How to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay?

For many travelers, Halong Bay is considered as a place they need to visit at least once in their life. And if you plan to come to Ha Long next time and need some information, we truly hope this article will be helpful to you!

Something about my destination - Halong Bay

Located on the Western side of the Gulf of Tonkin in Northern Vietnam and be surrounded by Bai Tu Long Bay to the east and Lan Ha Bay, home of Cat Ba Island, to the south, covering a total area of 1,553 km2, Halong Bay is one of those destinations you don’t want to miss when traveling this Southeast Asian country. With the tremendous geological and geomorphological value and the exceptional scenic beauty and one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, Halong Bay has twice been recognized by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage Area and be stated that “Apart from Halong Bay there are no equivalent sites on the World Heritage List” in 1994 (first time) and second time in 2000. We truly believe this trademark emerald green water and 3,000 islands of towering limestone are worth your visit.

Halong Bay Destination

Halong Bay Destinations

Halong Bay is also known as “the land of the dragon”. According to the legend, when Vietnamese people were invaded by foreign invaders, The Jade Emperor appointed Mother Dragon and her Child Dragons down to help Vietnam to fight. While the invaders’ boats from the sea entered massively to the shore, at that same time Dragons landed on earth and immediately be ejected a lot of pearls and turned into thousands of rocky islands on the sea creating a solid wall to block the enemy warships. After that fierce battle, the emeralds turned to rocks over time and became the picture of fertility that they are today, sprouting shrubbery and trees along their angled facades. And space, where the dragon landed to guard, is known as Ha Long now.

Coming to Ha Long, the travelers should allow a few days to explore this magical bay as its attraction that is extremely numerous. Among hundreds of limestone islands, you can visit the amazing Titov Island which is well-known for scenic landscape with a quiet atmosphere, white sand, and cool water and a quiet atmosphere or go to Pearl Farm Village where you can take a chance to watch the whole process to make a valuable pearl and expensive jewelry from the first step of growing and harvesting pearl from Halong Bay,… and much more.

Best time to visit Halong Bay - Vietnam for awesome weather and low price

Here we provide with your pros and cons for each season of weather in Halong Bay and then you can easily to choose the best time to visit that most suitable with your schedule, budget…

  • Spring (March-May): Halong Bay spring weather is not hot yet an average of 24°C but it will be more likely to rain especially during March. With pleasant weather and sunlight, travelers absolutely can take part in many outdoor activities such as swimming and kayaking in the daytime.
  • Summer (June- September): In this season, the temperature and humidity will start to increase but Halong scenery very charming with crystal clear sky and emerald water. There will be more time for kayaking, swimming, and other water activities in this beautiful bay.
  • Fall (October- December): This is the peak season in Halong because of its pleasant weather. Travelers can enjoy more sunshine, which is not as harsh as in the summer. For this occasion, there will be more deals and special programs. Because in this season, Halong is expected to be more crowded, travelers should contact their tour company to have them arranged the activity for you.
  • Winter (January- February): Halong Bay’s temperature is around 13-20°C which is very pleasant and perfect for relaxing. In the morning and late afternoon, you will mostly see fog and drizzle. But during this time you can see a completely different look of Halong Bay.

Best time to visit halong bay

Best time to visit halong bay

Hanoi - Halong Bay map

A cruise on Halong Bay seems a must for travelers coming to Vietnam. This is why here we give little Halong travel guide which provides with the map of Halong Bay and some tips on Halong tour for you. Belongs to Quang Ninh Province, Halong Bay is at about 200km from Hanoi. Most the travelers will spend a day to explore Hanoi and then travel to Halong Bay. And before, it can take you 4 hours to get from Hanoi to Halong. However, the traveling time from the capital to Halong reduces from 4 hours to 2-2.5 hours by car because of the new highway came into operation at the end of 2018, beginning of 2019 and the distance between Hanoi and Halong is shortened from 175km to 125km. This is why travelers who have limited time still can visit Halong Bay from Hanoi and back on the same day.

Hanoi to Halong Bay map

Hanoi to Halong Bay map

In addition, we have information for those who choose Ha Long as their first destination when they arrive in Vietnam Nam: Noi Bai International Airport- 30 km (19 miles) away from Hanoi and it’s also the closest and biggest international airport to Halong Bay. And for more details, please keep reading!

