How To Travel From Hanoi To Halong Bay (Updated New Highway)

Halong Bay is located in Quang Ninh Province. Previously, it took 4 hours to get from Hanoi to Halong; however, after the new highway came into operation on October 2018, the traveling distance between Hanoi and Halong is shortened from 175km to 125km. The traveling time from the capital to Halong reduces from 4 hours to 2-2.5 hours by car.

In the past, most of the travelers would spend a day in the Capital after arriving at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi (the nearest international airport to Halong Bay) since you will not want to spend more than 8 hours sitting in a car to travel back and forth between Hanoi and Halong Bay.

This is most common and perhaps the best plan to allow you to explore both Hanoi and Halong Bay. 

However, as the new highway being open for the public transportation, passengers who want to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site and have limited time can easily travel to Halong Bay in just 2 hours.

This little article will provide the most up-to-date guide of 6 main transports from Hanoi to Halong: motorbike, coach, shuttle bus, private car, train, seaplane, and waterway transport.

For each transport option, we will show you step-by-step how to book.

 

TypesPriceTimeHow To BookProsConsWho should use
Motorbike$5-$503.5+ HoursRent MotorbikeScenery/ ExplorationDangerousFamiliar with Vietnam Traffic, Adventure Travelers
Local Bus (coach)$73+HoursBuy At StationCheapNot Comfortable/Extra Taxi Fees to Cruise CenterBudget Travelers
Shuttle Bus$10-$252.5+ hoursBook Online or Ask Your Cruise CompanyComfortable/Pick-up-drop at hotelMore expensive than Local Bus, TrainFamily/Group/Couple
Private Car$752+hoursTaxi or Book thru Your Cruise CompanyComfortable/FlexibleExpensiveFamily/Couple/Group
Seaplane$13545 Mins Seaplane.vn or Buy Cruise PackagesHalong Bat View from Above/FastExpensiveCouple/Family
Train$3.56+ hoursdsvn.vn (Vietnam Railways Official)Very Cheap/ SceneryNot Comfortable/Extra Taxi Station To Cruise CenterBudget/Adventure Travelers
Waterways$1+$430 mins Haiphong-CatBa-Tuan ChauVisit both Catba & HalongExhausted/ Not Comfortable/Extra taxi fee to Cruise CenterWant visit both Catba &Halong Bay

#1 Motorbike- The Adventure Choice

Rent a Motobike

 

Cost:Around 100,000 to 2,000,000 VND ($5-50/trip)

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

There are different routers for you to choose, like

    • Hanoi – Bac Ninh – Halong: Find 1A Highway-> Take exit Hanoi-Haiphong highway-> Continue onto Highway Hà Nội – Hải Phòng/QL5B/ĐCT04-> Take the exit toward Bạch Đằng Bridge-> Continue onto Hạ Long – Hải Phòng Highway

 

    • New Highway: Hanoi – Hai Duong – Halong: From Hà Nội – Hải Phòng/QL5B/ĐCT04 Highway to Nội Bài – Hạ Long/Đại Yên/QL18 Highway

 

  • If your cruise’s port locates at Tuan Chau Island (Most of the Halong cruise companies start from here) -> At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Tuần Châu

How To Rent A Motorbike in Hanoi?

It is not hard to rent a motorbike in Hanoi, even if you are a foreign visitor. 

You can find many renting stores in the Old Quarter (or the West Lake area) with English-speaking staffs and owners. 

Depending on how long your stay in Vietnam, you can choose among monthly, weekly, and daily rental services.  

These rental shops provide various types of automatic, semi-automatic, manual, and touring bikes with such brand name as Honda, Yamaha, Attila, Air blade, etc.

Here are a number of motorbike rental shops in Hanoi for reference:

 

NameTel/Mobile NoAddressWebsite
Hanoi Motor Tour024.665.05019119/37 Alley 167 Tay Son Str, Dong Da Dist www.chothuexemay.net/
James Hanoi Motorbike+84.911.076.007No 289 Ngoc Thuy Str, Long Bien Dist, Hanoiwww.jameshanoimotorbikes.com/
Bon Bon Motor0125 522 2555No 246 Ton Duc Thang StrFB name: BonBonMotor
Rent A Bike Vietnam+84. 904.392.4 2315 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho Distwww.rentabikevn.com
Phung Motorbike+84.439.381.105 13 Ngo Huyen, Hoan Kiem Disthttp://www.phungmotorbike.com/

To rent a bike, you need to pay for the deposit and rent fees. 

