It is 180 km from Hanoi to Halong, which takes 3.5-4 hours by normal way. However, after the new highway came into operation at the end of 2018, the distance between Hanoi and Halong is shortened from to 125km. The traveling time from the capital to Halong reduces from 4 hours to 2-2.5 hours by car.
Guest can get from Hanoi to Halong Bay by the 5 main transports, which includes motorbike, coach, shuttle bus, private car and helicopter.
This little article will provide the most up-to-date (2019) guide of these 5 main transports from Hanoi to Halong (or Vice Versa) and help you find the cheapest and fastest option.
Cost: Around 100,000 to 2,000,000 VND ($5-50/trip)
Time: 4 hours
Suitable to: Familiar with Vietnam Traffic, Adventure, Budget Travelers, Vietnamese
For adventurous, budget travelers who wish to explore local life and scenery, there is no better way than driving a motorbike from Hanoi to Halong.
You cannot go New Express Way if choosing this type.
How To Rent A Motorbike in Hanoi?
It is not hard to rent a motorbike in Hanoi, even if you are a foreign visitor.
You can find many renting stores in the Old Quarter (or the West Lake area) with English-speaking staffs and owners.
Depending on how long your stay in Vietnam, you can choose among monthly, weekly, and daily rental services.
These rental shops provide various types of automatic, semi-automatic, manual, and touring bikes with such brand name as Honda, Yamaha, Attila, Air blade, etc.
Here are a number of motorbike rental shops in Hanoi for reference:
|Hanoi Motor Tour||+842466505019||119/37 Alley 167 Tay Son Str, Dong Da Dist||www.chothuexemay.net|
|James Hanoi Motorbike||+84911076007||No 289 Ngoc Thuy Str, Long Bien Dist, Hanoi||www.jameshanoimotorbikes.com|
|Bon Bon Motor||+84855222555||No 246 Ton Duc Thang Str||FB name: BonBonMotor|
|Rent A Bike Vietnam||+84904392423||15 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho Dist||www.rentabikevn.com|
|Phung Motorbike||+842439381105||13 Ngo Huyen, Hoan Kiem Dist||www.phungmotorbike.com|
To rent a bike, you need to pay for the deposit and rent fees.
Generally, the rental shop will request a copy of your passport.
If you are required to provide your original assortment, try to negotiate because you may need your passport for other occasions.
Pros & Cons of Motorbike Option
Driving a motorbike is obviously a cheap and convenient option for free spirits who love to explore Vietnam more closely.
The daily rental and gasoline cost are quite cheap; plus you can start your journey whenever you want.
On the other hand, it is quite dangerous to engage in traffic in Vietnam so make sure you are willing for the risk and have good driving skill.
Plus, it is easy to get lost, especially if this is your first trip in Vietnam.
Even if you pay attention to the weather forecast before your trip, it can rain heavily all of a sudden or your bike breaking down along the way.
Last but not least, a 3-hour drive can be time-consuming and tiring.
If you insist on this option, choose a good motorbike and protection gear, a map and phone that can connect to the internet to google your way.
It is best to go with a friend so that you have someone to rely on in case of emergency.
And remember that as a foreign visitor, you have no Vietnamese driving license so actually it is not legal to drive a motorbike around.
Generally, local traffic officers do not make things hard for you but you need to wear a helmet and follow traffic signals to avoid any trouble.
Local Bus (Coach)
Cost: Around 100,000 to 2,000,000 VND ($5-50/trip)
For those who travel on a budget, this is an attractive option as it costs as low as 100,000 VND (less than $5).
This means of transport usually has a lot of seats (the 45-seat type is quite common).
It took only 3 hours to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay by bus, thanks to the new Highway.
Sometimes it took longer since local bus have to go around bus stops to pick their customers.
How to go from Hanoi to Halong Bay by bus?
Firstly, choose a bus station and bus provider.
You can take taxi to bus station nearest to you in Hanoi.
Here are some main local coach stations that run Hanoi – Quang Ninh Province:
|Mỹ Đình Station||20 Pham Hung Street, My Dinh 2, Nam Tu Liem, Ha Noi city|
|Nước Ngầm Station||No 1, Ngoc Hoi Road, Hoang Liet Ward, Hoang Mai Dist|
|Giáp Bát Station||6, Giai Phong Str, Hoang Liet Ward, Hoang Mai Dist, Hanoi|
|Yên Nghĩa Station||Highway 6, Yen Nghia Ward, Ha Dong Dist, Hanoi|
|Gia Lâm Station||No.9, Ngo Gia Kham Str, Long Bien Dist, Hanoi|
Secondly, buy ticket directly at the station.
The staffs don’t speak English, so prepare yourself with body language and some simple Vietnamese phrases.
