A motorbike trip in the S-shaped country is a spine-tingling experience that you will never forget. And if your itinerary includes marvelous islands like Cat Ba or Phu Quoc or to off-the-beaten-path destinations, grab the chance to try taking a ferry in Vietnam.
A Few Glimpses of Taking a Ferry in Vietnam
Though many ferries have been closed due to the advancement of bridges, tunnels and highways, this vehicle remains popular in Vietnam as a cheap and familiar means of transport. In most cases, a ferry is the only means of transportation of get to Vietnam’s famous islands, and in addition to that, ferries are more common to motorbike roadtrips as national highways are restricted to four-wheel vehicles only. Here is some information about taking a ferry in Vietnam you should note down:
Types of Ferries in Vietnam
a. Speed Ferry: commonly used for long-distance travel such as trips from mainlands to Vietnam’s famous islands like Con Dao or Phu Quoc or from neighboring countries (Cambodia) to Vietnam through the Mekong river. The journey can take around 2 hours or even travel through the night.
- Usage: Travel long distances, carry tourists and their vehicles.
- Facilities: Comfortable seating area with air conditioning and a separate area to park cars, motorbikes, or bicycles.
- Ticket: You have to buy tickets for both your seat and your vehicle, and ticket fees vary depending on the distance and how modern the ferry is. Tickets usually cost higher as speed ferries are mostly private-owned.
b. Normal Ferry:
- Usage: Travel short distances, usually between provinces or districts and one trip should take around 30 minutes
- Facilities: No air conditioning, the size is smaller than the modern high-speed ones and passengers sit on their vehicles while onboard, but there are also spots for walking passengers
- Ticket: You only buy one ticket for yourself and your vehicle, and the price is much lower than high-speed ferries thanks to government subsidization
From the ferry, you will have a mesmerizing view of canoes, boats, and ships gliding on the water
…or the mesmerizing sunset which can calm your busy mind
Popular Ferries in Vietnam
Though Vietnam has many docks scattered throughout its land, the South is where most ferries gather since this region has a spider-webbing network of rivers and channels.
Got Ferry in the North gains a strong reputation for carrying travelers from Hai Phong City to the stunning Cat Ba Island
Ticket price: VND 45,000/each
Travel time: 20 – 30 minutes
Thanh Thoi Ferry brings you from Ha Tien to the idyllic Phu Quoc Island
Ticket price: VND 80,000/motorbike | VND 185,000/person
Travel time: 2 hours and 50 minutes
Phu Quoc is among the top famous destinations in Vietnam so ferries and speedboats for getting to the island are abundant. Many options cost slightly higher than Thanh Thoi Ferry but can take you to Phu Quoc much faster with better facilities.
Cat Lai Ferry connects District 2 in Ho Chi Minh and Dong Nai Province
Travel time: 20 minutes
Traveling through Cat Lai Ferry is a common route for a road trip from Ho Chi Minh to Vung Tau – a beach city near Ho Chi Minh
Other than that, you can also take a speedboat to travel directly from Ho Chi Minh to Vung Tau. See our detailed guide for Taking Speedboats to Vung Tau.
Binh Khanh Ferry travels from Ho Chi Minh to Can Gio District, and its dock lies next to Soai Rap River
Ticket price: VND 5,000
Travel time: 20 minutes
Check out Can Gio Travel Guide
Places to Buy Tickets When Taking a Ferry in Vietnam
As for regular ferries traveling short distances, you can buy tickets on the spot. You will find lines of motorbikes and cars waiting to buy tickets on arriving at the ferries. Ticket officers will be at the gate to sell tickets costing around VND 5,000/each, so we’d recommend preparing some changes (notes under VND 10,000). Then you’ll have to wait around 5 minutes for the ferry to reach the dock. Tickets are mostly one-way only.
For high-speed ferries that travel long distances, you may want to book the tickets to make sure there are tickets available and secure a comfortable seat. Your motorbike will be stored in a different part of the ferry, separated from the seating area.
Make an online reservation for your ferry seat below:
Tips for Taking a Ferry in Vietnam
Before Going on Board
- Some ferries (e.g. Thanh Thoi Ferry in Phu Quoc) require your identification papers (passports or driving licenses)
- The timetable might change depending on the weather.
- Many street vendors walk around and invite you to buy their items, but keep in mind that food hygiene is not guaranteed.
- Be careful of the ferry’s closing time. Most ferries will close around 8 PM.
Motorbikes lining up before boarding
- Park your bike near the window for a nice view
- Be careful with pickpockets as there are many strangers sitting or parking next to you
There are different lanes for cars and motorbikes, but when it is too crowded, motorbikes may be crammed into the car’s or passenger’s lane
Conclusion on Taking a Ferry in Vietnam
In recent years, the use of ferries is no longer limited to transporting people from one riverside to another. Still, this vehicle is also an alternative to the tourist boat. Whether you are seeking an affordable yet unique type of transport for your next trip or try something new on your motorbike tour, we recommend you to give the ferry a try.
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