6 Transportation Options to Get from Hanoi to Halong Bay & Vice Versa

I. Distance from Hanoi to Halong Bay

Halong Bay, one of Vietnam’s most iconic and picturesque destinations, is located approximately 165 kilometers (102 miles) east of Hanoi. This UNESCO World Heritage site is renowned for its emerald waters, towering limestone karsts, and breathtaking scenery, attracting millions of tourists each year. The journey from Hanoi to Halong Bay typically takes between 2.5 to 4 hours, depending on the mode of transportation chosen. In this guide, we’ll explore six transportation options to help you decide the best way to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay and vice versa.

Distance from Hanoi to Halong Bay
Distance from Hanoi to Halong Bay

II. How to Get from Hanoi to Halong Bay?

1. By Local Bus

By Local Bus
By Local Bus-Source: Collected

Traveling by local bus is one of the most budget-friendly options for getting from Hanoi to Halong Bay. Several bus companies operate regular services between the two destinations, making it a convenient and affordable choice for travelers.

Bus Companies and Schedules

Some of the prominent bus companies that operate this route include Hoang Long, Phuc Xuyen, and Kumho Viet Thanh. Buses generally depart from major bus stations in Hanoi, such as My Dinh, Gia Lam, and Luong Yen bus stations, and arrive at Halong City. The buses run frequently throughout the day, with departures every hour or so.

Cost and Travel Time

The cost of a one-way ticket ranges from 100,000 VND to 150,000 VND ($4.30 to $6.50 USD), depending on the bus company and the type of bus. The travel time is approximately 4 hours, but this can vary depending on traffic conditions and the number of stops along the way.

Pros and Cons

Pros: Affordable, frequent departures, a good option for budget travelers.
Cons: Longer travel time compared to other options, less comfortable, may be crowded, potential for delays due to traffic.

2. By Shuttle Bus 

By Shuttle Bus - Source: Collected
By Shuttle Bus – Source: Collected

Shuttle buses are a popular and convenient option for tourists traveling from Hanoi to Halong Bay. These buses are often part of tour packages and provide door-to-door service, picking you up from your hotel in Hanoi and dropping you off at your destination in Halong Bay.

Tour Companies and Packages

Many tour companies, such as Vietnam Discovery Travel, offer shuttle bus services as part of their Halong Bay tour packages. These packages often include transportation, a guided tour, and activities such as cruising, kayaking, and visiting caves and islands in Halong Bay.

Cost and Travel Time

The cost of shuttle bus services varies depending on the tour package and the level of comfort. Prices typically range from 200,000 VND to 400,000 VND ($8.60 to $17.30 USD) for a one-way trip. The travel time is around 3.5 to 4 hours, with a short break midway for refreshments and restrooms.

Pros and Cons

Pros: Convenient, comfortable, door-to-door service, often includes tour activities and guides.
Cons: More expensive than local buses, travel time similar to local buses, limited departure times based on tour schedules.
3. By Train

By Train-Source: Collected
By Train-Source: Collected

Traveling by train from Hanoi to Halong Bay is another option, offering a scenic and relaxed journey. While not the fastest mode of transportation, it provides a unique experience and an opportunity to enjoy the countryside views.

Train Services and Schedules

The train service from Hanoi to Halong Bay is operated by Vietnam Railways. The train departs from Yen Vien Station in Hanoi and arrives at Halong Railway Station. However, it’s important to note that the train service is limited, with only one or two departures per day, depending on the season.

Cost and Travel Time

A one-way ticket costs approximately 70,000 VND to 115,000 VND ($3 to $5 USD), depending on the class of seating. The journey takes around 7 hours, making it the slowest option available.

Pros and Cons

Pros: Scenic route, comfortable seating, an enjoyable travel experience for train enthusiasts.
Cons: Long travel time, limited departure times, not as convenient as other options, requires additional transportation from Halong Railway Station to your final destination.

4. By Seaplane

For those seeking a unique and luxurious travel experience, flying by seaplane from Hanoi to Halong Bay is an unforgettable option. This mode of transportation not only offers a quick journey but also provides stunning aerial views of the bay.