Getting from Hanoi to Halong Bay

Types Price Time How To Book Pros Cons Who should use
Motorbike $5 - $50 3.5+ Hours Rent Motorbike Scenery/ Exploration Dangerous Familiar with Vietnam Traffic, Adventure Travelers
Local Bus (coach) $7.5 3+ Hours Buy At Station Cheap Not Comfortable/Extra Taxi Fees to Cruise Center Budget Travelers
Shuttle Bus (Best Option) $10-$50 2.5+ Hours Book Online or Ask Your Cruise Company Comfortable/Pick-up-drop at hotel More expensive than Local Bus, Train Family/Group/Couple
Private Car $75 2+ Hours Taxi or Book thru Your Cruise Company Comfortable/Flexible Expensive Family/Couple/Group
Seaplane (Fastest) $135 45 Mins Seaplane.vn or Buy Cruise Packages Halong Bay View from Above/Fast Expensive Couple/Family
Train (Cheapest) $3.5 +$1 6+ Hours dsvn.vn (Vietnam Railways Official) Very Cheap/ Scenery Not Comfortable/Not Time Efficient/ Extra Taxi Station To Cruise Center Budget/Adventure Travelers
Waterways $1+$4 45+ Mins Haiphong - CatBa - Tuan Chau Visit both Catba & Halong Exhausted/ Not Comfortable/Extra taxi fee to Cruise Center Want visit both Catba &Halong Bay

By Local Bus: The budget choice

Cost: From 100,000- 2000,000 VND ($5-50/trip).

With attractive prices, this is considered as a suitable option for those who travel on a budget. It can take you 3 hours to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay. However, it took longer since the buses will stop along the way to fill up passengers. And for coaches traveling via the new expressway, the ticket price can be higher as the toll fee is also higher.

How to book a bus for your trip?

It’s not overly complicated for buying a ticket from Hanoi to Halong Bay. We will give you 2 ways for you chose:

  • Book online: You can go to the website Halong Bay Cruise Deals, enter your departure and arrival city and your desired day of departure. Afterward, you will find a fully detailed schedule of the day from all providers. However, travelers should read reviews of previous travelers and look at the satisfaction ratings for each provider. After finding a suitable coach, you can call them to make a reservation.
  • Book directly: Travelers completely can buy the ticket at local bus coach stations.

For those who get off the bus at get off at Bai Chay station, which is 5 km from Tuan Chau Gate (Cruise Port, you need to pay around 90,000 for taxi and 50,000 – 70,000 VND (~ $3/person) for “xe om” (a kind of motorbike taxi), or simply order Grab via your smartphone.

Pros and cons of Local Bus option

Pros:

  • With a relatively cheap price, local bus travel remains one of the most popular and convenient means of transport around the world.
  • With the local bus, you can have a chance to get a closer look at how local Vietnamese people travel and it’s less hassle than driving yourself.

Cons: 

  • Because the coach mainly serves local people, it will be likely that the salespeople and the drivers will not be able to speak English. This may lead to difficulties in communication, especially if you experience a travel issue, such as a delay or a missed stop.
  • You need to catch a taxi, city bus, xe om, or Grab (like Uber) to the station because coach station is not located near the Old Quarter or West Lake where many visitors live.
  • You must wait for the next coach in a very crowded and noisy coach station. And this really brings an uncomfortable feeling for travelers.

By Shuttle Bus

Cost: Around US$ 10 - 40 for a one-way ticket/person.

You can ask the agent or a Halong Bay Cruise company for a shuttle bus service because they normally will offer a combo package, which is cheaper than you book them separately. It can take you 2 - 4 hours from Hanoi to Halong Bay.

Shuttle Bus Halong Bay

Shuttle Bus Halong Bay

Pros and cons of Shuttle Bus:

Pros:

  • This is suitable for Family & Group.
  • It doesn’t stop along the way to pick up more passengers. Therefore, it takes less time to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay than going by local bus.
  • With more services and amenities compared to local buses, including Wi-Fi and bottled water. Especially, the drivers have enough English to communicate with you to answer basic questions and to resolve basic travel problems.

