There are some options to get to Cat Ba island:
1. By private car/van Hanoi – Hai Phong (about 2 hours) then direct speedboat (45 mins – 1 hour) to Cat Ba. The speedboat leaves at 9.00 AM; 1.00 PM and 3.00 PM. In case you miss the boat at 9.00 AM, there is also a slower boat at 10 AM to western part of Cat Ba and bus takes you to Cat Ba center (about 1.5 hours totally for boat + bus)
2. The new open bus-boat service at 15 USD/pax/way.
Inclusive services: pick up from your hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter around 7:30 AM – 8:00 AM,
bus from Hanoi to Hai Phong, speed boat from Hai Phong to the Northern part of Cat Ba island, bus to Cat Ba center. You will be in Cat Ba around 11:45 – 12:30. Normally our boats start from Cat Ba at 11:00 AM. If you get there later, we can wait for you. For the return, they have bus from Cat Ba at 12:00 – 12: 30 and 15:30 – 16:00. From Hanoi – Cat Ba, they also have extra bus at 10:30 – 11:30 and 14:00 – 14:30 so you will be in Cat Ba arounnd 15:30 and 18:30.
3. The open bus (35 -45 seats) and it is only 8 USD/person.
For this option, you do not have to take the speedboat (just use the ferry for very short way).
They pick you up from your hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter around 7:30 AM – 8:30 AM to Hai Phong then crossing the new bridge to Cat Hai (northern part of Cat Ba)- over the short ferry then continue driving to Cat Ba center.
You will be in Cat Ba around 12:00 – 12:30.
For the return, they have bus at 14:30– 15:30 and you will be in Hanoi around 18.00 – 19:00 and they will drop you off at one place in the Old Quarter (not your hotel)
Notes: The prices can be changed seasonally. It can be more expensive around 30 April to 2 September (summer holidays).
The trip can be longer depending on the traffic.