Hanoi to Halong Bay: 6 BEST Ways to Travel

Last updated: January 22, 2021 / 4727 Views

About 160 km away from Hanoi, Halong Bay is easily accessible in different ways. Let's look at the 6 best ways to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay and find out the one that perfectly fits the bill.

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Hanoi – Halong Bay is one of the most popular travel routes in Vietnam, which is really convenient to travel back and forth. Halong Bay boasts breathtaking scenery that you should never miss while visiting Hanoi and the North of Vietnam. With a distance of 170 km and an updated transportation system, tourists can easily transfer between Hanoi and Halong Bay by different choices of the train, buses, private cars, flights, etc.

Thanks to the new highway since the end of 2018, it takes only 2.5 hours to travel from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay by road. Then you can save a lot of time on transportation for a day excursion. If money isn't a problem, it's highly recommended that you should choose a luxury and private transfer.

Hanoi to Halong Bay

Travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay

Distance and travel time from Hanoi to Halong

The distance from Hanoi to Halong Bay is about 170 km, specifically from Hoan Kiem Lake to Halong City. It usually takes about 2.5 hours to get to Halong by car via the new National Highway 5B (also called Hanoi – Hai Phong Expressway). However, as 5B Road only allows 4-wheel vehicles, if you travel by motorbikes or want to save the toll fees, it may cost you 3.5 hours to arrive at the gate of Halong Bay after traveling through the National Highway No 18.

There are many possible arrivals and departure points, and below is detailed information about some most popular travel routes between Hanoi and Halong Bay.

Pick-up location

Drop-off location

Travel route


Travel time

Hanoi Old Quarter Halong City Center

 New Highway 5B


2 hours 40 minutes

 National Highway No.18


3 hours 40 minutes

 Bai Chay, Halong

 New Highway 5B


2 hours 20 minutes

 National Highway No.18


3 hours 30 minutes

 Tuan Chau, Halong

 New Highway 5B


2 hours 15 minutes

 National Highway No.18


3 hours 20 minutes

 Got Ferry, Hai Phong

 New Highway 5B


1 hour 55 minutes

 National Highway No.5


3 hours 40 minutes

 Cat Ba, Hai Phong

 New Highway 5B

140 km

2 hours 10 minutes

Hanoi Airport Halong City Center

 New Highway 5B


2 hours 20 minutes

 National Highway No.18


3 hours 30 minutes

 Bai Chay, Halong

 New Highway 5B


2 hours 30 minutes

 National Highway No.18


3 hours 30 minutes

 Tuan Chau, Halong

 New Highway 5B


2 hours 30 minutes

 National Highway No.18


3 hours 30 minutes

 Got Ferry, Hai Phong

 New Highway 5B


2 hours 10 minutes

 National Highway No.5


3 hours 40 minutes


For further details, please read the guide Distance & Travel Time from Hanoi to Halong Bay

How to get to Halong Bay from Hanoi

Since Ha Long Bay becomes a world-famous tourist hot spot, the development of tourism has led to the upgrade of transportation systems in recent years. You don't have to worry about how to get to Halong Bay in various ways: by road, by air, by railway, and by waterways in case you want to visit the islands. 

For the most part, there are the 6 most popular means of transportations, including the shuttle bus, luxury bus, private car, seaplane, motorbike, and train.

How to get to Halong Bay from Hanoi

6 best ways to get to Halong Bay from Hanoi

Now, let's make a comparison between the price, duration, as well as the reasons you should choose it as the best way to travel from Hanoi to Ha Long Vietnam.


Hanoi to Halong Bay bus - The most popular transportation

Traveling by bus is now one of the most common ways to transfer from Hanoi to Halong Bay. For the best, we recommend you choose the shuttle bus, also known as the “tourist bus”. 

  • Duration: It takes only 2.5 hours to travel between Hanoi and Halong Bay by shuttle bus via the new highway.
  • Cost: The travel cost of a shuttle bus ticket is around 10 USD/one-way/person with free pick-up and drop-off in the Hanoi Old Quarter. If you stay far away, there will be a surcharge for picking up outside the quarter.

Hanoi to Halong Bay bus

Bus from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay

Hanoi to Halong Bay bus schedule 

The shuttle bus services are provided by plenty of tourist bus companies and cruise lines. If you are planning to join a Halong Bay cruise, it is highly recommended you should book the transfer together with a cruise package for smooth pick up and drop off.