Generally, the rental shop will request a copy of your passport. 

If you are required to provide your original assortment, try to negotiate because you may need your passport for other occasions.

Pros & Cons of Motorbike Option

Pros
  • Cheap
  • Enjoy Landscape

Driving a motorbike is obviously a cheap and convenient option for free spirits who love to explore Vietnam more closely. 

The daily rental and gasoline cost are quite cheap; plus you can start your journey whenever you want.

Cons
  • Dangerous
  • Time Consuming
  • Uncomfortable
  • Inconvenient

On the other hand, it is quite dangerous to engage in traffic in Vietnam so make sure you are willing for the risk and have good driving skill. 

Plus, it is easy to get lost, especially if this is your first trip in Vietnam. 

Even if you pay attention to the weather forecast before your trip, it can rain heavily all of a sudden or your bike breaking down along the way. 

Last but not least, a 3-hour drive can be time-consuming and tiring.  

If you insist on this option, choose a good motorbike and protection gear, a map and phone that can connect to the internet to google your way. 

It is best to go with a friend so that you have someone to rely on in case of emergency. 

And remember that as a foreign visitor, you have no Vietnamese driving license so actually it is not legal to drive a motorbike around. 

Generally, local traffic officers do not make things hard for you but you need to wear a helmet and follow traffic signals to avoid any trouble.

#2 Local Bus (Coach)- The Budget Choice

coach 45 seats

 

Cost: Around 100,000 to 2,000,000 VND ($5-50/trip)

For those who travel on a budget, this is an attractive option as it costs only about 100,000 VND (less than $5).  

This means of transport usually has a lot of seats (the 45-seat type is quite common). 

It took only 3 hours to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay by bus, thanks to the new Highway.

However, sometimes it took longer since local bus have to go around bus stops to pick their customers.

These days, there are more and more local bus providers with air-conditioners.

So, how to go from Hanoi to Halong Bay by bus?

 

Firstly, choose a bus station and bus provider.

You will want to choose the route that stop closest to where you halong cruise port.

Here are some main local coach stations that run Hanoi – Quang Ninh Province: 

NameRoute(s)Address
Mỹ Đình StationMy Dinh - Cam Pha - Quang Ninh20 Pham Hung Street, My Dinh 2, Nam Tu Liem, Ha Noi city
My Dinh - Cam Pha - Bac Ninh - Hon Gai
My Dinh - Mong Duong - Cam Pha - Quang Ninh
My Dinh - Bai Chay
My Dinh - Cam Pha - Bai Chay
My Dinh - Mong Cai
Nước Ngầm StationNuoc Ngam – Cam Pha – Quang NinhNo 1, Ngoc Hoi Road, Hoang Liet Ward, Hoang Mai Dist
For booking: 0243.861 8264 Hotline: 0243.861 8264
Giáp Bát StationGiap Bat - Cua Ong6, Giai Phong Str, Hoang Liet Ward, Hoang Mai Dist, Hanoi
Yên Nghĩa StationYen Nghia – Cam Pha – Cua OngHighway 6, Yen Nghia Ward, Ha Dong Dist, Hanoi
Gia Lâm StationGia Lam – Mong CaiNo.9, Ngo Gia Kham Str, Long Bien Dist, Hanoi
Gia Lam - Tien Yen
Gia Lam – Bai Chay
Gia Lam - Cam Pha

Secondly, book your ticket

You pick Kumho Viet Thanh in My Dinh coach station, i.e.

You can call the direct number of Hanoi representative office in My Dinh Station to book a ticket or go to My Dinh Bus Station where you will see the ticket box of KumHo Viet Thanh which lies between ticket box number 8 and 9 right at the entrance.

The staffs don’t speak English, so prepare yourself with body language and some simple Vietnamese phrases.

To book a ticket online, go to https://vexere.com/en-US, then scroll down and choose Bus to Quang Ninh

Vexere

Select your date of departure and you will see a long list with details of coach provider, departure time, coach station, seat available, and ticket price. 

After clicking view seat, can proceed with booking your ticket

The site is available in both Vietnamese and English so you can navigate it with ease.

Thirdly, get off at station in Halong Bay

After getting off the bus, you need to catch a taxi, xe om” (a kind of motorbike taxi), or simply order Grab via your smartphone. 

It costs you around VND 90,000 for taxi and 50,000 – 70,000 vnd (~ $3/person) for “xe om”. 

