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 service at 10 AM (about 1.5 hours totally for bus+ boat + bus from Hai Phong to Cat Ba town)
2. The new open bus-boat service at 12 USD/pax/way.
Inclusive services: pick up from your hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter by bus ( about 2 hours) + speedboat (about 10 minutes) + bus to Cat Ba town (about 40 minutes).
Timings: Hanoi => Cat Ba
7:30 => 11:15
10:45 => 14:30
14:00 => 17:30
Timings: Cat Ba => Hanoi (they only drop you off at the hotel in the Old Quarter)
9:00 => 12:30
12:30 => 16:30
15:45 => 19:30
The pick-up time takes around 30 minutes so you should be ready at the time supposed above.
The arrival time can be later depending on the traffic.
3. The open bus (35 -45 seats) and it is only 8 USD/person.
For this option, the same bus will go directly to Cat Ba town.
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.