There are plenty of choices to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay. By bus/van, by train, by taxi, by flight or by motorbike, all are possible and easy. Check below for details.
Hanoi to Halong Bay by bus or by van
This is the easiest and cheapest way we can find. It cost only from 120k ($5). If you had booked a cruise trip but they offer no transportation or the price of it is too high, you can get there by yourself. Most of cruises depart from 3 harbors: Tuan Chau harbor, Got pier or Hon Gai harbor. If you are going to Got pier, check this link, Got pier is on the way from Hanoi to Cat Ba island. If you are going to the other two, read along.
- Stations in Hanoi: most of the buses or vans depart from The Old Quarter on Tran Quang Khai road, local buses depart from My Dinh station. Some of the buses and most of the vans offer pickup at your place, for example Phuc Xuyen bus/van. So you need to determine your departure position to pick the nearest bus. If you stay in The Old Quarter, it is better to catch a bus from there because My Dinh station is 8 km away, costing you $5 for a taxi.
- Stations in Halong Bay: Those buses/vans would drop you at one of the followings: Bai Chay, Tuan Chau, Hon Gai. If you are going to a cruise trip, you need to get off in Tuan Chau or Hon Gai, check with the cruise company for details. If you are visiting Halong city, Bai Chay is the way to go. Or you can pick the one closest to your hotel if you had booked one already.
- Distance/Duration/Departure Time: Halong Bay is 150km from Hanoi. The duration by bus is about 3 to 4 hours, by van is about 2.5 hours. There are buses and vans all day along. Morning buses would pick you up from 7:30 to 9:30 so that you can get on the cruise on time.
- Price: bus price: from $5 to $12 for a bus seat in My Dinh Station, from $8 to $20 for a bus seat from The Old Quarter, from $15 to $25 for a van picking up at your place.
Where to buy ticket
Flights from Hanoi to Halong Bay
Halong Bay is in Quang Ninh province that has a Van Don airport. However the airport is 70 km from Halong city, so it is not an optimal option unless you wish to visit Van Don and around before coming to Halong.
From Hanoi you can catch direct flights to Halong by helicopter or seaplane. Those flights depart from Gia Lam airport, 11 km from city center.
By helicopter, contact Trực thăng Miền Bắc. Add: Km No 1, Nguyễn Văn Linh, Gia Thụy, Long Biên, Hà Nội. Phone: 1900 234 505, the price start from $100 for a Halong sightseeing short flight and would be higher for a Hanoi – Halong trip. If you can’t contact them, contact my friend Tweely at the agency above, she might get you the best deal.
By seaplane, the service is provided by Hai Au Aviation. Floor 11, 70-72 Ba Trieu Street, Hang Bai Ward, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam. Hotline: +84 (0) 962 069 689. You should check with Tweely also, she might get a better deal than on the Hai Au website.
There is a train from Yen Vien station, Hanoi to Halong station. This train is outdated and only run once a day. The train is mainly booked by street vendors to sell their vegetables in Halong city and come back. It departure at 4:55 and takes 8 hours to Halong. Even locals choose bus instead of this very slow train. However, no one can stop you from an experience like in the photo below, it is 1 out of a million experience.
By Motorcycle or by car/taxi
A taxi would cost you about $70 (1.600k) for 150 km from Hanoi to Halong, a private car costs you similar.
If you travel by motorbike, check the map below. Be sure to check the “Avoid Highways” option because motorbike is not allowed in highway in Vietnam. It would take around 3 to 4 hours. Check out some notices while riding motorbike in Vietnam here.
Overall, if you book a cruise trip in Halong Bay, I recommend you book the transportation with them also. Otherwise, my article had covered you up. Check my other posts about accommodations in Halong and best cruises in Halong Bay.