Hanoi to Halong Bay: How to Travel 2024

Overview

Halong Bay sits on Vietnam’s coastline, just over 188 kilometers (117 miles) east of Hanoi, and is worlds away from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi. Sprinkled with impressive limestone karsts, tropical jungles and idyllic beaches, Halong Bay must not be missed. Luckily, it’s incredibly easy to travel there from Hanoi.

Hanoi to Halong Bay: How to Travel 2022

Shuttle bus from Hanoi to Halong bay

Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes – 3 hours

Pricing: 15 – 20 USD one way/ pax if your pick-up and drop-off points are in Hanoi Old Quarter. Surcharge may apply if you stay outside of the Old Quarter.

Best for: Shuttle bus is considered one of the most effective means of transport between Hanoi and Halong and vice versa. This is the best option if you are budget-conscious and want to save traveling time.

Hanoi to Halong Bay: How to Travel 2022

Types of shuttle bus

Shuttle buses or tourist buses from Hanoi to Halong are widely preferred by both locals and foreigners. Choices of shuttle buses vary from budget-friendly to luxurious ones. Almost all shuttle buses drive on 5B Hanoi – Halong Highway which will take only around 2.5 – 3 hours to arrive. The departure time at Hanoi Old Quarter pick-up points is around 8 am to 9 am.

There are three major types of shuttle buses: standard buses, luxury buses, and shuttle buses managed by cruise companies.

  • Standard shuttle buses have various passenger capacities ranging from 16-seater minivan to 29-to-30-seater bus, 35-seater bus, and 45-seater bus.
  • Luxury shuttle buses are often 9-seater Limousine and 19-seater Fuso complete with high-end amenities.
  • Many cruise companies also have their own shuttle service to pick up and drop off tourists at certain destinations.

Popular shuttle buses from Hanoi – Halong and ticket prices

Among a myriad of shuttle buses on the Hanoi-Halong route, the following brands are highly recommended:

How to book:

Although fares can be purchased through the bus company’s website directly, you are recommended to book tickets through cruise or tour operators for better assurance.

Public bus from Hanoi to Halong bay

Time: ~2-3 hours

Pricing: 5-11 USD/pax/one-way

Best for: Using local buses is not as comfortable and convenient as shuttle buses, but it is cheaper. When traveling on a budget, a local bus might be a better option.

Hanoi to Halong Bay: How to Travel 2022

Bus stations in Hanoi (for Halong bay)

Most local buses depart from three main bus stations including:

  • My Dinh Station: 20 Pham Hung Street, My Dinh 2, Nam Tu Liem District, Ha Noi. This big and modern bus station is around 11km from Hanoi Old Quarter. It is the primary bus station that connects Hanoi with provinces in the North and Northwest regions such as Quang Ninh, Yen Bai, Lao Cai, Phu Tho, Hoa Binh, Ninh Binh, ect. From here, there are numerous buses that run every half hour to Bai Chay, Quang Ninh Province for a visit to Halong Bay.
  • Giap Bat Station: 6 Giai Phong Street, Hoang Liet Ward, Hoang Mai District. The distance from Giap Bat bus station to Hanoi Old Quarter is 7km, about a 17-minute drive. This bus station is the busy and chaotic gateway of Hanoi to provinces in Central and Southern Vietnam namely Nam Dinh, Ninh Binh, Ho Chi Minh City. There are a few buses running on the Hanoi – Halong route.
  • Gia Lam Station: 9 Ngo Gia Kham Street, Long Bien District, Hanoi. This is the nearest bus station from Hanoi Old Quarter (5.5km) but bus options to Halong are very limited. The station primarily provides public buses to Bac Giang, Hai Phong, Thai Binh, Thanh Hoa, Ha Giang, and Tuyen Quang Province.
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Bus map:

Popular public buses from Hanoi – Halong

How to book

Tickets are available at bus station ticketing offices. No advanced reservation is required.

Hanoi to Halong Bay: How to Travel 2022

Local tips: 60% buses to Halong bay departing from My Dinh Station, therefore it offers more choices of bus operators and price ranges.

Private car

Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes – 3 hours.

Pricing: 100 – 150 USD round trip.

Best for: Business travelers, families, and groups of friends who prefer a private and comfortable transfer.