Seaplane Operators

Hai Au Aviation is the primary operator offering seaplane flights from Hanoi to Halong Bay. The seaplanes depart from Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi and land on the water near Tuan Chau Marina in Halong Bay.

Cost and Travel Time

The cost of a one-way seaplane ticket ranges from $175 to $250 USD, depending on the season and availability. The flight duration is approximately 45 minutes, making it the fastest way to reach Halong Bay. Additionally, many flights include a 15-minute scenic tour over Halong Bay, offering breathtaking views of the bay’s limestone formations and emerald waters.

Pros and Cons

Pros: Fastest travel time, unique experience, stunning aerial views, luxurious and comfortable.
Cons: Expensive, limited availability, subject to weather conditions.

5. By Motorbike

For the adventurous traveler, riding a motorbike from Hanoi to Halong Bay offers an exhilarating way to explore the Vietnamese countryside. This option provides flexibility and the freedom to stop and explore along the way.

Route and Travel Tips

The most common route for motorbike travel is via National Highway 5B and the Hanoi-Hai Phong Expressway. The journey covers approximately 160 kilometers and takes around 3.5 to 4 hours, depending on traffic and road conditions. Be sure to wear protective gear, carry a valid driving license, and follow local traffic laws.

Cost and Travel Time

Renting a motorbike in Hanoi typically costs between 100,000 VND and 200,000 VND ($4.30 to $8.60 USD) per day. Additional costs include fuel and any potential toll fees along the expressway. The travel time is similar to that of a shuttle bus, but it can vary based on your pace and stops.

Pros and Cons

Pros: Adventure and freedom, scenic routes, flexible schedule, budget-friendly.
Cons: Requires experience and caution, weather-dependent, potentially uncomfortable for long rides, limited luggage capacity.

6. By Private Car

For travelers seeking comfort, convenience, and flexibility, hiring a private car with a driver is an excellent option. This mode of transportation allows you to travel at your own pace and enjoy a hassle-free journey.

Car Rental Services

Numerous car rental services in Hanoi offer private car hire with experienced drivers. Companies such as Vietnam Discovery Travel provide reliable and professional services, ensuring a comfortable and safe journey.

Cost and Travel Time

The cost of hiring a private car ranges from 1,500,000 VND to 3,000,000 VND ($65 to $130 USD) for a one-way trip, depending on the type of vehicle and the level of service. The travel time is around 2.5 to 3.5 hours, making it one of the fastest options available.

Pros and Cons

Pros: Comfort and privacy, flexible schedule, door-to-door service, faster travel time.
Cons: More expensive than other options, dependent on traffic conditions, requires prior booking.

7. Suggestion to Book a Tour: Vietnam Discovery Travel

When planning a trip to Halong Bay, booking a tour with a reputable company like Vietnam Discovery Travel can enhance your experience and provide a seamless travel journey. Vietnam Discovery Travel offers a range of tour packages that include transportation, accommodation, meals, and guided activities. Here are some reasons to consider booking with Vietnam Discovery Travel:

Comprehensive Packages: Their tour packages cover all aspects of your trip, from transportation and accommodation to meals and activities, ensuring a stress-free and enjoyable experience.
Experienced Guides: Knowledgeable and friendly guides provide valuable insights into the history, culture, and natural beauty of Halong Bay.
Customized Itineraries: Tailor-made itineraries cater to your interests and preferences, whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural exploration.
Quality Service: Vietnam Discovery Travel is known for its professional service, attention to detail, and commitment to customer satisfaction.

By booking a tour with Vietnam Discovery Travel, you can make the most of your visit to Halong Bay and enjoy a memorable and hassle-free experience.

In conclusion, there are several transportation options to choose from when traveling from Hanoi to Halong Bay. Whether you prefer the affordability of local buses, the convenience of shuttle buses, the scenic route of a train, the luxury of a seaplane, the adventure of a motorbike, or the comfort of a private car, there’s a mode of transportation to suit every traveler’s needs. For a seamless and enjoyable trip, consider booking a tour with Vietnam Discovery Travel, ensuring a memorable journey to one of Vietnam’s most breathtaking destinations.