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Ferry boat from Haiphong to Cat Ba town

  • jmwesby

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd March, 2011
    Posts: 1

    Ferry boat (not hydrofoil) from Haiphong to Cat Ba town


    Today we took the public bus from NinhBinh to Haiphong (60,000 d – 2 ½ hours). The manager of our hoteltold us there was no 7am bus but only a 6:30 bus but that the buscould pick us up at the hotel and it would be the same price. We paidfor the ticket on the bus and this was the price posted on the signinside the bus station (we'd gone there the day before to scout forinfo). The bus picked us up at the hotel at 6:20 and then headed tothe bus station where we waited about a ½ hour before leaving NinhBinh bus station. We did see a bus leaving the station as we arrivedmaking me suspect that we were on the 7:00 bus and not the 6:30 bus.In Haiphong the last stop was the bus station about 3km from theferry. It took us about 45 min to walk the distance and it was quiteeasy to find our way after having looked on Google maps for thedirections (both the bus and ferry stations are marked in Googlemaps).
    When we arrived at the ferry station(just past the ferry station to a nearby island) we were immediatelyset upon by two women selling tickets to Cat Ba. They gave us lots ofinformation taking us several times to look at a map on the wall ofthe waiting area. They told us there no longer was a 2 ½ hour–80,000 boat that our guide book had described and that the ticketsellers just in front of the ferry station were selling tickets toCat Hai island where we would need to get another ferry to Cat Baisland that would drop us an hour away from Cat Ba town. They madethis scenario sound quite risky as there might not be a bus to takeus to Cat Ba town and maybe not even a boat leaving Cat Hai. The boatto Cat Hai they said would leave at 12:10 and a direct boat to Cat Baisland would leave at 12:30. They made it impossible to talk to theactual ticket sellers as when we tried they kept intervening. Eventhough we knew we were being scammed into buying a tourist ticket weeventually gave in and paid the 200,000 per person price for a pieceof paper that was not an official ticket. However, we kept an eye onthem as we waited for the ferry and became even more sure that theywere running some kind of scam. I wandered up the street and aroundthe corner and one of them followed me, clearly displeased that I waspoking around. I found a sign for a ticket office but they refused totalk to me with the woman standing there. I gave up and returned towait for the ferry. Later some tourists arrived with the guy fromthat ticket office and I found out that they had paid 150,000 for aticket from him. At around 12:15 all the Vietnamese who had beenwaiting in the waiting rooms went to get on the ferry (there was no12:10 boat that I saw). The woman who sold us and the majority of thetourists tickets tried to keep us from getting on the boat witheveryone else. We ignored her and got on. I really don't know why shedid that. When we showed someone our “ticket” to check we weregetting on a boat that would take us to Cat Ba we were asked to writeour names and nationalities on a piece of paper. I don't know if allthe tourists were asked to do that. We were shown to the bow whichwas a great place to sit though quite windy and chilly. After theboat left the dock, someone came around selling real tickets topeople who didn't yet have tickets. No one ever checked to see if wehad a ticket or not. Our boat did stop at Cat Hai island (droppingoff most passengers) and then continued right on to Cat Ba town.Sooo.... my advice to anyone planning to take this route to Cat Batown is stay firm and don't buy a ticket from the persistent roamingticket sellers. I suspect it would work out fine to wait in thewaiting room and just follow the crowd onto the boat and buy a ticketon the boat. The ticket should be 80,000. If there's any problem withthat, somewhere between 80,00 and 150,000 is the next best price.

    #1 Posted: 22/3/2011 - 17:50

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  • destroyinga-
    ngel

    Joined Travelfish
    5th January, 2011
    Posts: 15

    jmwesby,

    Thanks for the heads up! One of us is 6'5" and can glower when necessary; I'm hoping this will be enough to get most of the scammers to leave us alone . . . maybe not . . .

    Teddy

    #2 Posted: 24/3/2011 - 05:00

  • daawgon

    Joined Travelfish
    17th April, 2007
    Posts: 936
    Total reviews: 2

    I believe that I was scammed by the same 2 women in Haiphong last year, but by confronting them, I managed to get most of the money back! Hope you like Cat Ba Town better than I did - I thought it to be a real dump. Absolutely nothing to buy in that town, and damn few decent places to eat.

    #3 Posted: 26/3/2011 - 08:31

  • daawgon

    Joined Travelfish
    17th April, 2007
    Posts: 936
    Total reviews: 2

    I believe that I was scammed by the same 2 women in Haiphong last year, but by confronting them, I managed to get most of the money back! Hope you like Cat Ba Town better than I did - I thought it to be a real dump. Absolutely nothing to buy in that town, and damn few decent places to eat.

    #4 Posted: 26/3/2011 - 08:38

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