Bus operatorBus scheduleTicket farePick-up PointDrop-off Point
Hoang Long VIP BusEvery hour from 5:30 am to 7:30 pm7 USDHotel/ apartment in Hanoi centerHotel/ Pier in Halong center
Van Don XanhEvery hour from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm10 USDHotel/ apartment in Hanoi centerHotel/ Pier in Halong center
Green Lion BusEvery day at 7:00 - 7:30 am7 - 10 USDHotel/ apartment in Hanoi centerHotel/ Pier in Halong center
Phuc XuyenEvery hour from 4:00 am to 8:00 pm8 - 10 USDHotel/ apartment in Hanoi centerHotel/ Pier in Halong center

Shuttle bus of the cruise company

Every day at 8:30 - 9:00 am

15 - 20 USD

Hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter

Cruise pier


What makes a shuttle bus is the best way to travel?

  • An economical choice among the best ways of getting to Halong Bay from Hanoi
  • Well-equipped amenities combined with good services
  • Short travel time and direct transfer

>> Traveling by bus is suitable for all types of tourists, from solo travelers, couples, groups of friends, to family with kids, especially for those who seek a reasonable-priced, time-saving, and convenient transfer.

Read more about the Shuttle bus from Hanoi to Halong Bay


Hanoi to Halong Bay luxury bus – The most affordable luxurious transfer

In case you are in search of a more comfortable and high-end service, take a luxury bus to transfer between Hanoi and Ha Long Bay.

  • Duration: As the shuttle bus, the luxury bus takes only 2.5 hours to get from Hanoi Old Quarter to Ha Long City. 
  • Cost: If you want to take a luxury bus, the cost of a transfer is approximately 15 – 20 USD/ one-way/ person.

Hanoi to Halong Bay luxury bus

Hanoi to Halong Bay luxury bus

Hanoi - Halong luxury bus brands

Not only the bus operators but also many Halong Bay luxury cruises offer a luxury bus transfer with pick-up and drop-off service. As normal, many travelers choose to book a cruise, which includes a combo transportation package or sometimes free transportation. For alternative options, take a look at the recommended bus providers as follow.

Bus operatorBus scheduleTicket farePick-up PointDrop-off Point

BeePro Limousine

Every hour from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm

8 - 11 USD

Hanoi Opera House

Hai Phong Center 

Limousine Phuc Xuyen

Every hour from 4:00 am to 8:00 pm

8 - 10 USD

Hotel/ apartment in Hanoi center

Hotel/ Pier in Halong center

Co To Limousine

Every day at 05:30 am, 6:30 am, 7:30 am, 9:30 am, 11:30 am, 1:00 pm, 4:00 pm

8 - 11 USD

Hotel/ apartment in Hanoi center

Bai Chay/ Tuan Chau Area 

Luxury bus of the cruise company

Every day at 8:30 - 9:00 am

30 - 40 USD

Hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter

Cruise pier


What to expect from a luxury bus?

  • A 7 – 9-seat luxury limousine provided with an air-conditioner, free wifi, TV, massage chairs, complimentary mineral water, etc.
  • English-speaking and welcoming drivers who can solve some basic problems
  • Straightforward and time-saving transport through the new highway

If you have any concerns, please refer to this [Expert Guide] Luxury Bus from Hanoi to Halong Bay


Hanoi to Ha Long Bay private car - The best way for group travelers

For those who desire complete privacy and flexibility in time during their Hanoi to Halong Bay travel time, hiring a private car is considered the best.

  • Duration: Usually, it takes a private car around 2 – 2.5 hours to travel from Hanoi Old Quarter to Halong City via the new highway, which is not so long and doesn't make you feel uncomfortable during the trip. 
  • Cost: The price of a private car varies from 100 USD to 150 USD for a return trip. It depends on the types of car and whether the return trip is on the same day or not. The fee may be higher if you want to be picked up outside the Old Quarter or dropped off at the locations far from Tuan Chau or Halong International Port.

Hanoi to Halong Bay private car

Travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay by private car

Why is a private car suitable for your group?

  • Flexible schedule and easy-to-control itinerary
  • The best privacy and convenience in your own space
  • Lower price due to the cost-sharing for group members

>> If you go on a vacation with your family or a group of 5 – 7 people, a private car is the best option to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay, due to the privacy and flexibility in time it features.

You might want to read more about Hanoi to Halong Bay Private Car: Easy Guide to Book a Best Car


Hanoi to Halong Bay seaplane - A new way to explore Halong

You should bear in mind that there is no direct Hanoi to Halong Bay flight. If you are looking for a mesmerizing way to explore Halong Bay from Hanoi, seaplane could be a one-of-a-kind experience.