Hanoi to Halong Bay: How to Travel 2022

To take a private car from Hanoi to Halong Bay, you can book the service through cruise providers or travel agencies. Alternatively, it is possible to book a private taxi. The private car will pick you up and drop you off at whichever location is agreed upon. This is the easiest way, but also the most expensive, to get to Halong Bay.

Here are some reputable companies and taxi brands with private transfer services:

Prices:

Seaplane from Hanoi to Halong bay

Time: 60 minutes

Pricing: 175 – 385 USD/ pax

Best for: Affluent travelers and couples to admire aerial views of the bay

Hanoi to Halong Bay: How to Travel 2022

Taking a seaplane is the most special and amazing way to transfer from Hanoi to Halong Bay. It’s also the fastest way to get to Halong Bay. Moreover, using this aviation service, you will be offered a spectacular seaplane trip with aerial views of the bay. A 45-minute scheduled flight from Hanoi to Halong Bay costs from 175 USD to 385 USD.

Points of Departure:

Noi Bai International Airport: Counter E09, Lobby E, Terminal 1, Noi Bai International Airport, Hanoi

Points of Arrival:

Tuan Chau Marina: Villa T7 Tuan Chau Commercial Urban Area, Tuan Chau Ward, Halong City, Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam

How to book a seaplane

The seaplane trip can be booked through the Hai Au Aviation’s website seaplanes.vn or contact online.sales@haiauaviation.com Hotline: 0962069689

Alternatively, you can contact cruise providers to see if there are any packages available which include a seaplane flight. The plane departs from Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi and arrives in Tuan Chau Cruise port in Halong Bay. Once arrived, you can take a Grab taxi (similar to Uber) or regular taxi to your final destination.

Train from Hanoi to Halong bay

Time: 6 hours and 45 minutes

Pricing: 4 USD/ pax

Best for: Backpackers and tourists with a tight budget. This is also a great way to enjoy the scenery on the road if you are not pressed for time.

Hanoi to Halong Bay: How to Travel 2022

Recently the railway between Hanoi and Halong Bay reopened allowing tourists to take the train to Halong Bay. For a more authentic Vietnamese experience where you can travel with the landscape just passing by at an easy pace, take the train. This is by far the cheapest option to get to Halong Bay. You can expect a ticket to be a bit less than 80.000 VND (4 USD).

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Time and where to catch the train

The train leaves once a day from Yen Vien station in Hanoi at 4:55 am. and arrives at Halong station at 11:41 am, a total travel time of 6 hours and 45 minutes. Once the train arrives in Halong City, you have to arrange additional transportation to reach your hotel or the cruise port. The train going back to Hanoi will also take 6 hours and 46 minutes and leaves Halong station at 1.50 pm. and arrives in Hanoi at 8.31 pm.

StationDistance (km)DepartureYen Vien Station04:55Tu Son65:15Bac Ninh185:37Bac Giang386:12Pho Trang486:30Kep587:16Bao Son667:39Lan Mau758:1Dong Trieu1079:18Mao Khe1169:52Uong Bi13210:30Yen Cu15211:14Halong station16411:45

Motorbike

Time: 3 hours and 30 minutes – 4 hours

Pricing: 5 – 7 USD

Best for: Adventure travelers, independent backpackers

Hanoi to Halong Bay: How to Travel 2022

Are you an adventure seeker? If flexibility in time, traveling route, and thrilling experiences are what you fancy, renting a motorbike to drive to Halong Bay is worth trying. There are many places to rent a motorbike in Hanoi at a cheap cost of just 5 – 7 USD per day. You can get help from your hotel or contact motorbike rental centers directly.

Where to rent a motorbike

Here are some popular brands: 13535 Motorbike Rental Hanoi, Happy Zip Motorbikes Rental & Sale Hanoi, Phung Motorbike, and Tigit Motorbikes Hanoi. The rental fee is around 5 – 7 USD per day.

How to transfer

Obviously, driving from Hanoi to Halong Bay provides you more chances to enjoy the beautiful scenery on both sides. However, this option only fits adventurous ones with moderate physical strength. There are two prevalent ways to transfer from Hanoi to Halong Bay:

Route 1: Hanoi – Bac Ninh – Halong (155km)

From Hanoi, drive on Highway 5 about 10km to Sai Dong Junction then continue to drive further 23km on Highway 1 to Bac Ninh Province. Follow Highway 18 about 122km to reach Halong City.

