There are some options to get to Cat Ba island:
1. By shuttle bus:
The shuttle bus option (provided by the bus company): the bus will pick you up from your hotel Hanoi center (Old Quarter only) and take you to the pier, then speedboat ( 15 mins) + bus to Cat Ba. The pick-up time is around 7:15 – 8:00 AM and you will be in Cat Ba around 11:00 - 11:30. Sometimes the bus crosses the ferry and takes you directly to Cat Ba so you do not have to change the bus. The pick-up time for the bus Cat Ba - Ninh Binh or Cat Ba - Hanoi is 12:20 – 12:30.
There are more buses from Hanoi to Cat Ba at: 6:30; 10:45; 12:30; 14:30.
And there are more buses for the return Cat Ba - Hanoi at: 7:30; 9:00: 16:00
This option is good for the group under 5 people because it is cheaper and quite convenient.
On busy days (especially summer time), they can avoid the traffic jam because they have their own speedboats; they do not use the ferries. The price is about 13 USD/ticket/way.
For Cat Ba - Ninh Binh/Tam Coc is about 16 USD/ticket/way.
2. By private car/van directly to Cat Ba:
You will pass by a short ferry. Normally it takes around 3.5 hours. It is good for the group size from 5 people above to save the cost. It is not recommended take this option during summer time and our public holidays. We can pick up/drop off at any hotel around the old quarter.
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.