Here are the list some reliable bus companies that you can consider:
|Kumo Viet Thanh||45||Start 08:00 – End 18:30||100.000 VND/ way||(024) 3533 3888||186 Đường Láng, Đống Đa, Hanoi|
|Every 30 Minutes|
|My Dinh Station|
|Phuc Xuyen||19||Start 05:45 -End 17:45||120,000 VND/1way||(024) 3236 3236||19 Mạc Thái Tổ, Cầu Giấy, Hà Nội|
|Every 30 Mintues|
|My Dinh Station|
|Ka Long||40||19:00 – 22:30||230.000 /1way||(020) 3247 3536||My Dinh Station|
|20:30 – 00:00|
|21:30 – 00:30|
Further, you can book by phone by calling to bus station or bus companies but I am not sure that they can speak English so this may be not successful.
All of the buses will stop at the city center in Quang Ninh or Bai Chay bus station then you will have to take a taxi to your hotel/cruise port.
For your reference, Phuc Xuyen has Limousine service and usually provides drop-off at specific location, with a higher rate than other buses.
Lastly, after getting off the bus, you need to catch a taxi or simply order Grab/Uber via your smartphone. The cost depends on distance from bus stop to your hotel/port (about VND 10,000/km by taxi).
Please make sure that you have name & address of your hotel & port name & location of your cruise.
Is Local Bus Option A Good Choice ?
Yes, this option is really cheap and quite easy to find coach providers but it has many disadvantages.
The staffs at coach station don’t speak English, so prepare yourself with body language and some simple Vietnamese phrases, or else you may miss your stop.
Coach stations are not located near the Old Quarter or West Lake where many visitors live so you need to catch a taxi, city bus or Grab/Uber to the station.
The traveling time is long, up to 4-5 hours as the bus will go around to fill up customers along the road. So if you go for a cruise, you need to take a coach early (~6:00 am) to be on time for cruise (departing at 12:00).
And remember to add taxi fee to the cost. If your destination is far from bus station, the cost may be much higher.
However, if you still want to go with this option, do your research or maybe go with premium coach providers.
Or Maybe you will find some options below are more suitable for you.
If you go for a night-cruise in Halong Bay, you can ask cruise company for shuttle bus. Most of them provide this service along with cruise tour & it is quite cheap (about $20-25/roundtrip)
Sometimes, cruise companies will run special promotions and offer free transfer if you book a cruise with them.
Similarly, some companies provide Halong day-boat service with shuttle bus also.
In general, it is easy and convenient because you don’t have to worry about pick-up and drop-off point. The bus will pick you at your hotel on request and take you to the cruise ports. If you go for cruise, after Halong Bay trip, the shuttle bus will wait outside the cruise center and take you back to Hanoi.
However, if you not book any cruise tour, you can book tourist bus in some tour desk or tour companies in Hanoi Old Quarter Area. The cost will vary among different companies and different types of bus. But normal price will around 250-500 ($10-20) for a one-way ticket.
Pros & Cons of Shuttle Bus Options
It offers more comfort and convenience than a local coach with normally 7-16 seats only.
The bus goes straight to Halong City and might have only a break within short time (~15 mins). It will not welcome new customers along the way.
Besides air-conditioner, Wi-Fi and water bottles are also served on the bus. Drivers can usually communicate in basic English so this can reduce the language barrier.
You won’t have to worry about buying bus tickets or taking extra vehicle from bus station to the port.
If you do not want to share the trip from Hanoi to Halong Bay with strangers or wish to be totally flexible of your schedule, a private car is your best option.
Whether you are a busy businessman on holiday or go on a vacation with your family, a private transfer will ensure the best privacy for you.
At a cost, of course: about 1,300,000 vnd – 5,000,000 vnd ($70-100) for one-way.
You can book easily with us, which is always guaranteed to provide the best service with the cheapest price.
Is it necessary?
If comfort, flexibility, and privacy really matter to you, then yes, you should consider a private transfer.
If you want to take a taxi to Halong Bay, make sure to confirm the total cost with the taxi driver. They may charge you more when they take a longer route than necessary.
Seaplane is the only option if you want to fly from Hanoi to Halong Bay.
This is also the fastest way to travel from Halong and also the most expensive way.
it takes only 45 minutes to travel from Hanoi to Halong by seaplane.
Traveling by seaplane you will get an amazing view of Halong from above which a normal transfer or cruise cannot provide.
To book seaplane, you can contact directly with the company that operates the seaplane.
Hai Au Aviation is the only service provider in Halong Bay with the cost of around $400/person/round trip.
All means of transport described above have pros and cons. And depending on your priority (such as budget, travelling time, number of person in group, etc…), please consider them carefully before making your decision.