Bhaya Cruises operates a daily shuttle bus service between Hanoi and Halong Bay.
The bus to Halong Bay leaves the Bhaya Cruises Hanoi Sales office (47 Phan Chu Trinh St., Hanoi) at 8.30 am.
The bus returning to Hanoi leaves the Bhaya Cafe (Tuan Chau Marina, Halong ) at 11.00 am.
Private transfers are also available. An English speaking driver or English speaking guide can be available for pick-up/drop-off at the airport or your hotel.
If you wish to take a cruise right after landing at Noi Bai International Airport, your flight must arrive no later than 9.00 am. In this case, you need to book a private transfer from Noi Bai International Airport to travel to Halong Bay directly.
If you have a flight out of Noi Bai International Airport after your cruise, your departure flight must be no earlier than 5.00 pm. In this case, you can book a private transfer directly from Halong Bay to Noi Bai International Airport. You can also take the shuttle bus service to travel from Halong Bay to Hanoi, then a private transfer from Hanoi to Noi Bai Airport. Early disembarkation is available upon advance request.
Travel to Halong Bay can also be arranged by private helicopter charter flight from Hanoi. Please contact our travel consultants at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on Halong Bay helicopter tours.
Shuttle Bus Information
The Bhaya Shuttle Bus departs daily from central Hanoi to the Tuan Chau Marina, Halong Bay.
Distance (Hanoi – Halong Bay): 165 Km
Travel time (approximately): 3 hours 30 minutes
Rest stop: 2 hours after departure. Around 15 minutes.
The rest stop is a chance for you to refresh and stretch your legs before the second part of the journey. The stop is normally around 15 minutes. Serious shopping is not recommended as the rest stops are expensive.
Main route: Hanoi – Thanh Tri Bridge (across the Red River) – Bac Ninh province – Pha Lai Power Station (Quang Ninh province) – Rest stop – Dong Trieu Ceramic and Pottery Village – Mao Khe Coal Mining Area - Tuan Chau Marina.
1. The Red River (2 km or about 5 minutes from the city center)
Shortly after leaving the city center, the vehicle will come to the dike of the Red river. This dike protects Hanoi and surrounds from annual floods. The Red River rises in southwest China (where it is known as the Yuan river, and enters northern Vietnam in Lao Cai province). The river passes Hanoi before separating into two distributaries which empty into the Gulf of Tonkin. The Red River forms the backbone of a fertilized delta for rice paddies which feed the millions of people who live in the Red River Delta.
2. Hanoi Bridges (2 km or 5 minute from the city center)
Five bridges cross the Red river. The most frequently used on the way to Halong Bay are the Vinh Tuy (built in 2009) and the Thanh Tri (built in 2007). Arriving in Hanoi from Noi Bai International airport means crossing the Thang Long Bridge which was built with Soviet assistance in 1985. Another bridge worth seeing is Long Bien Bridge, a living historical relic, which was constructed by Daydé & Pillé between 1899 and 1902 – during the French colonial period. The Long Bien Bridge is now reserved for trains, motorcycles and pedestrians. Taking a stroll over the bridge offers different perspective on the Red river and a nice vista of Hanoi.
3. Rice Paddies (30 km or about 20 minutes from Hanoi)
Vietnam is one of the world’s most fertile agricultural countries. The nation is the second-largest rice exporter worldwide and the world's fifth –largest. Indeed, rice is a staple of the national diet and is seen as a "gift from the Gods. Vietnamese cuisine has many dishes derived directly from rice, including the famous Pho, Spring Rolls, Bun Cha, etc. Most of the jobs related to rice cultivation are still done manually, although some machinery has begun to be used in recent years. If you see a pleasant rice paddy scene, ask your fellow passengers if they would like to stop for photos.
4. Pha Lai Thermal power plant (65 km or about 1.5 hour from Hanoi)
After 1.5 hours, the bus nears two chimneys on the left-hand side of the road. This is the Pha Lai Thermal Power Plant and it is one of the largest power plants in Vietnam. It has a generating capacity of 440 MW and produces around 1.5 billion KWh per year. Most of the electricity produced in Vietnam is generated by hydropower (45%) then by gas turbine (34%). Coal-fired power represents only 15%. Vietnam does not have nuclear a power plant but a project to build a reactor in the south is currently being studied.
