Hanoi, the transportation center in North Vietnam, is the first destination which tourists will continue exploring other famous sites. Many guests want to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay to spend their holidays. There are some choices for this distance to go, including a local bus, shuttle bus/van, motorbike, private car/taxi, train and helicopter.
Vietnamdrive shares with you about these methods to move, covering the advantages and disadvantages of each mean.
Local coaches – local lifestyle
The local coaches are the cheapest way to travel from Hanoi to Halong. Like other places in Vietnam, the local public buses in Hanoi have a lot of disadvantages. Foreign visitors do not want to choose this kind of vehicle to travel.
- The buses start from My Dinh Bus Station, at 20 Pham Hung Street, My Dinh, Hanoi, or Gia Lam Bus Station, Hanoi. (Phone: 0243 768 5754 – 0243 768 5549)
- They stop at Bai Chay Bus Station, Ha Long city, Quang Ninh, Province, Vietnam.
- Price from 100,000 VND to 130,000 VND.
- You can check at this to book online www.vexere.com.
- Travel duration: 4 hours
- Main route: Hanoi – Hai Duong – Hai Phong – Bai Chay (Ha Long)
Advantages when using local coaches:
- Price is low, so it is suitable for small budget travelers.
- Traveling by bus is a unique way to experience the local culture. You will learn more about the daily life of Vietnamese people.
- It’s suitable for the guests having a lot of time to travel and want to be the locals.
- Foreign visitors may find it difficult to understand instructions of the drivers and the Vietnamese staff working on the buses.
- Most of the Vietnamese guests on the coaches cannot speak English; this makes international travelers feel alone or ask any information.
- The buses do not stop at beautiful sites for taking pictures along the way.
- It takes a long time (from 4 hours) to use the public coaches from Hanoi to Halong.
- You need to pay more to move from your hotel to the bus station.
Tourist Shuttle Buses/Vans
Contrary to the local coaches, tourist buses have more convenience and comfort. Many travel agents or cruise companies offer these buses to carry their guests from Hanoi to Halong Bay quickly. Most of the shuttle buses or vans pick their guests the old quarter of Hanoi. If you stay outside of the ancient city, you make sure to know the pick-up location when you book the tickets. Price is from 220,000VND per guest.
- You share a bus or a van with other guests.
- Make sure you come to the pick-up point on time because this transfer service often does not wait when you come late.
- Not flexible to stop to take pictures on the way.
- Not convenient when you stay outside the old city of Hanoi.
- This method is also cheap to travel.
- Bus staff may speak English so that you can communicate with them. And, many guests on the buses can speak English as well.
- The bus often comes to Halong Bay on time for the visitors catching their boats.
- The buses or vans are cleaner than the local coaches.
If you do one day tour in Halong Bay from Hanoi, you should book the shuttle bus or van tickets at the same cruise companies. They will have the duty to make sure time to fit with the cruise tour; therefore, you do not worry about coming late for the journey.
Other buses of Hoang Long Express starting from Kim Ma Bus Station on Nguyen Thai Hoc Street run every 15 minutes. If you do one day tour in Halong, you should take a bus at 8:00 am to make sure you have enough time to come to your boat in Halong Bay.
Motorbikes – Adventurous transportation
Motorbikes are not recommended for the guests who care of safety, do not want adventure, and cannot ride motorcycles well in Vietnam. Thus, it is not an option for most tourists; just for those who have time and like adventurous travel. The important thing we want to remind it again that riding a motorbike from Hanoi to Ha Long is quite dangerous. All of the risks are your own.
- Motorbikes are the most dangerous travel in Vietnam.
- Traffic in Vietnam is hard to control.
- Driving skills make foreigners’ hard to know how to go.
- Using a motorbike takes longer time (from 4 hours) to drive from Hanoi to Halong.
- It’s not convenient to travel under the hot sun or in the rain.
- Cheap travel, from 100,000 VND (= 5$) for a motorbike per day without a driver.
- Flexible journeys to stop taking pictures along the roads.
- Experience with the most popular vehicle in Vietnam.
Here are a few addresses to hire motorbikes in Hanoi:
- Van Chinh Motorbike, Address: 24D Ta Hien, Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Phone: 0989 595 533
- Nguyen Tu Motorbike, Address 1: 112B Nguyen Van Cu, Long Bien, Hanoi, or Address 2: 24D Ta Hien, P. Hang Buom, Q, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi. Phone: 0942467674
- Gia Hung motorbike, Address: 41 Ngo Huyen District, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. Phone: 0936 345 123 Mr. Hai
A private car/ van or taxi
A taxi or a private car/ van is an easy way to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay. However, this kind of transport is not an economical option. This choice is for the guests traveling with a family, wanting a special time together, or having a lot of luggage. Most of the hotels or travel agencies supply this kind of transfer.
