Journey from Hanoi to Halong Bay – Transportation complete guide

Embarking on the journey from Hanoi to the magnificent Halong Bay promises a world of natural beauty and unforgettable experiences. As you plan this adventure, knowing the best means of getting from Hanoi to Halong Bay is crucial. 

This guide covers the essential details, from the distance between these two incredible destinations to a range of transportation options. Whether you’re in pursuit of convenience, affordability, or a unique travel experience, we’ve got you covered. Read on to navigate the path from Hanoi to Halong Bay with ease and make the most of your visit to this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Hanoi to Halong Bay map – Overview of the trip

Halong Bay lies in Quang Ninh Province, a journey that previously consumed 4 hours to traverse from Hanoi to Halong City. Today, this transit has been significantly reduced, taking only 2.5 hours. Most travelers begin their journey at Noi Bai International Airport, situated 30 km (19 miles) from Hanoi, which is the primary gateway to Halong Bay. However, for the convenience of foreign visitors, there are now additional options available. These include Van Don International Airport, located 50 km from Halong City, and Cat Bi International Airport, positioned 44 km from the city.

Traditionally, travelers would spend a day exploring the capital before heading to Halong Bay the following day. However, the new highway introduced at the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019 has shortened the distance between Hanoi and Halong from 175km to 125km. As a result, travel time from the capital to Halong has been reduced to 2-2.5 hours by car. This development allows those with limited time to visit Halong Bay from Hanoi and return on the same day, providing a more accessible opportunity to experience this extraordinary destination.

You can refer to the chart below for a better understanding of the distance from Hanoi to some of the most popular locations in Halong Bay

LocationDistanceTravel time
Hanoi to Halong bay (Bai Chay bus station)150 km (93 mi)2 hours 15 minutes
Hanoi to Tuan Chau Island (for cruise port)145 km (90 mi)2 hours 12 minutes
Noi Bai International Airport (HAN) to Halong bay174 km (108 mi)2 hours 35 minutes

Everything you need to know about each travel method from Hanoi to Halong Bay

Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a mesmerizing natural wonder located in Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam. This enchanting bay is renowned for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone karsts and islets adorned with lush vegetation. Visitors are captivated by the bay’s ethereal beauty, making it one of Vietnam’s most iconic and sought-after destinations for cruising, water activities, and exploration.

Can’t choose a method to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay just yet? Let us help you with the complete guide below!

Shuttle buses connecting Hanoi and Halong Bay are a popular choice for both local and international travelers, offering a range of options to suit various budgets. These buses travel along the efficient 5B Hanoi – Halong Highway, ensuring a swift journey of approximately 2.5 to 3 hours. Typically, departures from the Hanoi Old Quarter pickup points occur between 8 am and 9 am.

Shuttle buses come in three primary categories:

  • Standard shuttle buses offer varying passenger capacities, including 16-seater minivans, 29-to-30-seater and 35-seater buses, as well as 45-seater options. 
  • For added comfort and style, luxury shuttle buses, such as 9-seater Limousines and 19-seater Fuso vehicles, provide high-end amenities. 
  • Additionally, many cruise companies operate their shuttle services, ensuring convenient pickups and drop-offs at designated locations for their Halong bay tour from Hanoi.

Travel duration: Approximately 2.5 to 3 hours

Cost: The price per person for one-way travel between Hanoi Old Quarter pick-up and drop-off locations typically ranges from 350,000 VND to 500,000 VND. Please note that additional fees may apply if your departure or arrival point is outside the Old Quarter.

