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How to go from Hanoi to Halong Bay

Halong Bay is one of the essential places that you must include on your route through Vietnam. Yes or yes. You cannot leave without visiting one of the natural wonders of the world. It is a place that will leave you with your mouth open and wanting more.

To get to Halong Bay you have several options and in this post you will find a small guide with everything you need to know.

If you are thinking of traveling to Vietnam and this is the first article you read on my blog, I warn you that I am addicted to Southeast Asia and especially to Vietnam. It is my favorite country and that is why I come back and go back, whenever I have the opportunity. I have traveled the entire route, including the most remote places and the least touristy ones. So if you want to organize a unique trip to Vietnam, here you will find the definitive guide to travel to Vietnam.

To visit Halong Bay you must first get to Hanoi, I always recommend starting to get to know the country from the north and going down.

From Hanoi to Halong Bay it is only 180km. It is about 3 long hours by road, although depending on the traffic, this journey can be quite long. Although going by land is not the only option.

Before starting to explain how to go from Hanoi to Halong Bay, you should keep in mind that Halong Bay is a very large area with a lot of islands and islets. For me, the best way to visit and enjoy the authentic Bay is by booking a cruise. You have endless options and various budgets. I have visited Halong Bay on two occasions at different times of the year (on one occasion I was able to enjoy 5 days with absolutely no tourists, something unique!) and I will tell you about my experience and how it is the best way to visit Halong Bay from here.


1. Halong Bay Tour from Hanoi

This is the fastest option to have a first contact with Halong Bay. Would you recommend this option? Well, no. Regardless of the days you have to travel to Vietnam, there will be other destinations that you can spend less time on. Personally, Halong Bay is one of those incredible places that you have to visit at least once in your life. And doing it with an organized day trip is not the best option.

You must bear in mind that the excursion lasts about 12 hours. If we remove about 7 hours (at least of journeys) you have 5 hours left to: pick up everyone who will go on the excursion at the hotels, the stop in between to go to the bathroom on both routes, arrive at the port, board and take a little cruise. You may spend an hour or two just enjoying the Bay and seeing the surface. Is the landscape and the place worth it? Absolutely, if you don't have more time and you can only dedicate one day to it, don't even think about it. But… if you have more time, keep reading as I give you other options to go to Halong Bay and you have many more articles with tips to organize your trip.

2. Go private transport, a good alternative to go from Hanoi to Halong Halong

A comfortable option to get to Halong Bay is by hiring a private transfer service. This option is more expensive than others, but you have the advantage that it picks you up at the door of your hotel and takes you to the pier from where your cruise leaves or to your hotel.

I recommend you first of all book a cruise. If you have not yet read the complete guide to visit Halong Bay, here it is. Once the cruise has been hired, the vast majority have a transfer service from Hanoi. Contact them. Not all boats leave from the same pier or area. And although it may seem easy to find the instructions they give you, I assure you that they are in Vietnamese and it is tremendously complicated at times since taxi drivers do not usually speak English.

This journey is usually around 70-100 euros per journey (by car). If you contract it directly with the cruise ship, it may be cheaper since it is a way to encourage you to book with them.

If you decide on the private transfer option, I advise you to check availability and prices from For me it is the best website to move around Asia. They will give you all the alternatives, prices, schedules... You can see more information about the journey from Hanoi to Halong Bay in private transport from here.

3. Go by bus and ferry from Hanoi to Hai Phong

The cheap alternative to get to know Halong Bay is to stay in the city of Hai Phong. From there you can go to the pier from where the daily cruises leave (for half-day excursions) and get to know a little Halong Halong. There are even several routes, so if you stay several days, you can do a couple.

From Hanoi to Hai Phong buses leave daily and quite frequently. The journey takes between 1 hour and a half and 2 hours. And the cost is about 4 euros one way and 4 euros return.

If you stay in the same city of Hai Phong you can get to Dinh Vu port by taxi. It is a journey of half an hour and the cost is usually around 7 euros.

Once there you can contract the excursion and boat ride around the Bay (as long as there are places left) or you can book the cruise in advance.

Staying in Hai Phong is very cheap, you can find hotels for 8 euros per night per person in a double room with private bathroom. If you add to this the cost of the bus, the taxi and the half-day cruise, it really comes out much cheaper than booking a multi-day Ha Long Bay cruise.

However, you would only be seeing the surface of the Bay, right next to the coast, where there are more cruise ships, more people... It is a good option for tight budgets or if you have 1 day.

From the port you can also catch a ferry to Cat Ba Bay. Even to the island, you can disembark or even stay there if you wish.

4. Go by seaplane or helicopter to Halong Bay from Hanoi, a very fun option

If you are not afraid of heights or have budget problems, a good and very fun option is to fly with a seaplane. The flight lasts about 45 minutes and it must be amazing to be able to enjoy the views from above all the way. It is something that I have yet to do and hopefully I can in the future when I return to Vietnam.

You have tickets from 150 to 400 euros per person, depending on the package you choose. The company is Hai Au Aviation.



I hope you enjoy your trip to Vietnam very much and that this article has been useful to you. You can continue reading many more related articles on the blog.

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A hug and see you soon!


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