Route 2: Hanoi – Hai Duong – Halong (170km)

This route is a bit longer but more convenient. From Hanoi, you go to Nam Sach Town, Hai Duong Province then drive on Highway 183 to Halong City.

Summary of options (with comparison table)

The reverse route: Halong Bay – Hanoi

Transportation from Halong Bay to Hanoi is normally the same as Hanoi to Halong Bay. If you already have a clear travel plan, you should book round-trip tickets from shuttle bus companies and private car transfer providers so you can enjoy a hassle-free journey.

Day trips between Hanoi and Halong Bay

Thanks to the construction of the new Highway 5B, you now are able to take a day trip between Hanoi and Halong Bay at ease.

The best way to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay is to take a shuttle bus or hire a private car. While the former option is more economical, the latter is quicker and more convenient yet expensive. If you travel independently, taking a shuttle bus is the most suitable choice which will cost only around 10 – 15 USD. On the other hand, groups of friends and families with a high budget are highly recommended to choose the private transfer option.

Once you arrive in Halong City, you can easily buy a day cruise ticket to visit Halong Bay. The two most popular routes in Halong Bay for a day tour include:

Route 1: Tuan Chau Port – Thien Cung Cave – Dau Go Islet – Dinh Huong Islet – Fighting Cock Islet (4 hours)

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Route 2: Tuan Chau Port – Dinh Huong Islet – Fighting Cock Islet – Sung Sot Cave – Titop Island (6 hours)

It usually costs 290.000 VND ~ 13 USD per passenger either on route 1 or route 2. Tickets are available at Tuan Chau Port, Ngoc Chau Ward, Tuan Chau, Halong City.

Alternatively, a more convenient and hassle-free option is to book a day cruise with Hanoi – Halong transfer included. There are numerous day cruises on Halong Bay including Estella Premium Day Cruise, Genesis Day Cruise, Amazing Sails, Orchid Day Cruise, Phoenix Day Cruise, and Paradise Luxury Day Cruise.

Tips for different types of travelers

For independent travelers and backpackers

If you travel alone and on a tight budget, the best way to reach Halong Bay from Hanoi is to take a shuttle bus (around 15 – 20 USD round trip) or a local bus (around 10 – 20 USD round trip). The total transfer time is from 2.5 – 3 hours one way. Another option but not highly suggested is to drive a motorbike which will take around 4 hours yet picturesque scenery on the way paid off.

For small groups and families

Traveling in groups or with families means that you are accompanied by others and safety for children is especially the top priority. Therefore, the most suitable way is hiring a private car with various capacities depending on the number of people. It costs around 100 – 150 USD per car round trip and takes 2.5 – 3 hours to arrive.

For affluent travelers and couples

If money is not a problem, you are highly recommended to experience a seaplane, the most extraordinary way to reach Halong Bay from Hanoi. The price ranges from 175 – 385 USD per pax depending on tourist seasons.

FAQs on traveling from Hanoi to Halong bay

Should I book the transfer directly with car companies or through tourist agencies?

Booking through tourist agencies is highly recommended because you are likely to get better prices, discounts, and guarantees. Otherwise, the price is often higher as you book directly and it is sometimes difficult to contact the car service providers in case of emergency.

What is the fastest way to reach Halong Bay from Hanoi?

If you prefer road transfer, shuttle buses and private cars are the two fastest ways to reach Halong Bay thanks to a direct route without stops. Alternatively, if you have the cash to splash, you can take a seaplane from Noi Bai International Airport to Halong City.

Is it possible to take a day trip to Halong Bay?

A day trip to Halong Bay is one of the most popular options. With a round-trip ticket by shuttle bus, luxury Limousine, or bus of a cruise company, you can easily approach Halong Bay within 3 hours. Upon arrival, there are many routes to choose on Halong Bay. Also, a number of day cruises provide unique itineraries to prominent tourist attractions. Here are some of the best day cruises on Halong Bay: Phoenix Day Cruise, L’Azalée Day Cruise, Orchid Day Cruise, Jade Sails, Genesis Day Cruise, and Estella Premium Day Cruise.

How much does it cost to transfer by a luxury Limousine?

Transferring to Halong Bay on a luxury limousine is a bit more expensive than a shuttle bus which is around 40-45 USD/ pax/ round trip. Also bear in mind that it is not an actual limousine but an upgraded Ford Transit car with leather seats and TV. It’s still a lot more comfortable than the standard bus, hence the price difference.

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