Halong Bay is located in Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam is recognized as the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the most favorite tourist attractions in Vietnam. It is about three hours(180 km of land) east of Hanoi.
The beauty of this place is due to the Emerald green waters of the Gulf of Tonkin, limestone pillars and around 2000 islets. It is a vision of ethereal beauty.
This place is mostly famous for thousands of limestone islets. All the islets are of different shape raising up from the immensely blue water. This place is on the bucket list of all travelers who are visiting Vietnam.
The biggest confusion is how to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay. This article will give you all the information that you need about traveling from Hanoi to the Halong Bay.
There are many ways to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay.
Bus (Most Popular and Inexpensive land transport)
Tourism development is considered as one of the provincial priorities as Halong Bay has become an international tourism hotspot. Due to the increasing number of tourists’ demands to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay, the traffic has been upgraded in the recent years.
The buses are all luxurious and very comfortable minivans, vans, limousines or shuttle buses. Traveling by bus takes about 3,5-4,5 hours from Hanoi to Ha Long.
You’ll get a different experience while traveling by different means of transport which you can find below:
Local Coach for Backpackers:
Local coaches are the most convenient and popular way to travel from one place to another. It is also the most inexpensive of traveling.
Traveling by local coach helps you observe local people of Vietnam very closely. Also, you’ll get to experience all the beautiful landscapes of Vietnam. A coach is also very helpful for those travelers who are not a good map reader.
The usual route of local coaches is Hanoi – Hai Duong – Hai Phong – Bai Chay (Halong). The journey is almost about 4 to 5 hours long. There is no surcharge on the weekend.
The earliest and last coach departs at 06:00 am and 08:00 pm. The service is very good. Every 1 or 2-hour coaches leave for Halong Bay from various stations of Hanoi.
And for coming back to Hanoi, the first bus departs at 12:30 pm and the last bus is at 09:30 pm from Halong Bay.
Ticket from Hanoi to Halong Bay
You can book tickets from various travel websites of Vietnam. There is a wide range of service providers. Choose wisely by reading the reviews and just enter your departure date and time and after a few more clicks you are provided full-day schedule from all service providers. You can also make a call at their office or just directly walk into the office and make reservations.
But ensure to make bookings in advance.
Few local coach stations in Hanoi are:
● My Dinh Station
● Nuoc Ngam Station
● Giap Bat Station
● Yen Nghia Station
● Gia Lam Station
Though the coach is not completely ideal as it is quite unsuitable for a day trip from Hanoi. The coach is not available directly from the Old Quarter.
The main travelers of the shuttle bus are foreign tourists that's why shuttle bus is famously known as the tourist bus. It is very convenient and straightforward. It is small high-quality and comfortable bus including Ford Transit, Limousine Bus which have from 9 to 16 seats.
It stops on the way only for a small break of 15 minutes. It takes less time to travel as compared to a local coach, about 3 - 3.5 hours. It also provides some services like wifi, water etc. The departure time is usually early around 07:00 or 08:00 am.
Station in Hanoi to catch Shuttle bus:
As this is a tourist bus, instead of departing from local stations it picks up passengers from the Old Quarter.
You can also catch shuttle buses from some of the local stations.
You can book tickets from various service providers available on the internet or call them. If you are staying in the Old Quarter you can directly walk into various tourist bus agencies and book tickets. This is the most convenient way.Although Shuttle service is much better and comfortable than local coaches it still takes a lot of traveling time.
This is the most carefree and painless mode of transport. Private taxi/car should be your choice if you want your privacy and travel at your own speed without any rules and regulations.
It is a good choice for a small group or family as there is a lot of space for luggage. Family members can sit close to chit-chat and enjoy. A businessman can also work on their way and utilize that time. It will give you a carefree and direct journey at your own conditions.
Get Private Taxi/Car at:
You will not face any problem in hiring a taxi. The prices are charges as per the electricity meter. Price varies depending on the size of the taxi. So there are no chances of any kind of scams. You can call to various taxi brands and book a taxi or you can ask at the hotel to book a taxi for you.
You can also bargain with the taxi drivers for a round trip. This way you will be able to enjoy your day trip in almost half the price.
Private car with a driver
You can hire a car with a driver and this service can be provided to you by many companies. The price for the private car to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay ranges from low to high.
There are many factors that can affect the price of this journey. Example the size, the brand, and status of the car, waiting surcharge, etc.
A private car without a driver
This is not highly recommended as you have to drive the car on your own. The process is complicated. Also, you must own a B1 driver license and original identity card.
Private Taxi/Car can have a lot of hidden risks. It may not be safe to travel by car. Drivers can take you from longer routes and in worst case get lost on your way which will mess up your whole journey.
This is the most adventurous way of traveling although it is not convenient as compared to other modes. You can be completely active and flexible with your schedule and you’ll get to explore the journey very closely. The time taken to complete the journey is 3.5 - 4 hours.
Rent a motorbike
There are many kinds of bikes available and you can rent them very easily.
A lot of them are available in the west area and the Old Quarter.
Rent a bike according to your needs and for this, you have to submit the photocopy of your passport to the owner along with the deposit and renting fee.Disadvantages of the motorbike
There are actually many disadvantages to driving a motorbike. It requires you to have a good driving skill for a distance of 180 km. Another obstacle for you is when the bike breaks down.
Weather could also be a disadvantage especially when it rains heavily. There are chances of an accident.
Therefore, for people having no experience, it can be very dangerous to travel by motorbike. You can easily get lost. The traffic and the route can confuse you and lead you in the wrong direction.
It is the most vintage and traditional way of traveling. It offers a lovely view and gives you an insight into Vietnamese culture. There is just one train departing per day. The journey is about 5-7 hours long.
It is very easy to book a train ticket. You can book the ticket on various website or straightaway call a number 1900 1224 or 0978 198 489 to book a ticket if you are departing from Yen Vien Station.
This is the least popular and most expensive as compared to other transports. The train is very inconsistent and you may not find a train on the day you want to travel.
You will get an adventurous and thrilling experience while traveling by helicopter. On your journey, you will witness 8 beautiful sightseeing minutes. Enjoy the extraordinary view and lovely view of the sky on this time-saving trip of 45 minutes.
To get the flight will depart from Gia Lam Airport which is a small airfield owned by the military at about 9 a.m. There are 12 seats in the helicopter and it can carry a maximum of 4800 kg.
For some, this is the experience of the lifetime but for others, it can be fearsome. It is not economically friendly at all and it’s not always available due to the insufficient number of passengers.
This is the best way to experience the stunning view. It offers the most incredible view of all Vietnam’s heritages and sightseeing to the local and international tourists.
To catch a seaplane you need to check-in at Noi Bai Airport. The main destination is Hai Au Aviation in Halong. The crew is well trained and they will help you when you face any problem. The capacity of the seaplane is 12 people along with 7kg hand luggage.
The main reason for tourists’ decision to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay by seaplane is because of the incredible view from the sky.
You will have the close-up view from above which is completely different from the one you get from the cruise and the breathtaking view will mesmerize you. It just takes you 60 minutes to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay by a seaplane.
From Hanoi to Halong Bay: How to choose a suitable transportation
It depends on a lot of factors.
● Season and weather are the most important factors affecting what transport to choose. In the summer, all transports seem to be possible except for motorbike. It is so hot that it can probably burn you. So make the wisest decision accordingly.
● Budget is the main and decisive factor. The suitable transports for you are the local coach, motorbike or train if you have the little budget.
● Size of the group also plays an important role in choosing appropriate transportation.