  • Duration: A seaplane ride from Hanoi to Halong takes only 45 minutes to transfer and an additional 15 minutes for sightseeing to admire the breathtaking aerial view of the bay. 
  • Cost: Generally, a seaplane ticket costs you around 350 – 450 USD/one-way/person. Typically, the airfare can vary depending on the season and time of day. 

How to travel by seaplane?

Hai Au Aviation is the only seaplane provider offering a 45-minute scheduled flight from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay and a 15-minute scenic flight for sightseeing over thousands of awe-inspiring islets and rock formations. The seaplane departs from Hanoi Airport to Tuan Chau Marina, which is nearby the cruise port in Ha Long Bay.

Hanoi to Halong Bay seaplane view

Breathtaking view from Hanoi - Halong Bay seaplane

The best way to book Hanoi - Halong Bay seaplane is to book a Halong Bay cruise package combined with a seaplane tour offered by BestPrice Travel for a great chance to experience the extraordinary seaplane ride and cruising in the Bay.

Is Hanoi to Halong Bay seaplane worth-experiencing?

  • An extraordinary way to admire the spectacular aerial views of Halong Bay
  • Private, fast, and up-to-date with the complimentary Wi-Fi and the 4G Internet availability
  • Professional tourism services with experienced and well-trained staff who speak English fluently
  • The most credible and exclusive seaplane provider to ensure your safety and valuable experience

Things to know before taking a seaplane

  • A seaplane ride to Halong Bay allows a maximum capacity of 12 passengers and each of them is allowed only 7 kg of luggage.
  • A flight requires a minimum number of 6 passengers, which doesn't fit couples and small groups. The idea can be considered when you come in a big group.
  • Before choosing Hanoi - Halong Bay seaplane, make sure that you have good health conditions without heart attack and acrophobia since there can be some thrilling and uncomfortable feelings caused by the movements of the small aircraft during a flight.

>> If you don’t mind about money and have a desire for amazing travel experiences, you shouldn’t miss out on a seaplane ride to Ha Long Bay. It is absolutely worth-a-try to opt for a fast, convenient, and luxurious means of transportation with professional services.

Read more about the Seaplane from Hanoi to Halong Bay


Hanoi to Halong Bay motorbike – The most venturesome experience

Alternatively, getting to Halong Bay from Hanoi by motorbike can bring you a more adventurous experience during your vacation.

  • Duration: It takes you about 3.5 hours or more to transport on a motorcycle, which is quite flexible and up to you.
  • Cost: Going by motorbike will cost you not much or sometimes nothing as all you need is a motorbike. However, those who don't have a motorbike will have to rent one at 4.5 – 6.5 USD/day. Before you go, make sure to fill up the gas and bring along other essential facilities. 

Hanoi to Halong bay motorbike

Travel from Hanoi to Halong bay by motorbike

How to travel by motorbike?

  • Hire a motorbike: If you are in Hanoi, there are some motorbike rental centers such as 13535 Motorbike Rental Hanoi, Motogo, Nguyen Tu Motorbike, BonBon Motorbike, etc. that you can consider to have yourself a rental one. You should better check online reviews first to avoid any unexpected scams like old and low-quality vehicles, ambiguous policy, unwanted surcharge, etc.
  • Follow the exact path: There are several routes for you to transfer by motorbike. Among them, the two following ones are often recommended.

Route 1: Hanoi – Bac Ninh – Ha Long: This route is only 155km and takes you around 3 hours to travel to Halong Bay by motorbike. If you choose to follow the route, from Hanoi, get to Sai Dong crossroad Highway No.5 (for about 10km), then via 23 km on Highway No.1, arrive at Bac Ninh province. After that, follow Highway No.18 for about 122 km to respectively reach Pha Lai, Sao Do, Dong Trieu, Uong Bi, and eventually Ha Long.

Route 2: Hanoi – Hai Duong – Ha Long: Compared to the former one, this route is much longer (about 170 km), but more convenient. From Hanoi, you can get to the county of Nam Sach, Hai Duong through Highway No.5B, then follow Highway No.183, to reach Ha Long.

Why does traveling by motorbike dangerous but worth-trying? 

