Halong Bay is one of Vietnam's most popular and famous tourist attractions as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Travellers who visit Halong Bay get a chance to see thousands of limestone islands in different shapes and sizes scattered in the spectacular bay. There are many ways to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay as you can choose from taking a seaplane, bus, train, motorbike or joining a tour.
Travel time: About 45 minutes
Price: 180-450 USD
Taking a seaplane is the fastest way for getting from Hanoi to Halong Bay. Travellers choosing a journey by air will have an exotic experience and get a chance to see Halong Bay from a different perspective.
Hai Au Aviation Company is the only company in Vietnam that provides seaplanes between Hanoi and Halong Bay. More details about the flights to Halong Bay can be seen and flights can be booked on the company’s website: Seaplanes from Hanoi to Halong Bay.
Trip by seaplane is available in 2 types of service:
a) Flight from Hanoi to Halong Bay service
When choosing this service, the seaplane departs from Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi and flies to Tuan Chau Cruise Port in Halong Bay.
The price of this journey by a seaplane is from 4,200,000 VND to 9,700,000 VND. The price of the flight varies depending on the time and season.
b) Sightseeing flight over Halong Bay
The company also provides flights for tourists who want to see the magnificent scenery of Halong Bay from above. This scenic tour by a seaplane starts at Tuan Chau Cruise Port in Halong Bay. The flight takes approximately 25 minutes. When taking this flight, you will be able to see the beauty of Halong Bay from a completely different perspective than is offered by cruise ships.
The price of the sightseeing flight over Halong Bay is from 2,400,000 VND to 2,870,000 VND.
Taking a seaplane from Hanoi to Halong Bay is a way that is not suitable for budget travellers because it is the most expensive mean of transportation. However, it is the most impressive way by far!
2. Tourist Bus
Travel time: About 3-4 hours, depending on traffic conditions
Price: 11-25 USD
Taking a tourist bus or shuttle bus is a convenient way to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay for foreign tourists. Tourist buses are usually smaller and of better quality than local buses as they provide good facilities including Wi-Fi on board. Tourist buses do not stop on the way to pick up more passengers so the journey is faster. However, there is normally a break for 15-30 minutes for getting a snack or going to toilet. In general, drivers of tourist buses can speak a little English so if you have any problem, it is not so hard to deal with it.
There are a variety of bus companies that serve tourists traveling from Hanoi to Halong Bay.
You can also choose to book you bus trip with a company that organizes tours to Halong Bay. However, when booking a trip with a company that organizes tour to Halong Bay, you must depart from Hanoi in the morning around 7:30-8:30 as you will be traveling together with other people who bought Halong Bay tour packages.
The duration of the trip from Hanoi to Halong Bay by tourist bus is around 3.5-4 hours. The price of tourist bus tickets normally starts from 250,000 VND (approx. 11 USD).
List of companies that provide tourist bus services on the route from Hanoi to Halong Bay and approximate ticket prices in 2019 are as follows:
- The Sinh Tourist - 270,000 VND (approx. 12 USD)
- Ab Vietnam Travel - 250,000 VND (approx. 11 USD)
- Ha Long Fancy Travel - 280,000 VND (approx. 12 USD)
- Rosa Eco Bus - 560,000 VND (approx. 25 USD)
- Sapa Dragon Express - 250,000 VND (approx. 11 USD)
Each company providing tourist bus services has different pick up points and drop off points. Therefore, you should check in advance which company is close to your accommodation as it will make your trip easier and there will be no additional costs for getting to the pickup point. Some of the companies also offer hotel pick up service but it’s normally limited to the Old Quarter area.
If you want more convenience on your trip from Hanoi to Halong Bay, you can choose a luxury limousine van which only has from 9 to 16 seats. Vans are normally a little more expensive, but most of them include pick up and drop off at the hotel.
List of companies that provide limo vans on the route from Hanoi to Halong Bay and approximate ticket prices in 2019 are as follows:
- Co To Limousine - 360,000 VND (approx. 15.5 USD)
- NINH QUYNH - 330,000 VND (approx. 14 USD)
- Luxury Van Limousine - 360,000 VND (approx. 15.5 USD)
- Green Lion Bus - 370,000 VND (approx. 16 USD)
- Ab Vietnam Travel - 430,000 VND (approx. 18.5 USD)
It is recommended to book your trip from Hanoi to Halong Bay online via Bookaway as there you can find the schedule of various tourist buses and vans as well as their pick up and drop off locations.