Below are some of the operator that are highly recommended:

Shuttle bus operatorsSchedulesWebsitePhone
Van Don XanhEvery hour from 6:00 – 21:00http://vandonxanh.com02033991991 (Vietnamese/English)
VIP Anh HuyEvery 30 minutes from 3:30 – 21:00http://vipanhhuy.vn0911863919 (Vietnamese)
Trung Thành Limousine6:00 – 21:00http://trungthanhlimousine.vn0966896896 (Vietnamese)

Public bus – The most economical choice

If you’re seeking an affordable way to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay, taking a local bus is a practical choice. You can catch a bus from three main stations:

  • My Dinh Station: Located at 20 Pham Hung Street, My Dinh 2, Nam Tu Liem District, Hanoi, this large and modern bus station is approximately 11 kilometers from Hanoi Old Quarter. It serves as the primary hub for connecting Hanoi with provinces in the North and Northwest regions, such as Quang Ninh, Yen Bai, Lao Cai, Phu Tho, Hoa Binh, Ninh Binh, and more. You’ll find frequent buses departing from here to Bai Chay, Quang Ninh Province, for convenient trips to Halong Bay.
  • Giap Bat Station: Situated at 6 Giai Phong Street, Hoang Liet Ward, Hoang Mai District, this bus station is about 7 kilometers from Hanoi Old Quarter, with a travel time of roughly 17 minutes. Giap Bat Station serves as the bustling gateway connecting Hanoi to provinces in Central and Southern Vietnam, including Nam Dinh, Ninh Binh, and Ho Chi Minh City. While primarily catering to those destinations, there are a few buses that run the Hanoi – Halong route.
  • Gia Lam Station: Located at 9 Ngo Gia Kham Street, Long Bien District, Hanoi, this bus station is the closest to Hanoi Old Quarter, just 5.5 kilometers away. However, it offers limited bus options for traveling to Halong. Gia Lam Station mainly provides public buses connecting Hanoi to other destinations like Bac Giang, Hai Phong, Thai Binh, Thanh Hoa, Ha Giang, and Tuyen Quang Province.

Travel duration: Approximately 2.5 to 3 hours

Cost: from 100,000 VND to 250,000 VND per person for a one-way trip

Below are some of the operator that are highly recommended:

Bus stationBusOperation and Phone
My Dinh Bus StationKumho Viet ThanhEvery two hours from 6:00 – 19:00
Hotline: 1900088835 (Eng/Viet)
Phuc XuyenEvery hour from 5:00 – 20:00
Hotline: 19006799 (Eng/Viet)
Anh QuyEvery day at 16:00
Hotline: 0969960459 (Vietnamese)
Nghia Anh LimousineEvery hour from 10:30 – 14:30
Hotline: 0898253838 (Vietnamese)
Giap Bat Bus StationSinh ThanhEvery day at 12:00
Hotline: 0915446929 (Vietnamese)
Thao ThieuEvery day at 8:30
Hotline: 0913578413 (Vietnamese)
Gia Lam Bus StationDai PhatEvery day at 20:50
Hotline: 0983472299 (Vietnamese)

Train – The scenic choice

Ha Noi the main train station
Ha Noi the main train station

If you are not pressed by time, the journey from Hanoi to Halong Bay via train is quite an unforgettable experience. Lately, the Hanoi-Halong Bay railway route has been reinstated, presenting tourists with the option of taking a leisurely train journey to Halong Bay, offering a truly authentic Vietnamese experience with serene landscapes passing by. This happens to be one of the most economical ways to reach Halong Bay, with tickets costing just under 80,000 VND (approximately 4 USD).

The train operates once daily, departing from Yen Vien station in Hanoi at 4:55 am and arriving at Halong station at 11:41 am, providing a relaxed 6-hour and 45-minute travel experience. Upon reaching Halong City, you will need to arrange further transportation to your hotel or the cruise port. The return journey to Hanoi mirrors this schedule, departing from Halong station at 1:50 pm and arriving in Hanoi at 8:31 pm, offering a similarly comfortable journey.

Travel duration: 6 hours 45 minutes

Cost: 94,000 VND ~ 4 USD/ pax

Motorbike – The adventurous choice

Travel on motorbike in asia/ Credit: bublikhaus/freepik
Travel on motorbike in asia/ Credit: bublikhaus/freepik

Are you an adventure enthusiast? If you relish the freedom to set your own schedule, choose your route, and embrace exhilarating adventures, then renting a motorbike for your journey to Halong Bay is a worthwhile option. In Hanoi, you’ll find numerous places where you can rent a motorbike at an affordable price, ranging from 118,000 VND to 164,000 VND per day. Your hotel can assist you in this regard, or you can reach out to motorbike rental centers directly.

Travel duration: 3 to 4 hours

Cost: 118,000 VND to 164,000 VND ( about 5 – 7 USD)

Certainly, here’s a revised version:

Evidently, driving from Hanoi to Halong Bay offers abundant opportunities to relish the picturesque scenery along both sides of the road. Nevertheless, this choice is better suited for adventurous individuals with a moderate level of physical endurance. There are two commonly used routes to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay:

  • Route 1: Hanoi – Bac Ninh – Halong (155 kilometers): Commencing your journey in Hanoi, you’ll first navigate along Highway 5 for approximately 10 kilometers until you reach Sai Dong Junction. From there, continue along Highway 1 for about 23 kilometers, leading you to Bac Ninh Province. Subsequently, take Highway 18, traveling approximately 122 kilometers, to reach your final destination, Halong City.
  • Route 2: Hanoi – Hai Duong – Halong (170 kilometers): While this route may be somewhat longer, it offers added convenience. Starting your journey in Hanoi, make your way to Nam Sach Town in Hai Duong Province. From there, proceed along Highway 183 to ultimately reach Halong City

Seaplane – The unique choice

Opting for a seaplane is a truly extraordinary and expeditious means of traveling from Hanoi to Halong Bay. It not only offers the quickest route but also provides an awe-inspiring 45-minute aerial voyage with captivating vistas of the bay. Prices for this remarkable journey range from 4,100,000 VND to 9,000,000 VND.

  • Departure Port: Noi Bai International Airport – Counter E09, Lobby E, Terminal 1, Noi Bai International Airport, Hanoi.
  • Arrival Port: Tuan Chau Marina – Villa T7, Tuan Chau Commercial Urban Area, Tuan Chau Ward, Halong City, Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam.

For booking the seaplane adventure, you can visit the Hai Au Aviation website at seaplanes.vn or get in touch via [email protected] – Hotline: 0962069689. Alternatively, you may contact cruise providers to inquire about package deals that include the seaplane flight. Upon landing at Tuan Chau Cruise port in Halong Bay, you can easily reach your final destination by using a Grab taxi or a regular taxi.

Travel duration: 45 to 60 minutes

Cost: 4,100,000 VND – 9,000,000 VND/pax (about 175 – 385 USD/ pax)

Private car – The utmost comfort choice

For those seeking flexibility and privacy, renting a private car for the journey from Hanoi to Halong Bay is an excellent choice. This allows you the liberty to create a personalized itinerary, take breaks as desired, and travel at your preferred pace. You can arrange this directly through your tour or cruise provider or opt for private car services to make the trip.

Travel duration: 2 hours and 30 minutes to 3 hours.

Cost: 2,300,000 VND to 4,000,000 VND round trip.

Below are some of the operator that are highly recommended:

OperatorWebsiteAddressContact
Hanoi Transfer Service Companyhanoitransferservice.com21 Ma May Street, Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi098 235 8282
Green Lion Busgreenlionbus.com16E Phu Hung Street, Hang Ma, Hoan Kiem098 470 9669
Mai Linh Taximailinh.vn47 P. Kim Đồng, Giáp Bát, Hoàng Mai, Hà Nội098 328 7222

Final thoughts

Embarking on the journey from Hanoi to Halong Bay is a thrilling adventure that unveils the stunning beauty of Vietnam. Whether you opt for a scenic drive, a leisurely cruise, or a tailored tour with Viland Travel, this transition is a gateway to a world of awe-inspiring landscapes and captivating experiences. Viland Travel’s customized tours ensure a seamless and enchanting trip, allowing you to explore the remarkable Halong Bay at your own pace. 

As you navigate this incredible route, be prepared to be enchanted by the majestic karst formations and the emerald waters. Your journey from Hanoi to Halong Bay is bound to be an unforgettable part of your Vietnamese expedition.

Book now and get ready for the vacation of your life-time!