  • An unforgettable adventure especially for those who love nature and real-life experiences
  • Great chance to behold the stunning mountains, captivating beaches, and other beautiful sightseeing on the way
  • Precious memory to share with your travel mates
  • A proactive and low-cost way to travel on two wheels

Things to know before traveling by motorbike

  • As a motorbike trip from Hanoi to Halong Bay can involve some possible risks and undesired situations, be well-prepared before you go. It is only recommended for experienced backpackers who have a motor-driving license with good driving skills.
  • When renting a bike, you will have to put down a sum of money as a deposit and hand in a copy of your passport (sometimes your flight information). If you are required to provide your original one, try to negotiate as you may need your passport sometime. Contact the center through a hotline or website to directly get the bike at your place. After taking the motorcycle, remember to ask for its insurance and ownership paper (copied version).
  • Make sure that your motorbike is in good condition. As this is the crucial step in preparation, fill up the gas, carefully check your bike whether there is any problem, then quickly fix it. 
  • Remember to bring along the essential kit that includes a map, water, some clothes, extra gas, a raincoat, etc. as you will need it sometime. 
  • It is highly recommended that you go with friends (4 - 10 people) to avoid getting lost and to help each other in case some problems occur during the trip.

>> Motorcycle may not be a perfect choice that many people will opt for, due to the high risk it contains. However, for those (particularly young people) who are on a budget but seek a truly wonderful adventure through the charm of nature and love to enjoy full freedom, the idea will be the best.


Hanoi to Halong Bay train – The slowest but safest choice

Traveling by train is the slowest and safest way to Halong Bay from Hanoi, due to the authentic experience it brings you. It can be a great opportunity to admire and enjoy the stunning scenery on both sides of the railway.

  • Duration: A Hanoi to Halong Bay train journey usually lasts for nearly 7 hours. Apparently, it is not an ideal choice for those who have only a couple of days in Halong but perfect for the one who has abundant time during their vacation.
  • Cost: Traveling by train must be the most budget way as the ticket fare is almost 4 USD/one-way/person. Nevertheless, you have to pay for transportation between your hotel and the railway station.

Travel Hanoi to Halong by train

Travel from Hanoi to Halong by train

Hanoi to Halong train schedule

There is only one way to take a train from Yen Vien Station, located northeast in Hanoi, to Halong Station, situated east of Bai Chay City. Not to mention that the train leaves once a day at 4:55 am from Hanoi to reach Ha Long at almost 12:00 pm. When going back to Hanoi, you have to take a train from Halong Station at 1:45 pm to arrive in Hanoi at 8:30 pm.

What makes the train to Halong Bay a must-do experience?

  • An ideal chance to enjoy the scenic views and take some excellent photos for your travel collection
  • An authentic travel experience in Vietnam to enjoy the laid-back atmosphere
  • The cheapest and safest means of transportation compared to the roadway

>> Hanoi to Halong Bay train is suitable for budget and solo travelers who seek the best experience during their vacation. It is best to travel like a local in an eastern country like Vietnam. Totally, you can get yourself peace of mind while getting away from the bustling urban life.


In general, the shuttle buses and seaplanes are the two best options thanks to the convenience and experiences. Furthermore, many cruises cooperate with shuttle bus and seaplane providers to arrange the Halong Bay tours from Hanoi at more budget prices. However, if you are still confused about which is the best vehicle for your trip, you should keep scrolling to read our pro tips at the end of this article. Here, we mention a few easy steps to choose suitable transportation and also the detailed suggestions for each type of tourists.

All things considered, the best way to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay is affected by many factors like how much you spend, who you travel with, which type of traveling you expect, and others. Apart from the most popular choices for transferring from Hanoi to Halong and vice versa as mentioned above, more options are lesser-known such as the local bus, taxi, and helicopter.

Local tips to get to Halong Bay from Hanoi

No exotic journey can be perfect without a few local tips for more interesting experiences and to avoid some unexpected troubles. Hereby a few hacks that may help you get to Halong Bay from Hanoi without hassle.

  • Make a detailed travel itinerary: the best transportation only can be found if you have a good travel plan and itinerary that shows clearly where you want to go, what you want to do, how long you want to travel.
  • Estimate the travel time: the different ways to transport cost different amounts of time, therefore, this step cannot be missed to find your best way to travel between Hanoi and Ha Long Bay.
  • Estimate your transport budget: the better way to go, the more expensive to pay. You should consider carefully your budget for transportation to find out the best one.
  • Consider your travel group members: each travel group owns different demands due to who are members of it. If you travel alone, it is easy, just follow the 3 steps above then you can immediately find your right way to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay. However, the family or couples' travel needs are different and special; you must consider carefully the factors that may affect the travel experience when you have a trip with your kids or your partners.
  • Book the vehicle that can satisfy all the 4 steps above and you can get the most suitable way to travel to Halong Bay from Hanoi. 