Cons:

  • The price will be slightly higher than the local bus or motorbike.

By Motorbike

For those who on a budget and love adventure and wish to explore local life and scenery, there is no better way than driving a motorbike from Hanoi to Halong.

Cost: From 100,000- 2,000,000 VND ($5- 50/trip).

How to hire a motorbike in Hanoi?

Even if you are a foreign visitor, it is still easy to rent a motorbike.

You need to pay for the deposit and rent fees. Normally, the rental shop will request a copy of your passport. However, you should try to negotiate because you may need your passport for other occasions.

Pros and cons of motorbike option:

Pros:

  • Extremely convenient for exploring and admiring the scenery of Vietnam.
  • You can start your journey whenever you want.
  • Gasoline and daily rental cost are quite cheap.

Cons:

  • Make sure you are willing for the risk and have good driving skill because it’s quite dangerous to engage in traffic in Vietnam. You can easy to get lost, especially if this is your first trip here.
  • Be a foreign visitor, you have no Vietnamese driving license so actually, it is not legal to drive a motorbike around.

Some notes for you: You should pay attention to the weather forecast before your trip, choose a good motorbike and protection gear, a map and phone that can connect to the internet to google your way. And you need to wear a helmet and follow traffic signals to avoid any trouble.

By Train

Cost: About $10/person.

This is an only one train that departs from Yen Vien Station in Hanoi go to Halong City Station at 4.55 am & returns at 13:50 pm every day. It can take you 7 hours to go from Hanoi to the Halong Train Terminal that is near the Bai Chay bus station, around five kilometers to the harbor. The last step after getting off at Halong Station, travelers will need to catch a taxi to get to the city center so that will add to the cost.

How to book?

You can access the home page of Vietnam Railway at https://dsvn.vn/ and choose the language at the top right of the page. Afterward, enter the information include: departure point, the destination as Ha Long and select the Vietnamese name Ha Long, departure and return date, your choice of one-way or two-way trip.

Train Hanoi to Halong Bay

Train Hanoi to Halong Bay

For departure point, you type Yen Vien and select the Vietnamese name Yên Viên that appears on the list.

Small notes for getting to Halong Bay by train:

  • This safe means of transport is suitable for those who do not mind the long traveling hours and love the sound of the train whistle.
  • On the contrary, towards those who only have a day to visit Halong, the long traveling time of 6 hours by train is definitely not a good choice.
  • Trains are considered to be safer, more comfortable than cars. However, sitting too long on the train will make travelers can’t avoid frustration and fatigue. In this case, you need to strengthen your travel to see the scenery along the road or get to know some new friends on the train.
  • When taking a train, the seat on the train will be divided into many categories. Each class has its own price. You need to know your travel distance so that you can choose the appropriate class of seats.

By Seaplane

Cost: About 99-385$ depending on the season and the time of day.

With a seaplane flight from International Noi Bai Airport to Ha Long City which is only 45 minutes, travelers can get a chance to have a more fabulous experience with aerial views over the countryside and a thrilling water-landing at the Tuan Chau Island Marina.

How to book?

Travelers can call the hotline directly at (+84) 363 766 698 for more information or you can book your ticket through tourism agencies. Or it’s also possible to book through the website Halong Bay Cruise Deals. This way is quick and simple, and there are clear-cut and reasonable delay and cancellation policies.

Pros and cons of seaplane option:

Pros:

  • Cuts down significantly on travel time with just 45 minutes that is excellent for those looking to maximize their time to see the sights rather than spent traveling, and also makes visiting Halong Bay on a day trip possible without being fatiguing.
  • A totally new experience for everyone.

Cons:

  • For those who on a budget, this seemed not a good choice.

By Private Car

Cost: Around 100 - 200$ during 1-2 days.

A private car is considered the best choice if you do not want to share the trip from Hanoi to Halong Bay with strangers or wish to be totally flexible of your schedule. Even if you are a busy businessman on holiday or go on a vacation with your family, a private transfer will ensure the best privacy for you.

How to book?

You can contact with your tour or cruise operator to arrange this service for you or simply book a taxi.

