Fan Si Pan mountain
Local currency
VND
Good to know
Situated in northern Vietnam by the Chinese border lies Sapa (Sa Pa) and is considered Vietnam’s top destinations. Sapa is roughly a six hour trip from Hanoi but believe me, it’s worth it. The scenery is truly amazing with the surrounding mountains and colors of nature. What’s great about Sapa is that you can visit during any time of the year - the weather is very comfortable year round. If trekking floats your boat, you’ve hit the jackpot. You can walk through mountains so high into the clouds and take in the breathtaking landscapes. Along with the views, Sapa is known for it’s ethnic tribes which you’ll probably run into at the markets. Most travelers connect their trip to Sapa with a visit to Hanoi, you can easily book a private van or tourist bus to Hanoi.
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Your questions, our answers

Are there any stops during this ride?
Should I take food and water with me?
Can I take my bicycle / motorbike on board with me?
Is there a flexible cancellation policy?
What is the distance between Cat Ba Island to Sapa?
What is the cheapest transport option from Cat Ba Island and Sapa?
What is the frequency of departures per day?
Can I choose my pickup / drop-off location?
What is the luggage policy?
Can I book a ticket for the same day?
What is the most popular transportation service from Cat Ba Island to Sapa?
What is the fastest transportation service from Cat Ba Island to Sapa?
Who are the service providers on this route?

Top reviews

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Le voyage c'est bien passé,
Le voyage c'est bien passé, il y a eu des secousses, des klaxons.. Mais c'est ça le Vietnam ! L'endroit où on c'est arrêté pour manger n'était pas ouff. Sinon faut pas être trop grand pour s'allonger dans la couchette et à par ça c'est bon.

About the ride from Cat Ba Island to Sapa 

After enjoying the sleepy fishing village vibe of Cat Ba Island for a few days, all of your senses will start to rest and revive. It's no wonder that this northeast Vietnam coastal location is a real treat for travelers looking to escape and it's still remarkably well hidden from the typical tourist trail, even though it's just four hours from Hanoi. However, once you've had your fill of all that sand, sea and sunsets, it's time to make the most of the mountain scenes of Sapa in northern Vietnam. This is trekking country, close to the border with China, and if you're looking to put your head in the clouds, both literally and metaphorically, then Sapa's the region to do just that. 

The best way to get from Cat Ba Island to Sapa is by sleeper bus. There are two buses that depart from Cat Ba Island Bus Station each day. Both include a short ferry ride to get you from the island to the mainland. The earliest is at 8am and the latest, the overnight bus, is at 4pm. The distance between Cat Ba Island to Sapa is roughly 368 kilometers (228 miles). The journey takes roughly 10 hours 30 minutes and it's a really good idea to pre-book accommodation in Sapa before you arrive. The overnight bus gets you in at two in the morning and having a friendly representative from a hotel or hostel waiting for you on arrival can be a truly joyous sight after a ten hour bus ride.

Seats onboard the bus are practically horizontal so you can really get some sleep rather than uncomfortably shuffling about all night. These types of sleeper buses are built for comfort and are for travelers looking to rest rather than stay up chatting all through the ride. To guarantee a good journey's sleep, it's always a good idea to pack a sleep mask and ear plugs. The bus will be air-conditioned and blankets are also provided to ensure optimum comfort.

Water is also available on board but it's recommended that you bring your own snacks. Don't worry if you forget to bring food for the journey, though, there will also be comfort breaks and snack stops along the way where you can purchase more provisions. Note: there's no bathroom on the bus so take pit stop opportunities whenever they're offered.

 

 

What to see when traveling from Cat Ba Island to Sapa

Even if you're taking the afternoon bus from Cat Ba Island to Sapa you'll still be able to see quite a lot of north Vietnam before night fall, especially if you get a window sleeper seat. The 368 kilometer (228 mile) journey takes you past small roadside communities as well as some beautiful rural scenery. The bus also boards a ferry to reach the mainland. You can wave goodbye to the luminous green limestone islands and colorful fishing boats as you leave. 

Rest stops throughout the journey are fairly frequent and serve to stretch travelers' limbs and sate rumbling stomachs rather than anything else too cultural. There's no bathroom on board the bus so make sure you make the most of the facilities when you can. The majority of passengers will be looking to get some sleep along the way but rest stops to refuel are often a great way to meet other travelers and chat about where you've been on Cat Ba Island and what you plan to do on arrival in Sapa.

The closer you get to the outskirts of Sapa town, the more mountains become the main focus from your window. Arriving at night can be slightly disorientating as everything's dark, obviously. However, as soon as the sun begins to rise you'll be met with a mountain view that will really take your breath away. It's definitely advisable to have accommodation in Sapa booked in advance.

You might even be met by a representative on your arrival who'll be more than happy to help you with your bags and whisk you off to your new lodgings. Of course, if you're feeling lucky, you can always take a taxi or walk into town to find somewhere to stay. Just don't expect everything to be open at 2am. This is Sapa, not Hanoi, most travelers are here to hike rather than party so they'll be getting a good night's rest rather than partying the night away downtown.

 

 

What is the fastest way to get from Cat Ba Island to Sapa?

The fastest way to get to Sapa from Cat Ba Island is with a Sleeping Bus run by Ket Doan. The bus ride takes 10 hours and 30 minutes.

 

 

What is the cheapest way to get from Cat Ba Island to Sapa?

The cheapest way to get to Sapa from Cat Ba Island is with Ket Doan’s Sleeping Bus which costs just $26.

 

 

What is the most popular way to get from Cat Ba Island to Sapa?

The most popular way to get to Sapa from Cat Ba Island is the same as the fastest and cheapest way - with the Sleeping Bus run by Ket Doan. It takes ten and a half hours to arrive and costs $26.

 

 

How to get from Cat Ba Island to Sapa

Taking a bus to Sapa from Cat Ba Island

The bus ride, and short ferry trip, from Cat Ba Island to Sapa is a long one (10.5 hours) but the good news is that the bus is fully equipped with sleeper seats, sporadic Wi-Fi signal, air conditioning and complimentary blankets to ensure you get to rest as you ride. Of course, it's still a good idea to take an eye mask, pillow and ear plugs just to give yourself optimum opportunities to catch some sleep. There will also be water on board as well as comfort breaks throughout the ride so you can stretch your legs, use the facilities and purchase some snacks if you haven't bought anything from Cat Ba. 

There's not a great deal of viewing space on these types of sleeper bus rides from Cat Ba Island to Sapa however, the further north you travel the more mountainous the scenery becomes. As there are two departure times, morning and afternoon, you can choose when you arrive in Sapa. Some travelers prefer to make the journey in the dark so as to get the best chance of sleep, others prefer to arrive in the afternoon and then look for accommodation.

Booking a place to stay in Sapa is always a good idea, especially if you're arriving in the small hours of the morning. Although, if you fancy taking your chances with the local cab operators and hostel representatives then it's entirely up to you to choose your own adventure. 

 

 

Bus stations that take you from Cat Ba Island to Sapa: 

Departing from:

  • Cat Ba Island Bus Station

 

 

Arriving at:

  • Ket Doan Office, Sapa

 

 

Which operators can I book with for a bus ride from Cat Ba Island to Sapa?

Cat Ba Island to Sapa bus operators

  • Ket Doan

 

How many departures from Cat Ba Island to Sapa are there each day?

There are just 2 buses leaving from Cat Ba Island to Sapa each day.