Choose a suitable Hanoi to Halong Bay itinerary

Many tourists decide on a package tour to Halong Bay that covers the cost of transportation services. Normally, you will get a combo package which is cheaper than the service booked separately. Furthermore, booking a tour will help you enjoy Hanoi - Halong trip at leisure, especially for a family with kids and a first-timer.

For those who have scanty time, a Halong Bay day cruise from Hanoi (from 63 USD/ person) usually offers a transfer by either a shuttle bus or a luxury limousine. Most Halong Bay day tours are 3-star wooden junks; some are 4-star and 5-star luxury cruises.

To spend more time indulging in the majestic seascape, it is highly recommended to take a Halong Bay overnight cruise (from 121 USD/ person), which includes a cruise excursion on various types of boats, from traditional wooden junks to luxury cruises, from small private boats to large deluxe ones.

Compared with a one-day itinerary, the 2d1n or 3d2n Halong Bay cruise will help you explore deeper inside this scenic area with sightseeing tours to magnificent caves, join a short discovery in Cat Ba Island, enjoy water-based activities, take part in amusing things to do onboard, and other more.


For backpackers and self-travel tourists

Normally, your demand is safety and low budget. Therefore, you should take them as the top priority feature to find your best way to get to Halong Bay from Hanoi. Secondly, convenience should be the next factor that you should care about as the inconvenience may cause unwanted troubles such as hard to be booked, difficult to find, unstable schedule, scams (overpaid, nonsense extra cost, no-show car), old or low-quality transportation, etc. Finally, speed may be what you should expect in the right transportation.

In this case, the top-recommended vehicle is the shuttle bus as it is not only comfortable but also amazingly cheap compared with the service it provides. Besides, there is no doubt that it is the fastest budget way to travel to Halong Bay. Normally, you only have to spend about USD 20/round trip Hanoi – Halong/person or maybe lower a little to have a large seat on a deluxe shuttle bus like limousine D-car and the trip is only about 2-hour including 15 minutes in a rest area for the travel route from Hanoi to Halong Bay or vice versa.


For families with kids

Safety and convenience could be your top concern if you travel with your kids on a family trip. Depends on your children’s ages and how many of them do you have that you may have some options to consider. If you have infants or toddlers, the top choice should be a private car or shuttle bus. Believe it or not, your babies need space and it is also difficult to control them as they are too small. Therefore, although the private car is a little expensive option, it is necessary for you and your small children.

Besides, traveling with babies means you need to bring along so many things, with that number of luggage, only the private car can help you. On the other hand, if your children are teenagers, the shuttle bus is a good choice to save your family travel budget as kids at this age can take care of themselves and are very well-behaved.

Hanoi to Halong travel tip for family with kids

The private car is best for families with kids


For a couple of travelers

Romance, privacy, remarkable experience, and sweet memories are the top features that you seek in your trip to Halong Bay? The best suggestion for couples is the seaplane or private car. It is not cheap, of course, but it is definitely worth it. Holding your partner's hands, flying in the sky above one of the most beautiful and magical lands in the world like Halong Bay would be the sweetest memory for your trip. Although the seaplane is usually for sharing with other tourists, the number of people who book for it is not that many to affect your privacy; besides, the space inside is large enough for you two to feel comfortable with other guests. Another good option for couples is the private car which cannot provide a special experience like the seaplane but is much cheaper with perfect privacy.


For elder tourists

From the age of 50, you should consider your health conditions before choosing any way to travel. Nothing can be compared with your health right now and it is the most important and major factor that affects your choice of transportation to get to Halong Bay. The best suggestions for you are a luxury bus or private car as they are high-quality cars (which is very important for your travel safety) and comfortable with large space inside. You may try the seaplane and helicopter if you want to have a soft remarkable adventure from above; however, please note that it is definitely unsuitable for tourists who have problems with the heart, blood pressure or are afraid of height.

Hanoi to Halong Bay travel tip

Book a luxury bus to Halong for the elderly

Taking everything into account, consider what you expect during the travel time as each means of transportation listed above is perfect for a particular demand. Hope you find out how to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay and go exploring with BestPrice Travel.

You might also like: Halong Bay Tourist: Useful Information for First-time Visitors

Hong Nhung

(Images source: Internet)

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