5. Dong Trieu Ceramic and Pottery Village (90 km or about 2 hours from Hanoi)
Easily recognized thanks to its numerous artisan workshops and shops displaying ceramics and pottery of all kinds, this little town is famous in Vietnam for ceramics. The products are made from a local variety of soft-white clay and Kaolinite. Together with Bat Trang Ceramic village near Hanoi, Dong Trieu is one of the biggest providers of bowls, plates, cups and chinaware for consumption in northern Vietnam.
6. Mao Khe Coal Mines (120 km or about 3 hours from Hanoi)
The Mao Khe mine is the largest coal mining complex in the country and has the biggest coal production output in Vietnam. The mine here produces much of Vietnam’s 50 million tons of coal annually. About one fifth is reserved for export, mostly to China. In late March 1951, Mao Khe was the scene of an important, but strategically indecisive, battle between French forces and the revolutionary Viet Minh during the First Indochina War, or the Anti – French Resistance War as it is known here.
Vietnamese Traffic and Transport
For those who have never been to Vietnam before, the traffic here can seem bewildering and even frightening. Here are some explanations and suggestions.
Beat the street
Some first time visitors are shocked by the way traffic flows in Vietnam, and worry about crossing the street. Take a few minutes to watch how Vietnamese people do it: look at the oncoming traffic, but avoid direct eye contact; step slowly but deliberately forward; maybe raise an arm in the air to be seen more clearly; stop if unsure a rider has seen you; never step backwards – no rider will be expecting that.
Most Vietnamese motorcycle riders have a habit of honking the horn almost constantly, particularly when they want to speed up and pass other bikes. People will use horn more to announce “I am here” than to warn of danger. They will also use it to other riders to move aside and let them through. Locals normally do not feel offended or upset by this practice.
In Vietnam, as in most countries, there are different speed limits for different types of roads or sections of the same road, i.e. open highway speed limits are higher than those for urban/built-up areas. There are also different speed limits for different vehicle types. However, all vehicles on the highways which pass through urban or built-up areas will never drive faster than 40km/h in those areas. Drivers will sometimes use a system of hand signals to communicate with drivers heading in the opposite direction.
Traffic in Vietnam can often be humorous, with everything carried on a motorbike. Especially in the countryside, people will carry chuckles of chickens, pokes of pigs, doses of ducks, on their motorbike, or even 1.5 ton buffalos towed in trailers behind flimsy Hondas. Keep your camera ready on the trip and send us your best shots!
Generally, there is not a lot of pedestrian traffic in Hanoi or most other Vietnamese cities and towns. There are reasons. Many pavements and sidewalks are taken up with motorcycle parking, little coffee stops, peddler’s spots or street-food vendor’s carts. Many footpaths and walkways are often uneven and could do with some repairs. Indeed, some urban streets do not even have a sidewalk or footpath, forcing pedestrians onto the roadway along with the vehicles!
Unlike in the past, there are not many bicycles in the cities or big towns nowadays, as opposed to the small towns and country villages where they are still used much more. In the cities, it is most common to see school children and the poor rather than average adults riding bicycles. There are no dedicated bicycle lanes or paths in Vietnam and cyclists need to contend with the rest of the traffic on the roads. Interestingly, some Vietnamese people will think a foreigner must be too poor to buy a motorcycle if the foreigner uses a bicycle as their primary means of personal transport.
Motorcycles – mostly low power, small-engine scooters – are the primary means of transport and are everywhere in Vietnam. It is estimated the country’s 85 million people own around 30 million motorcycles. No wonder when a basic model only costs around US $500. With little room to expand urban roads and streets, the sheer numbers of motorcycles are often blamed for creating traffic jams, pollution and accidents. After an earlier false start, compulsory wearing of helmet has only been enforced since 2009.
Amazingly for a newly developing country, Vietnam has some of the highest car prices in the world. Most cars are imported with an average 100% import tax, added to that is a luxury tax and many other taxes which make the price easily twice the price of the same model in a developed country. Therefore, owning a car is still a pipe-dream for most Vietnamese citizens. Car ownership is often used as a visible symbol of status and wealth.
There is a rest stop mid-way on the journey from/to Halong Bay. The main reason for the rest stop is for passenger comfort, i.e., use the bathroom; get refreshments; stretch the legs; etc. The stop will normally be for 15 minutes. Other companies use the same rest stop, so take a moment to remember your vehicle registration number. Our shuttle bus stops at the entrance of the rest stop, them pick you up at its exit. Overall, prices at the rest stop will be higher than in Hanoi. Except if you are specifically looking for a souvenir, we do not recommend any serious shopping at the rest stop.
Most of our drivers can only speak limited English.
If you want to download this Shuttle Bus Information, please click here.