This rate is for those who get off at Bai Chay station, which is 5 km from Tuan Chau Gate (Cruise Port). 

If you can speak with the coach driver, you should tell him to drop you off at Tuan Chau Gate. 

From here it takes you half of the taxi rate.

Is Local Bus Option A Good Choice ?

Pros
  • Cheap

Yes, this option is really cheap and quite easy to find coach providers but it has many disadvantages.

Cons
  • Language Barrier
  • Time Consuming
  • Not Flexible
  • Not Really Uncomfortable

The staffs at coach station don’t speak English, so prepare yourself with body language and some simple Vietnamese phrases, or else you may miss your stop.

Coach stations are not located near the Old Quarter or West Lake where many visitors live so you need to catch a taxi, city bus, xe om, or Grab (like Uber) to the station.

Coaches often depart early so if you sleep in, you have to wait for the next coach in a very crowded and noisy coach station.

The traveling time is long, up to 3.5 hours. And the bus will go around to fill up customers along the road.  

However, if you still want to go with this option, do your research or maybe go with premium coach providers.

Or Maybe you will find some options below are more suitable for you.

#3 Shuttle Bus- A Convenient Means Of Transportation

shuttle bus

 

When booking a cruise, you can ask the agent or a Halong bay cruise company for a shuttle bus service. 

The cost will vary among different companies and different types of bus.

In general, it is easy and convenient because you don’t have to worry about pick-up and drop-off point. 

The bus will pick you at your hotel on request and take you to the cruise center of the cruise ship which you have booked.

After your Halong Bay trip, the shuttle bus will wait outside the cruise center and take you back to Hanoi.

Previously, it took about 3.5 hours to get to Halong Bay as the traveling time has now been reduced to 2.5 hours with the opening of the new Hai Phong – Hanoi Hight way since 15th October 2018.

For example, Bhaya Shuttle Bus departs daily from central Hanoi to the Tuan Chau Marina, Halong Bay. 

The bus will pick you up at your hotel in Central Hanoi and drop you off at Tuan Chau International Passenger Port.

– Distance (Hanoi – Halong Bay): 125 km

– Rest stop: 2 hours after departure. Around 15 minutes.The stop normally lasts around 15 to 20 minutes.

For more Bhaya Shuttle Bus Information, please click here.

How To Book?

Again, you can go to the homepage of https://vexere.com, type your location, destination and departure date to search for coach provider.

Pros & Cons of Shuttle Bus Options

Pros
  • More Comfortable & Convienient
  • More Convenience
  • Suitable For Family & Group
  • Not Too Expensive

It offers more comfort and convenience than a local coach with normally 9-16 seats only.

The bus goes straight to Halong City and might have only a break within short time (~15 mins). It will not welcome new customers along the way.

Besides air-conditioner, Wi-Fi and water bottles are also served on the bus. Drivers can usually communicate in basic English so this can reduce the language barrier.

Cons
  • More Expensive Compared Coach, Motorbike
  • Cannot Enjoy Landscape Like Motorbike

You have to pay more with around $10-20 for a one-way ticket. 

The departure time depends on each provider but it is usually around 7-9 a.m, which is quite early for those who wish to have more time to enjoy Halong Bay.

#4 Private car - utmost privacy

private car

 

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, a private car is your best option. 

Whether 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.

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

There are various taxi brands in Hanoi to choose from.

Is it necessary?

If comfort, flexibility, and privacy really matter to you, then yes, you should consider a private transfer.  

At a cost, of course: about $70-100 for a round trip. 

Be aware that the taxi driver may charge you more when they take a longer route than necessary.

Or check with your cruise providers, they might have private car pick up at airport services packaged with their cruise tour.

 

#5 Seaplane- Breathtaking Halong Bay View

helicopter_transporation_halong_bay

Seaplane is the only fly option from Hanoi to Halong Bay. 

This is also the fastest way to travel from Halong and also the most expensive way. 

it takes only 45 minutes to travel from Hanoi to Halong by seaplane.

Traveling by seaplane you will get an amazing view of Halong from above which a normal transfer or cruise cannot provide.

To book seaplane, you can contact directly with the company that operates the seaplane. 

Hai Au Aviation is the only service provider in Halong Bay with the cost of around $400/person/round trip.