3. Local Bus
Travel time: About 4-5 hours
Price: 100,000-120,000 VND (approx. 4.5-5 USD)
Journey by a local bus is another interesting option for getting from Hanoi to Halong Bay as it is a cheap way of travelling which also offers a local experience. It is suitable for people who want to travel adventurously, have limited budget or are well familiar with Vietnam. We wouldn’t recommend taking a local bus if you are visiting Vietnam for the first time as it might be too complicated.
How to travel by a local bus from Hanoi to Halong Bay?
First you need to get to one of bus stations in Hanoi.
Bus stations in Hanoi
Travel to Ha Long from Gia Lam Bus Station
There is a local bus departing from Gia Lam Bus Station in Hanoi to Ha Long's Bai Chay Bus Station which costs 120,000 VND (about 5 USD). Tickets can be purchased at the bus station. The journey can take up to 5 hours as the bus will stop on the way to pick up more passengers.
Travel to Ha Long from My Dinh Bus Station
There is a local bus departing from My Dinh Bus Station in Hanoi to Ha Long's Bai Chay Bus Station. The ticket price is 100,000 VND (about 4.5 USD). The bus departing from My Dinh Bus Station is larger and takes less time to travel to Ha Long than the bus departing from Gia Lam Bus Station. The first bus departs at 6:00, the last bus - at 17:00.
Bus station in Ha Long
Local buses from both Hanoi's bus stations arrive at the bus station in Ha Long which is called Bai Chay Bus Station. From Bai Chay Bus Station you can travel to various tourist attractions by motorbike taxi, locally called Xe Om. Approximate prices of motorbike taxi:
- from Bai Chay Bus Station to Ha Long City - 20,000 VND
- from Bai Chay Bus Station to Tuan Chau Island - 40,000 VND
- from Tuan Chau Island to Cat Ba Island a ferry is available for 80,000 VND
Travel time: About 6-7 hours
Price: 80,000 VND (less than 3.5 USD)
There is only 1 train per day departing from Hanoi’s Yen Vien Station, which is located about 10 km from the center of Hanoi, at 4:55 and arriving at Ha Long Station at 11:45. The journey from Hanoi to Ha Long by train takes about 6 hours 50 minutes. When the train arrives at Ha Long City, you must make your way to the hotel or the cruise terminal by yourself.
The train back to Hanoi departs from Ha Long Station after midnight (at 1:50) and arrives to Hanoi at 8:31 in the morning.
Traveling by train is the cheapest way for getting from Hanoi to Halong Bay. Price of train ticket starts at just 80,000 VND (less than 3.5 USD) but the journey may not be the most convenient and will take the longest.
Travel time: depends on the driver
Price: 200,000 VND (about 8.5 USD) per day
When traveling around Vietnam, motorbikes can be seen as the most frequently used vehicles, even when traveling to distant locations. Therefore it is quite normal to rent a motorbike in Hanoi and drive to Halong Bay. This method is suitable for people who love adventures the most.
The price of renting a good quality motorbike, which can seat 2 people, in Hanoi should be around 200,000 VND (about 8.5 USD) per day.
Halong Bay is 170 kilometers away from Hanoi so the trip won’t be easy and you should be very careful because the road to Halong Bay is not that good and quite dangerous. The journey by motorbike can take longer than the bus. If you are planning to visit Halong Bay only for a short time, riding a motorbike might be too tiring and just not worth it.
6. Halong Bay Tour
The most convenient and popular way to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay is taking one of Halong Bay tour packages. The price of the tour normally depends on the quality of services and the included number of activities at Halong Bay. Some of the tours offer free transfers to/from hotel in Hanoi.
As there are so many Halong Bay tours on offer, you should choose the tour that is most suitable for you. Our recommended tours are offered by a reliable online travel agent.
You can visit the world famous UNESCO World Heritage Site by joining one of these popular Halong Bay tours: