How To Get To Halong Bay From Hanoi

Halong Bay is the most popular destination nowadays for all travellers when they come to Vietnam. The outstanding karst outcroppings in Halong Bay are made of 3000 years of chemical reactions between dripping water and limestone. It is truly an outclassed and unforgettable experience. Located in the Northeast of Vietnam in Quang Ninh Province, Halong Bay is about 180 kilometres away from the Hanoi City Center.

Most of the people’s concern is how to get to Halong Bay from Hanoi. This article will give you some idea about the means of transport to find the answer to how to get to Halong Bay Vietnam.

1. Shuttle Bus

1.1. Local Coach

How to get to Halong Bay from Hanoi with a Local Coach?

There are many means of transportation such as buses, airplanes, trains, motorbikes, bikes, etc. However, the coach is the most popular, helpful, and easy for everyone to move from place to place. All you need to do is just check the time of the coach, get a taxi to the Coach station, buy a ticket (or you can buy online) then you can travel by coach easily.

Normally, for the trip to Halong Bay, almost of coaches will have the same route and depending on Coach Providers, you will have to go to the My Dinh Station or Gia Lam Station. For example, if you travel with Kumho Viet Thanh and Phuc Xuyen Limousine, you have to go straight to My Dinh Station (which takes about 45 minutes by taxi from Old Quarter). Nevertheless, if you travel with Dai Phat Limousine, you could go to Gia Lam Station (about 30 minutes from Old Town).

Get to Halong bay from Hanoi by Local Coach

What is the duration of the local coach?

The journey from Hanoi to Halong Bay by a local coach usually takes about 4.5 – 5 hours’ drive (including the short break in the middle way). The price for a one-way ticket can be from USD 5$ – USD 10$ depending on the quality and size of the coach. The earliest coach can start at 06:00 am and the latest one is at 20:00. Some of the coaches will leave every 1 or 2 hours depending on Coach Providers. The first coach comes back to Hanoi at 12:00 and the last one is at about 21:30.

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Everyone knows that local coaches will be cheaper than other transportation. You do not even have to know the way to the place; you just need to choose the correct route for the coach. Along the way, you also could see the beauty of landscapes and take some photos.

However, there are several difficulties with a local coach. Firstly, most of the local coaches are for local people so that is the reason why the salesperson and drivers only speak Vietnamese. You could have some misunderstanding during all the time travelling with the local coach or when you meet your stop, they could not understand you well.

Secondly, the local coach stations are not in the Old Quarter. Normally, you have to take a taxi to get there and it takes about 45 – 60 minutes depending on traffic. It is also an inconvenient thing. Finally, since the local coach has departed time quite early sometimes you could not know if they cancelled the coach or not. You will not have an enjoyable holiday if you always be in a hurry and worry about the time of the coach. The local coach may not run as the schedule because they try to get more customers on the ways to fulfil their bus for better benefit.

1.2.Luxury Bus

How to catch this to get to Halong Bay from Hanoi?

Besides the local coach, there are luxury buses also known as tourist buses considered the best way to get to Halong Bay from Hanoi, which provides high quality and has a smaller size than a local bus. With the luxury bus, you will have a better service; and feel more comfortable and convenient than the other one. The luxury bus provides 9 to 16 seats such as Ford Transit, Mercedes Benz, D-car, etc and some have free wifi. This kind of bus serves foreign customers so they mostly pick up passengers from the Old Quarter.

Some luxury buses are available at the local Coach stations; others offer a pick-up service in your hotel. You could find this bus through tourist bus agencies or book directly on the website of the common bus or call them.

Get to Halong bay from Hanoi by Luxury Coach

What is the duration of the luxury coach?

For the luxury bus, it does not pick up the passengers in the middle of the way or along the way. You just only have a short break about 15 -20 minutes on the way. Compared to the local coach, the luxury bus will take less time to travel from Hanoi Center to Halong Bay about 3 – 3.5 hours.

The price for this kind of bus is about USD10$ to USD20$/way/ticket/person depending on the brand name and instant service on the bus. There are several good brand names such as Hoang Long VIP, Minh Anh Limousine or Ha Vy Limousine. They will depart around 07:30 to 08:30 depending on the provider’s schedule.

What are the advantages?

As a luxury bus serves foreign tourists, the salesperson and driver could speak a little bit of English (enough to understand the easy sentences and common problems while travelling with them). If you only spend a one-day trip, the luxury bus should be a perfect choice for you. Furthermore, you do not need to go too far to catch the bus. It is very easy and convenient to book the ticket and you do not need to worry about its service. It is definitely better than a local coach.

2. Private Car/Taxi

2.1. Private Car

If you travel with a group, or family or even you just want to have your own private area, a private car or taxi would be the second option for you. You will have more space to put your luggage along with you; and can chitchat with your companions. Especially for the businessperson, the private car is a good choice if you want to work on the way.

You could book a private car on the website of a famous and good company, for example, Viantrans and get the price. You also can call directly to book the car with them. The driver just cannot understand simple sentences enough to communicate with you. The price range is from USD100$ - USD 150 $ for 2 ways depending on the brand name of the car (sedan, SUV, or Van) one way or round trip. Normally the price includes the parking fee, driver fee, petrol, and tolls fee. The duration of the private car would be around 3 – 3.5 hours almost the same as the luxury bus. You could leave at 08:00 or 08:30 according to your schedule.

2.2. Taxi

Similar to the private car, a taxi also considered being the second option for a private transfer. Despite choosing a good brand name for private transfer above, you could choose a reliable taxi including Xanh SM, Hanoi Taxi Group, Mai Linh Taxi, ABC Taxi, etc. The price is from USD 80$ - USD 100$ for 1 way depending on taxi size and the taxi driver could not speak English as well.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of choosing a private car/ taxi?

As mentioned before, if you are the one who does not want to follow something with schedules or if you like privacy, a private car/taxi would be a perfect choice for you. You could have time to take some nice photos, you could work all the time travelling without any disturbance from others.

However, besides the advantages, you may have to deal with some hidden dangers that we could not predict. For example, we are not sure if the driver may overcharge you more for some reasons along the way. You are alone and you do not know what to do because you also could not communicate well with them. It seems not a good idea for those who travel for the first time and have no idea or experience with a taxi and the route before.

Get to Halong Bay from Hanoi by Taxi

2.3. Motorbike

If you are a motorcycle traveller; you love adventure and love to conquer the road, the motorbike is not a bad idea to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay. You could have a valuable chance to discover every local thing you see along the way. You could manage the time effectively by yourself during a 3.5 – 4-hour drive with different routes as well. This is your holiday, your schedule and your time so you can decide to do anything you like, so choose the best time to visit Halong Bay to have a great trip. Besides, the price of a motorbike is much cheaper than a private car or taxi.

How to rent a motorbike?

Nowadays, it is not hard to find a motorbike-renting store. You could find many shops in the Old Quarter from manual motorcycles to the automatic ones. Some of the shops provide also motocross for travelling on a special route. They can speak English quite well and they can give you some advice when you choose a motorcycle. You could see some websites for motorbike renting or James Hanoi motorbike. Otherwise, you could ask the hotel to give you some suggestions.

There are several brand names of motorcycles such as Honda and Yamaha common to rent. The price of renting and depositing this motorcycle for one day is around USD6$ - USD20$/day depending on different motorcycle types and schedules. They will ask you a photocopy of your passport besides the rent fee and deposit.

What are the disadvantages of the motorbike?

Easy to see that if you would like to travel by motorbike, you must always make sure that you have enough health conditions and good driving skills. Just imagine with 180 km distance from Hanoi to Halong Bay, if your motorcycle has any problems, you have to find a place to fix it. Moreover, what if it rains hard along the way? There is a very high possibility to have an accident and get lost because of the weather. In conclusion, the motorcycle is not a smart choice for those who do not have experience and may not a good idea when travelling to Halong Bay.

There is one more thing the cruises in Halong Bay depart in the schedule so if you are late you cannot catch the cruise and that is not easy to book the cruise on arrival because most of the cruises are needed to book in advance.

4. Railway

Vietnam has an old history of Rail transport and it is a very interesting experience when travelling by train. If you would like to gain a deeper knowledge of the local people’s lives in Vietnam, you should choose to travel by train. You could have a great opportunity to see the landscape on both sides along the way in the bumpy train.

4.1. How to get the train?

Travelling from Hanoi to Halong Bay, there is just only one train departing per day from Yen Vien Station, Gia Lam. It takes about 30 minutes from Old Quarter to the train station (about 9 km away). They have two kinds of seats: hard seats and soft seats. The price would depend on which kind of seat you choose. Normally it is USD 4.5$ for local people and for foreigners would be USD 15$/one-way ticket and leaving is at about 05:00 am. Otherwise, you could choose the Gia Lam Station and travel with Halong Express. The journeys with the train would be around 05-07 hours long and it’s quite safe.

Get to Halong Bay from Hanoi by Train

4.2. How to book the train ticket?

You just need to access an online website for the information and go straight to the Yen Vien station, call the hotline number +84 19001224 or +84243 995 2588 to book a ticket 24/7.

4.3. What are the disadvantages of the train?

Besides the local atmosphere you could have, travelling by train is not a popular way compared with others. You have to wake up early in the morning, take a taxi to the station and spend that long to travel to Halong Bay. In addition, after arriving at Halong Station, you have to take a taxi to transfer to the hotel or harbour. Moreover, the price is higher than other transportation and you also have to spend more time with this. If you just have a one-day trip, the train is not a good idea for you.

5. Airway

Nowadays, air transport is quite common with everyone. If you have a good budget and would like to save time in spite of waiting 3 or 4 hours on the shuttle bus or coach, travelling by aircraft is not a bad idea. You could receive a luxury service and a comfortable journey with much beautiful sightseeing from the sky.

5.1. Helicopter

How to get the helicopter?

Airbus Helicopter has the EC 155 B1, which can carry a maximum of 4800kg and 12 seats (minimum is 06 people). You will take a taxi to Gia Lam Airport (a small airfield which owned by the military) and your flight will depart at 09:00 am. It takes about 45 minutes from Hanoi to Halong Bay. The price for one person from Hanoi to Halong Bay is USD 440$/way/person, from Halong to Hanoi is USD 390$/way/person and round trip is USD 770$/person.

What are the disadvantages of the helicopter?

As you may know, travelling by aircraft is not for some people who have heart disease, height fear or fear of small spaces (Claustrophobia). The helicopter is quite small and it is not friendly to the environment and expensive but not always available as well.

5.2. Seaplane

Besides the helicopter, you can have the second option for travelling by air: Seaplane. This is not a new transportation in other countries. The seaplane is even more popular and definitely safer than traditional aircraft.

Get to Halong Bay from Hanoi by Seaplane

Why should you travel by seaplane?

In Vietnam, seaplane service is provided by Hai Au Aviation with three Cessna Grand Caravan 208B – EX amphibian aircraft. You could have professional tourism and personalized service when travelling by the seaplane. From the check-in process, you will have a VIP welcome service from the well-trained team; especially International pilots. Along the journey, you will have a valuable chance to see the magnificent view of limestone and mountain ranges in Halong Bay from the sky within 60 minutes. It should be an unforgettable memory that you've ever had before. Furthermore, you could use 3G, 4G and take some nice pictures of all the breathtaking sceneries you like as well as all the other digital devices that are allowed when travelling by seaplane.

How to book the seaplane?

As mentioned above, you could check the website of Seaplane Vietnam to see further information about Hai Au Aviation or call directly to their company at +84 962 069 689 to get suggestions and assistance. Normally, they offer 2 flights per day: one is at 10:00 and 14:00 for winter time. Summertime will be between 09:00 and 14:00. The price range is from USD 175$ - USD 385$ for a one-way trip depending on the timing and season. Round trip is around USD 350$. The passenger could bring 07 kg hand luggage and need at least 03 pax when travelling by the seaplane. The duration of the trip is 60 minutes including 15 minutes for you to fly around the Bay and glimpse the beautiful landscape.

To summarize, there are 07 different ways to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay: local coach, shuttle bus, private car/taxi, train, helicopter, and seaplane. Each one has advantages and disadvantages but overall, you should choose the means of transportation depending on your schedule, the size of your team, budget, and purpose of travel.

You have to decide which transportation would be suitable for you because it will influence a lot for your whole trip and you do not want to ruin anything from the beginning. If you just only have a one-day trip and do not have much time to look around the sightseeing, the shuttle bus would be a perfect choice. On the other hand, if you are a business person and you want to work in a private space along the trip, the private car must be your first option. Otherwise, if you are a big youngster group and want to have an interesting experience on the road, you could try a motorcycle and you can conquer the road together, explore new places, and have nice photos back home to show to your family and your friends. In my opinion, a shuttle bus (luxury bus for tourists) would be the perfect choice for the trips to Halong Bay because of the convenience as well as the reasonable price and the service that you will have.

These are some best tours from Hanoi to Halong you may be interested in:

Check the different cruises at  Halong Bay Cruises and Lan Ha Bay Cruises provided to you by Incredible Asia Journeys to choose the best option for your group in Halong Bay.

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