Halong Bay is located in Quang Ninh province which is about 165 km east of Hanoi Capital. Getting from Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi (the largest airport in Northern Vietnam in terms of total capacity) to Halong Bay will take 4 hours, therefore most of the travelers after arriving at Hanoi, they will spend a day in the Capital.
The next day they will travel to Halong Bay from Hanoi. This is the most common and perhaps the best plan so you can explore both Hanoi and Halong Bay.
Keep in mind that there aren't public bus line travel straight from Hanoi to Halong Bay but there are many coaches (minibus), which are provided by private companies that you can pick from. Or you can find many other transportation options depending on your preferences, budget, and schedule below.
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From Hanoi To Halong Bay
1. Coach (Mini Bus): This is the most inexpensive transportation to visit Halong Bay. You can catch any coach at My Dinh bus station in Hanoi, which arrives at Bai Chay coach station (4 minutes from Halong City). The whole trip will take about 4 to 4.5 hours and cost you about 100,000 vnd ~$5). Most of the coach is 45-seat type and featured with air-conditioning. You can either call to book the ticket in advance or go to My Dinh Bus Station and by ticket there. Right at the entrance, you will see ticket box of KumHo Viet Thanh which lies between ticket box number 8 and 9.
The staffs don't speak English, so prepare yourself with body language and some simple Vietnamese sentences.
After getting off the coach, you need to catch a taxi or "xe om" (a kind of motorbike taxi). It costs you around 90,000 vnd for taxi and 50,000 - 70,000 vnd (~ $3/person) for “xe om”. This rate is for who get off at Bai Chay station. 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.
Bus Contact Information
2. If you want a more relaxing car, book a limousine service. The car is only 6 to 8 seats with larger space. Especially, they are point-to-point service so you don’t need to worry about catching a taxi. Limousine service rate is around 200,000 to 270,000 vnd/person. Simply type Hanoi, Halong limousine, you will find lots of reliable service providers. Phuc Xuyen limousine (Phucxuyen.com.vn, +84 2033 827 827) is one of the most popular.
3. Shuttle bus: When you book a cruise, you can ask the agent or 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 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 you have booked. After your Halong Bay trip, the shuttle bus will wait outside the cruise center and take you back to Hanoi. On average, it takes about 3.5 hours to get to Halong Bay.
Bhaya Shuttle Bus Information
The 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): 165 km
Travel time (approximate): 3 hours 30 minutes
Rest stop: 2 hours after departure. Around 15 minutes. The rest stop is a chance for you to refresh yourself and stretch your legs before the second part of the journey. The stop normally lasts around 15 to 20 minutes.
For more Bhaya Shuttle Bus Information, please click here.
5. Seaplane: This is the fastest way to travel from Halong and also the most expensive way. However, 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. Some cruise operators do offer a combo package with seaplane transfer and cruise. The Au Co Luxury Cruise is one of the cruises that provide this package. You can find more information here.
Hai Au Aviation (www.seaplanes.vn) is the only service provider in Halong Bay.
~ USD 400/person/round trip
photo credit: Hai Au Aviation
There are a train route From Hanoi and Halong city. However, it is not recommended for both domestic and international tourist. The train is old and takes 7 hours to reach Halong station. You’d better look for other ways
Route: Yen Vien station (Hanoi) - Halong station (Halong city).
Travelling time: 7 hours
Fare: 55,0000 vnd/person ($2.5/person)
From Hai Phong To Halong Bay
With new international airport opening, Hai Phong city - adjacent province of Halong Bay is the nearest airport to Halong Bay. This will give you another choice which saves you much time. Instead of 4 hours transfer from Hanoi like before, now you can fly straight to Hai Phong and get to Halong from here. However, the airport is just opened, and there aren't many international routes fly to Hai Phong yet. It is expecting there will be more direct international flights are opened in near future. You can check whether there is the available route fly from your country straight to Cat Bi International airport in Hai Phong city.
1. Bus from Cat Bi international airport: the airport is about 70km away from Tuan Chau Marina. It takes around 2 hours by car. You can easily catch a bus or taxi from the airport.
- Distance (Hai Phong - HalongBay): 70km
- Travel time (approximate): 2 hours
- Price: 50,000-70,000 vnd/person ($3/person)
2. Waterway: You can catch a ferry from Cat Ba (Gia Luan Station) to Tuan Chau island. There are 5-7 departures each day, about 45 minutes between each departure.
Ferry ticket price for passengers is 70,000vnd/person ($3/person).You will arrive at Tuan Chau ferry station. Take a walk about 2 km to get to the Tuan Chau International Passenger Port where you can embark the cruise.
- Ticket: 70,000vnd/person ($3/person)
- Travel time: 50 - 60 minutes
- Schedule: Tuan Chau – Cat Ba: 7h30’, 9h00’, 11h30’, 13h30’, 15h00’
Cat Ba – Tuan Chau: 9h00’, 11h30’, 13h00’, 15h00’, 16h00’
This way can be less convenient compared to the roadway for a foreigner, but easy and inexpensive if you go from Cat Ba.
photo credit: monkeyislandresort
From Ho Chi Minh city To Halong Bay
1. Airway: the easiest way to travel to Halong from Ho Chi Minh is by airway. Take a Ho Chi Minh - Hanoi flight which you can find lots of departures available. You should be arriving Hanoi 01 day ahead of Halong departure or at the night before. It takes 4 hours to go from Hanoi to Halong Bay so you’d better start off early.
The second option is catching flight direct to Hai Phong, and take a transfer from Cat Bi international airport to Halong Bay.
2. Coach: coach saves you money and not really bad with a modern sleeper bus. There are buses to Hanoi as well as Hai Phong. The price the price range is between 750,000 vnd and 900,000 (~ $39).
The below table gives you a list of buses and their contact.
The price is for reference only, please contact the service providers for exact price.