Halong Bay, recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Site, is one of the most favorite tourist attractions in Vietnam. Visiting this beautiful site must be on the priority list of almost every visitor to Vietnam.
It is famous for thousands of limestone islets with different shape raising up from the immensely blue water. Halong Bay is located in the northeast of Vietnam, right at the heart of the Gulf of Tonkin.
It belongs to Quang Ninh province. Halong Bay is at a distance of 180 km far away from the capital of Hanoi. If you are confused about which means of transports to choose, this article will give you all the relevant information that you need.
Popular & inexpensive land transport
The common path for all coaches is Hanoi – Hai Duong – Hai Phong – Bai Chay (Halong). Thanks to the upgraded traffic management, the journey is only about 4 to 5 hours long.
- The ticket price for one time can vary from US$ 3.5-7, it depends on a coach’s size and quality.
- The first coach leaves at 6 a.m and the last one at 8 p.m. There is a coach leaving every 1-2 hours due to various providers’ schedule. The first coach comes back to Hanoi leaves at about 12 p.m and the latest one will leave at about 9.30 pm.
Why not select the coach to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay?
In spite of all the benefits addressed above, the coach is not completely ideal for traveling from Hanoi to Halong Bay.
- The coach mainly serves local people.
- On the other hand, most of the time it is found that neither the salesman/saleswoman nor drivers can speak English. The language barrier creates a lot of difficulties in communicating and understanding people. Also, the fact that the coach is not available at the Old Quarter, where most of the foreign tourists reside, makes it much less comfortable.
- Although, the coach is quite uncomfortable for a day trip. You would depart for and leave the place early, you will always be in a hasten.
Convenient and straightforward The shuttle bus is also called the tourist bus. As the main customers of this shuttle bus are foreign tourists, they provide more convenience and comfort for them.
- It is the mostly small high-quality bus that includes Ford Transit, Limousine Bus which comes in a range from 9 to 16 seats.
- It will take very less time in traveling from Hanoi to Halong Bay than traveling by coach, about 3 – 3.5 hours.The departure time is usually at 7.30 a.m or 8.30 a.m or earlier depending on visitors schedule.
- You would have to pay about US$ 10-20 for a one-way ticket/person.
Carefree and Painless If you are not satisfied by the local coach and shuttle bus then, private car/taxi can be your choice to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay.
- It suits flexible travelers who don’t want to follow any rules or timetables. This is proved to be a good choice for a small group like friends or family. There is enough space that can accommodate a lot of luggage, even if you want to make a BBQ on the beach.
- The private car/taxi is best suited to a businessman who wants to work on their way without being disturbed.
- The price can vary from US$43-57 per way depending on the size of the taxi and if you want to share or not.
Private car from Hanoi to Halong Bay Private car with driver.
The same thing is also applied if you want to hire a private car with driver. There are a lot of agencies and individuals who will provide you with this service promoting themselves on the internet.
They may make your journey less boring if you travel alone or give you a lot of interesting facts along the way. Also, experienced drivers will be helpful in giving you correct suggestions of accommodations or services you can take.
- The average price ranges from US$ 80-100 for the round trip that includes parking fee, tolls, petrol, driver.
A private car without driver:
The private car without driver can be a good choice for you but it’s not highly recommended. The process to hire a car is too convoluted.
- You should have the B1 driving license, original identity card, a bike with registration certificate (or cash instead) and original household.
- The cost ranges from US$ 25-65 per day and can be increased on the weekend and holidays.
- It is completely illegal for people to drive a car or motorbike in Vietnam if they don’t have a Vietnamese driving license. The International Driver’s Permits are not recognized.
Why not prefer a private car/taxi while traveling from Hanoi to Halong?
Taxi and the private car has the same disadvantage as the coach and bus which is the long trip. Apart from that, some hidden risks are also there. The taxi drivers might take a longer path to charge more from you. Some other more serious issues lie at the private car without a driver.
An adventurous journey to Halong Bay.Even though the motorbike is not convenient for a long journey, yet to the curious travelers who want an adventure and explore everything on their own, it is such a great means of transport.
Using a motorcycle, you could be completely flexible and active during your schedule.
The total time taken in traveling from Hanoi to Halong Bay by motorbike is about 3.5 – 4 hours.
How to rent a motorbike?
It’s not too hard to find a bike rental store. Many of them are available in the Old Quarter and area around West Lake. Most of the owners know how to speak English fluently, so you can interact with them easily.
The rental and the token fee is US$ 250-400 and US$ 4-20/day respectively.
What are the disadvantages of the motorbike?
Actually, there are many disadvantages of traveling with a motorbike. Within the distance of 180 km, it requires that you should have good health and driving skill.
Otherwise, you will easily get tired and will have no energy left for doing any other activities. A bigger obstacle for you while traveling is when your bike breaks down. If you’re somewhere in the middle of the highway, the chance is that you will find a store to fix it is almost zero.
Another disadvantage is the weather, especially during rains season or sudden rains. It’s challenging for the drive under the rain, followed by the chance of an accident.
Traditional and vintage The train is last land transport on the list as well as the oldest one. Not like other noisy, rushing vehicles, the train will give you the feel of being brought back to the old days.
- A lot of people like the sound of the train whistle and the moment when it slowly departs from the station. There is just one train departing per day. The journey is about 5-7 hours long. You have the option to choose to depart from Yen Vien Station.
- The average ticket price is approximately US$4.5depending on whether you choose a hard seat or soft seat. The departure time is at about 5 a.m.
- You can also leave from Gia Lam Station with Halong Express. The price for foreign tourist is US$15/one-way ticket (single tourist) and US$10/one-way ticket (group tourist).
Extraordinary view from air transport
Nowadays, air transports are for everyone.
1. Helicopter: Time-saving trip The first one to mention is the helicopter. It’s the EC 155 B1 manufactured by Airbus Helicopter.
The helicopter will bring you the adventurous and thrilling experience from the height of 300-500 meters and 120-150 meters in 8 sightseeing minutes. In addition to this, it just takes you about 45 minutes to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay. This will save your lot of time comparing to any other vehicles.
Where to get the flight from Hanoi?
Your flight will leave from Gia Lam Airport which is a small landing strip owned by the military at about 9am .
- These helicopters are 12 seaters that can carry a maximum 4800 kg weight. This implies that just a small group of people is allowed to travel.
- The price for the trip from Hanoi to Halong is US$ 440/person, Halong to Hanoi is US$ 390/person and US$770/person for the round trip.
Stunning close-up view Traveling in seaplane has become popular in other countries for a long time. Different from the helicopter, Hai Au Aviation provides the flying service that is just like any other airlines.
- A seaplane check-in counter is there at Noi Bai Airport. It will take you in 60 minutes to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay. It is well suited for anyone who wants to save traveling time and have one day trip.
- The seaplane capacity includes 12 people along with 7kg hand luggage. The journey is 60-minute-long including 15 minutes flying around Halong Bay for the tourists so that they can enjoy the beauty of this heritage.
- The price for a one-way ticket varies from US$ 175-385 depending on the season and the time of the day. However, it’s still cheaper compared to the helicopter.
- You can take more advantage of the round trip which is just at US$ 350.