Please note that taxi often charges more than you hire a private car/ van from travel agencies, especially when you travel two ways from Hanoi to Halong Bay and back. Also, the service quality of car hire from travel companies is much better than a taxi. And, you do not worry about extra-charge for road tolls or parking fee when you travel with a travel company because they often give you a price including those tolls.
Advantages when hiring a private car:
- Door-to-door service
- Really convenience
- Comfortable and private transfer
- Flexible stop for restroom or at a beautiful spot to take pictures.
- Most of good air-conditioner cars/ van
- Better care
- Faster than other buses or motorbikes.
- You pay a higher price to travel.
- For private car service, you need to book in advance.
We strongly recommend a private car/ van transfer for luxury travel. Tourists have limited time for their holidays in Vietnam. And, if you travel from Noi Bai Airport directly to Halong Bay, a car or van is the best choice. Price is different from 85USD for 2 guests from Hanoi city center, and you may pay extra if you travel from Noi Bai Airport.
Travel by a train from Hanoi to Halong Bay
The local people use this public transportation at low cost and when they transfer heavy products. The train from Hanoi to Ha Long lasts 8 hours, so it is not an appropriate choice for travelers. The train starts from Yen Vien Train Station in Hanoi at 4:55 am and coming to Halong at 11:45 pm, and come back from Halong at 1:45 pm and get to Yen Vien at 8:31 pm.
Please note that the train station in Halong is around 5 km to the cruise port. You have to range suitable time to move to your cruise on time.
- It takes too long to move from Hanoi to Halong Bay (8 hours).
- Quality of the train is not really good.
- Starting time at Yen Vien Train Station is early, at 4:55 pm. You need to move from your hotel in Hanoi to this station at least 20 minutes before its departure.
- Tickets need to be bought in advance. www.dsvn.vn
- Low price
- Carrying heavy products
- Local style to learn the culture
Airplane/Helicopter – expensive way
A new transfer service is a helicopter. This one just takes 45 – 60 minutes from Gia Lam or Noi Bai Airport to Halong. Travelers will have different feelings to move on a helicopter, that is a fascinating experience.
- Station to start in Hanoi: Gia Lam or Noi Bai Airport (asking when booking a ticket)
- Station to stop in Halong: Tuan Chau Port
- Price for one person: 7.750.000VND – 9.700.000VND (328 – 420USD)
- Booking with travel companies, or at Hai Au Aviation (www.seaplanes.vn), fly from Counter E09, Lobby E, Terminal 1, Noi Bai International Airport, Hanoi, Vietnam.
- It is rapid to move from Hanoi to Halong Bay (45 minutes)
- Tourists can watch the landscape Hanoi and Halong from the sky.
- Flying is a great luxury trip to have a new experience.
- Good customer care.
- It’s costly.
- Need to book a ticket in advance.
Popular roads from Hanoi to Halong Bay
The roads to Halong Bay from Hanoi, Vietnam are currently completed with good conditions. The construction of the roads has often upgraded well, which helps improve the movement from Hanoi to Halong Bay easily. The system of urban roads is invested in expanding every year.
1. Hanoi – Bac Ninh – Ha Long: 150 km
This route from Hanoi to Halong is the shortest travel by car average 3 hours 30 minutes. The detail of this journey is as follows:
You start from central of Hanoi or train station:
- Hanoi Centre (or Hanoi Train Station) – Tran Hung Dao Street – Tran Quang Khai Street – Chuong Duong Bridge: 10km
- Chuong Duong Bridge – Nguyen Van Cu Street – Ha Huy Tap Street – Tran Phu Street – Rotation Down 6 Bac Ninh: 25 km
- Bac Ninh – Highway 18 through Chi Linh & Uong Bi – Halong Bay: 115km
2. Ha Noi – Hai Duong – Ha Long: 170km
This is a convenient overland route. From Hanoi via Hai Duong to Nam Sach town, and turn along Highway 183 through the town of Sao Do (Red Star), Dong Trieu and Uong Bi. From Uong Bi, tourists can easily travel to Halong.
This route takes from 3 to 4 hours to drive.
Map from Hanoi to Halong Bay – photo google map
3. Ha Noi – Hai Duong – Hai Phong – Ha Long: 160km
This route is the popular ways to Halong Bay from Hanoi. The travelers will travel through Hai Duong City to Quan Toan (Hai Phong City), and turn along Highway 10 to go on Highway 18A in connection with Uong Bi town to Halong.
This route takes tourists from 3 hours to 3 hours 30 minutes to drive.
4. Noi Bai International Airport (Hanoi) – Bac Ninh – Ha Long: 160km
The road from Noi Bai International Airport (Hanoi) to Halong Bay is very convenient. Travel time by car takes between 2 hours and 30 minutes to 3 hours.
The journey can be as follows:
Noi Bai Airport (Hanoi) along the Noi Bai – Bac Ninh (32km). When coming to Bac Ninh, tourists can go on Highway 18A connecting with Pha Lai, Sao Do, Dong Trieu and Uong Bi; then, come to Halong Bay.