Tips for you:

You should confirm the total cost with the taxi driver to avoid that they may charge you more when they take a longer route than necessary.

Book a tour

Travelers can also choose to make this entire process easier just by joining us with many attractive tour packages. Starting your trip by a three-hour scenic drive in a comfortable, air-conditioned car from Hanoi to the less-visited Lan Ha Bay and then get on 1 of Our Cruise that will take you around the limestone karsts and help you explore the most unspoiled, magnificent, and pristine destinations of this gorgeous bay! Below are several examples of our Halong Bay Luxury Cruises for you choose:

Best cruise for a honeymoon

Mon Chéri Cruise:

Mon Chéri Cruises

Mon Chéri Cruises

If you are kind of person that do not or cannot get satisfaction for anything less than perfection, then the Mon Chéri Cruise is just perfect for you. Mon Chéri Cruises is one of the most luxurious five-star cruises in the Halong Bay area, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and popular travel destination in Quang Ninh Province, Viet Nam. Our Mon Chéri Cruises have designed distinctive itineraries sailing to the area of Halong Bay – Lan Ha Bay. Cruising with Mon Chéri, you will have a chance to explore the hidden charms of Lan Ha Bay, enjoying the breathtaking scenery of enormous limestones, pristine beaches and mysterious caves that is extremely unique and attractive. Moreover, the safety of visitors to Halong Bay is taken very seriously. Our crew members are dedicated to providing exceptional service to enhance your stay for a truly memorable experience.

Era Cruise:

Era Cruise

Era Cruise

Come to Era Cruise, our customers not only take a chance to visit the marvelous spectacle of Viet Nam but also enjoyed services with 5-stars quality. With spacious area, suites are positioned at prime location create a private space as well as connecting to beautiful nature. Cruise has different suites, decorated in different ways, appropriate for divergent purposes. In each room, you can both observe the entire majestic beauty of islands and drink colorful cocktail together with your family. Not only that, variety in the type of services will bring out novelty experiences that you have never yet. You will be enjoyed in the glamour of Vietnamese cuisine as well as global cuisine via the gifted hands of master chefs. From freshest and nutritive seafood, we assure your meals will be the most delicious and greatest. Together with us, your trip becomes more excited with other outside activities make you relax and forget the noise in the urban, help to charge full energy for new beginnings, for new plans. With the best effort, our professional crews pledge to keep the most memorable moment of your life.

Best cruise for young adults

Perla Dawn Sails:

Perla Dawn Sails

Perla Dawn Sails

Our Perla Dawn Sails is considered as a work of art defining an off- the- beaten- path cruise to Lan Ha Bay, the Southern part of Halong Bay. With our deepest knowledge and experience of cruising, we will allow you to travel in the unique routes, discover marvelous areas and enjoy rare specialized itineraries which others cruise cannot offer you. In addition, what we expect is bringing to our travelers not only a luxury experience but also Vietnamese traditional cruise. For this reason, while other boats feed on modern and sophisticated designed and styles, we will maintain the original traditional styled designs with wooden specifics. Moreover, the safety of visitors to Halong Bay is taken very seriously. Our crew members are dedicated to providing exceptional service to enhance your stay for a truly memorable experience.

Peony Cruise:

Peony Cruise

Peony Cruise

Known as the first cruise company that organized this specific cruise through Halong Bay - Lan Ha Bay, Peony Cruise is the leading line of ultimate luxury cruises in Halong Bay. We always try our best to perfect our luxury line for fresh experiences in Halong Bay, with an upgraded level of premium cruising services. Cruising with Peony, you will have an opportunity to explore the hidden charms of Lan Ha Bay, enjoying the breathtaking scenery of enormous limestone, pristine beaches and mysterious caves that is extremely unique and attractive. Besides that, with world-class cuisine and the most attentive staff at sea, our restaurant serves exceptional, multi-course meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can enjoy a new dinner menu each evening in an elegant setting, with extraordinary personal service from your dedicated wait staff. Moreover, the safety of visitors to Halong Bay is taken very seriously. Our crew members are dedicated to providing exceptional service to enhance your stay for a truly memorable experience.

Thank you for following our article.  If you have any inquiry, please leave a comment so we can discuss and share more with you.

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