Bhaya Cruise does offer a combo package with seaplane transfer and cruise

 

#6 Train - For A Slow But Safe Ride

Train hanoi to halong bay

There is a only local train route directly from Hanoi to Halong city with the ticket fare about $4.5/person

The train departs from Yen Vien Station, Hanoi to Halong Bay Station at 4.55 am and returns at 13:50 pm every day. 

For those who only have a day to visit Halong, the long traveling time of 6 hours by train is definitely not a good choice. 

From the Halong station, you will need to catch a taxi to get to the city center so that will add to the cost.

On the other hand, if you do not mind the long traveling hours and love the sound of the train whistle, this safe means of transport can offer you a lovely view of scenery along the way.

 

How To Book?

Go to the home page of Vietnam Railway at https://dsvn.vn/ and choose the language at the top right of the page.  After that, enter the following information:

Book train to halong bay stattion

– From:  For departure point, type Yen Vien and select the Vietnamese name Yên Viên that appear on the list (if you do not see the word Yên Viên on the list, an error that happens from time to time, just enter and the system will automatically correct this mistake).

– To: Type the destination as Ha Long and select the Vietnamese name Hạ Long

– Other information: departure and return date, your choice of one-way or two-way trip.

Halong Bay Train Ticket Online

After you see this screen, click on ‘Buy ticket” to proceed to the next page of booking information (including payment details)

Once you confirm your ticket ordering information, you will get the order number and the amount of money you have to pay.

From Hanoi - Cat Ba - Ha Long Bay

Instead of going straight from Hanoi to Halong Bay, many tourists choose the route of Hanoi –  Cat Ba first before arriving at Ha Long Bay. 

That way, they can enjoy the also beauty of Cat Ba island, which is also a very well-known tourist attraction in Vietnam and is only about 15 km (9 miles) from Hai Phong City.

You will have to travel from Hanoi to Haiphong by car (bus, train) + speedboat to Cat Ba Island + Speedboat to Halong Bay.

 

How to get to Hai Phong from Hanoi

Getting to Hai Phong from Hanoi is relatively quick and easy

  • By train:
    Overall, the traveling hour is around 2- 3 hours/trip. You can depart from Hanoi Railway Station in Le Duan Street, Gia Lam Station in Gia Thuy Street, Long Bien Station in Tran Nhat Duat Street. The ticket fare is about $5-6.
  • By bus
    This is the cheapest option which costs about 2 – $3 only. Depending on your location, you can choose an appropriate station such as Ha Noi Giap Bat Bus Station or Nuoc Ngam Station): around 1h 30m. The traveling time is about 1.5-2.5 hours.
  • By taxi
    It takes about 1h 30m to get to Hai Phong by taxi, quite the same time if you go by personal means of transport like a motorbike or private car. The taxi cost is $75 – $95.

How to get to Cat Ba from Hai Phong

Haiphong to Cat Ba Ferry Schedule (or the reverse)

These days, many tourists catch a bus or car to the chosen ferry station and then get on a speedboat/hydrofoil to Cat Bat Island for about 45 minutes at the cost around VND 150,000-220,000 ($7-10USD).

After getting off the ferry station, they take a bus to Cat Ba Town.

To save cost, you can take a slow ferry of 15 minutes from Got ferry station to Cai Vieng ferry station (the timetable is as below).

After that, take a 30-minute drive to Cat Ba Town

How to get to Tuan Chau from Cat Ba

cat ba ferry to tuan chau timable

The most popular way to get to Tuan Chau Island from Cat Ba Island is by taking a ferry from Gia Luan Station to with ticket price of VND 80,000/person ($4USD).

There are 5 departure times everyday at 

  • 9:00
  • 11:30
  • 13:00
  • 15:00
  • 16:00

Choosing the best transport means from Hanoi to Halong is not easy as there are many factors to consider like the weather, budget, and travel time.

All means of transport described above have pros and cons so please consider them carefully before making your decision.

Conclusion

So if planning to travel to Halong Bay by yourself or in small group or as a group of two, you like to explore and have a budget.

  • Coach
  • Motobike
  • Train

So if you are a solo traveler, a couple, a group, or a family that wants a comfortable and flexible option with a reasonable price

  • Premium Coach
  • Shuttle Bus

If you’re in a tight schedule or just simply want the most relaxing vacation for yourself or family, and would love to experience the stunning view of the whole Halong Bay.

  • Seaplane
  • Private Car

We hope that you can easily find your perfect way to get to Halong Bay from Hanoi after reading this post

Let us know if you have any question by comment below!