Most tourists combine a tour to Hanoi with a visit to Halong Bay, the UNESCO World Heritage Site, located to the east of the city. How to get from the city center of Hanoi to Halong Bay? What are the best ways to travel to Halong Bay? In this article, we’ll look into 6 ways to commute between the two destinations, and advise you on the best for your trip.
I. Distance from Hanoi to Halong Bay
How far is Halong Bay from Hanoi?
Halong Bay is located on Vietnam’s coastline, just over 160 kilometers to the east of Hanoi. Hosted by Quang Ninh province, Halong Bay boasts a picturesque scenery of emerald water, endless sky and tranquil atmosphere. Thousands of impressive limestone karsts and islets here contributed to the UNESCO World Heritage title.
There are mainly 06 ways to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay, each of which has its own pros and cons. We’ll look into each and every way in the following part of the article.
II. How to Get from Hanoi to Halong Bay?
1. Travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay by Local Bus
Local buses are among the easiest and cheapest options to get to Halong Bay.
The first thing you’ll have to do is to check the closest bus station that will drop you off at Halong Bay. These five bus stations host buses from Hanoi to Quang Ninh Province:
|My Dinh Station||20 Pham Hung Street, My Dinh 2, Nam Tu Liem, Hanoi|
|Nuoc Ngam Station||No 1, Ngoc Hoi Road, Hoang Liet Ward, Hoang Mai Dist, Hanoi|
|Giap Bat Station||No 6, Giai Phong Str, Hoang Liet Ward, Hoang Mai Dist, Hanoi|
|Yen Nghia Station||Highway 6, Yen Nghia Ward, Ha Dong Dist, Hanoi|
|Gia Lam Station||No.9, Ngo Gia Kham Str, Long Bien Dist, Hanoi|
Arriving at the bus station, you’ll find a great deal of suppliers providing transport services to Halong Bay. Come to the counter to ask for a ticket to Halong Bay and the staff will assist you.
Route: the bus will drop you off at specific stations, and you will have to get a taxi or Grab to get to your hotel or the cruise port (Tuan Chau Gate). To save money on the connecting trip, consult your hotel or cruise supplier for the closest station to get off.
Duration: a ride on the local bus will take about 3-5 hours depending on whether the bus runs around to pick up passengers.
Cost: For a ride in a typical 40-seat bus, the ticket will cost you 100,000 – 120,000 VND. You’ll spend another 50,000 – 70,000 VND to get from the station to the hotel or cruise port.
Pros and cons: a one-way ride will cost 150,000 – 200,000 VND in total, making it one of the cheapest means of transportation available. However, you’ll face a number of difficulties:
- Language barrier at the stations
- Time consuming
- Inflexible departure and arrival stops
2. Travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay by shuttle bus
Shuttle buses are the smaller buses that offer better services with fewer passengers, and direct routes.
Google for the phrase “vexere” and you will find a website that hosts online booking. Lock in your departure point (Hanoi) and arrival point (Quang Ninh), and you’ll see a number of available shuttle bus suppliers. There are typically 9-seat so-called “limousines” and 19-seat minibuses and they often depart from their own Hanoi offices, rather than the public stations. The arrival points vary between buses, hence you’ll have to look it up yourself to see which is the closest to your hotel or the cruise port.
Things will be much easier if you book a tour via a cruise or tour operator. They will take all the booking off your hands with a relatively cheaper price if you book it yourself. The arrival destination will be pre-determined and you won’t have to worry about getting off at the right place.
Route: like local buses, shuttle buses will drop you off at specific stations. If you are hosted by a tour/cruise operator, they will deliver you to your hotel or the cruise port.
Duration: shuttle buses often travel with a direct route, resulting in a shorter commuting time. Thanks to the new highway connecting Hanoi and Halong Bay, a one-way trip will only take 2.5 hours minimum.
Cost: For a ride in a typical 9-seat bus, the ticket will cost you 200,000 – 300,000 VND. You’ll spend another 50,000 – 70,000 VND to get from the station to the hotel or cruise port, if you travel without a travel agency.
Pros and cons: shuttle buses are much more comfortable and time-saving, in comparison with local buses. However, communication will again be a burden if you don’t book via a tour operator.
3. Travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay by train
Trains will be a slow option, but fairly cheap compared to others.
There is only one train that heads to Halong Bay everyday. It departs at Yen Vien Station (Hanoi) at 4:55 am. You can only opt for “hard” seats, which are made of wood and not very comfortable. Go to dsvn.vn and lock in your departure point (Yen Vien), arrival point (Halong) and process to buy the ticket.
Route: the train will head to Halong Station, from which you will need to get a taxi/Grab to arrive at the hotel or cruise port.
Duration: a train ride will typically take 6-7 hours.
Cost: a train ride is 90,000 – 100,000 VND on average, depending on the time in the year. Another 50,000 – 70,000 VND will be spent on a connecting ride on taxi/Grab.
Pros and cons: for those who have only one day in Halong, a 6-hour train ride will definitely be unsuitable. However, it’s one of the safest and cheapest options, if you don’t mind the noisy sounds of the train.
4. Travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay by seaplane
Seaplane is the only option if you want to fly to Halong Bay, as well as the fastest and most expensive way.
Google “seaplane from Hanoi to Halong Bay” and you’ll find the only supplier – Hai Au Aviation among the top results. Call them up and they will take care of you from here.
Route: There is a straight Hanoi to Halong Bay flight, but the airplane will be landing at Tuan Chau Gate.
Duration: the flight will take 45 minutes to 1 hour at the maximum.
Cost: a one-way flight will cost 4,000,000 – 10,000,000 VND, depending on the time of the year.
Pros and cons: it will surely be great to admire the majestic views of Halong Bay from above, as you fly over limestone karst mountains and islets. Seaplane is the ideal option for those seeking a luxurious, stress-free experience.
5. Travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay by motorbike
Motorcycling is only recommended for those having a legal driving license in Vietnam. Please don’t risk being involved in legal issues if you only visit the country for a temporary period. It is the cheapest yet most adventurous option among the six.
Motorbike renters are readily available, especially in the Old Quarter. You can easily rent a bike for 100,000 – 150,000 VND per day. Simply Google “bike rental” or consult your accommodation owners.
Route: there are a few routes for you to choose from. Google Map will assist you on the way.
Duration: depending on your riding speed, you will get to Halong Bay after roughly 3 hours.
Cost: 100,000 – 150,000 VND for a bike rental.
Pros and cons: it doesn’t seem like a good idea to travel over 160 kilometers on a motorbike. The ride will be exhausting and rather dangerous, if you are not accustomed to Vietnamese traffic. Other risks involve bad weather and getting lost. If you do travel on a motorbike, make sure you have a license, appropriate protective gears, a smartphone with working Google Maps, and a friend to help you in emergencies.
6. Travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay by private car/taxi
Private cars and taxis will ensure you and your family utmost privacy, but they are also among the most expensive options.
Google “car rental” to find an appropriate supplier, or simply pick up the phone and call a taxi.
Route: as the most tailormade option, you will be transported to your chosen destination.
Duration: it will be a 2.5 hour-ride, or 3 hours at the maximum, depending on traffic.
Cost: roughly 1,500,000 – 5,000,000 VND, depending on the choice of service.
Pros and cons: if privacy and convenience matter most to you, this is your ideal option. However, double check the price of the taxi before embarking on your journey.
Given a lot of options, it’s not easy to pick the best means of transportation from Hanoi to Halong Bay, taking account of the weather, budget and travel time. Each means of transportation will have its own pros and cons, and the final decision lies in your hand. We hope that you found this article useful for your upcoming trip to Halong Bay.