Travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay in 2020

Train moving from Hanoi to Halong Bay

There are a few different ways to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay. Before our trip earlier this year, we did a bunch of research on what was the best way to get to Halong Bay. Here is what we found.

Getting from Hanoi to Halong Bay takes from 45 min to 7 hours depending on the mode of transportation. Your options are from fastest to slowest: Helicopter, sea-plane, taxi, minibus, tourist bus, and train.

Most people can expect to spend from 2 hours 30 min to 4 hours to get from Hanoi all the way to the beautiful Ha Long Bay. Taxi, minibus, and bus will be the best option for most travelers. As the new road shortens the trip down from 175 KM to 125 KM in total.

Bellow, you can find a bunch of information on the different transport options.

Bus from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay

Gettin from Hanoi to Halong Bay by bus is a quick and painless procedure. Not only one of the quickest ways to Halong Bay, but also one of the cheapest. The budget bus company “Kumho Viet Thanh” offers tours for under $8 (185000 VND) each way.

After the new express way opened, you can expect to get to Ha Long in about 3.5 hours.

The bus runs from 06:00 in the morning, until 18:00 at night. Times may vary, but the buses depart on average every two hours or so.

It is a good idea to make a note of the pickup and drop of point for the bus:

Hanoi: Bến xe Mỹ Đình, Counter No. 10, Mỹ Đình, Nam Từ Liêm, Hanoi
Check in at counter #10.

Ha Long Bay: 540 Trần Phú, Cẩm Thu, Cẩm Phả, Quảng Ninh

Tip: Check if your hotel is far from the drop of point ahead of time. If it is factor in additional taxi costs to get from the bus station to your hotel.

Riding a minibus to get to Ha Long Bay fast

Taking a minibus from Hanoi to Halong Bay could be the best option for those seeking convenience at a low cost. With all the advantages of a taxi, like cutting travel time down to 3 hours, and getting picked up and dropped off at your hotel minibuses are very tempting.

The low cost of only $19 (400 000 VND) combined with these great perks may be enough to sway many towards this options.

These minibuses leave all throughout the day. A company recommended online is “AB Vietnam Travel”. But a quick google search, or asking the front desk at your hotel will yeild tons of more options to chose from.

Often just showing up at the bus station in time is enough to get a spot in a minivan within an hour or two. If you prefer getting picked up, buy a ticket in advance, or ask your hotel to order you a ticket.

There are a few things to keep in mind before stepping on the a minibus to Ha Long Bay though.

Hanoi traffic at an intersection

The first thing to note is that as this is a smaller vehicle running much faster than a bus, your poor body is much more vulnerable in the event of an accident. If you have seen Vietnamese traffic before, you know that this is a valid concern to have.

Secondly, if you are a bigger guy or gal, these minibuses can sometimes be very uncomfortable depending on the company you are going with. But on the other hand, you will get there quicker, so you need to make a judgement yourself.

$20 Beautiful Hotel in Halong Bay (2020) + Bac Ninh to Ha Long Bay Motorcycle Trip
Motorbike also works..

Taxi from Hanoi to Halong Bay

If you are traveling as a bigger group taking a taxi is always a great option anywhere in South East Asia.

With the rock bottom rates of $75 (1.7MM VND) from Hanoi to Halong Bay, doorstep to doorstep, groups of 4+ will save money on taking a taxi over a minibus.

With the added flexibility of having a private driver this is a no-brainer for most groups that are not on a shoestring budget.

But just like the minibus option, you are playing with fire due to the reduced safety of riding a small vehicle on the dangerous roads of Vietnam. And taxi drivers, like minibus drivers have a reputation of reckless driving.

On the bright side, they boast of a 2.5 hours travel time..

Train from Hanoi to Halong Bay

I’d say this is the worst option of travel. Also the cheapest, but the worst. Unless you specifically want to take a train, I’d wager that taking the bus directly to Halong Bay is just better.

You are going to end up spending twice the amount of time to take the train (7 hours). And you will need to show up before 04:55 AM in Yen Vien Station in Hanoi. As the train doesn’t go all the way, you will also need to do a bus transfer to get all the way to Ha Long Bay.

Famous railroad in Hanoi

At the low cost of 80 000 VND (under $4) it could be tempting to ride the train partially to Halong. But also remember that you will need to make your way to the train station north of the city, and that will end up eating up the savings.

Sea-plane or Helicopter to Ha Long Bay?

Yes, you can hire a helicopter, or take a sea-plane from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay.

The ride will take less than an hour. And you will get a great view.

But aside from the novelty of riding a helicopter or sea-plane, the time savings are so marginal due to the time lost in transfers to the airport etc. that you are mostly paying for the excellent view.

Plane prices starts at 4.2MM VND for a plane ticket, and at 10MM+ VND for a helicopter ride.

The best option for you

As you can probably see, the best option will likely be the minibus, or taxi if you are willing to take on the extra risk on the road. Otherwise the bus from Hanoi to Halong Bay also offers excellent value and safety.

Now that you know how to get to there, you can learn where to stay in Ha Long Bay next.

Travel from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay Guide - Pinterest graphic with a photo of a man on the Hanoi railroad in Vietnam

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Tor Tours

Tor Tours has spent the past 6 years traveling around the world. On his website, he is dedicated to making high-quality travel guides focusing on South East Asia. His content focuses on how to get the most out of your travels. That includes getting good value, staying in the best locations, what things to do, and what to avoid.

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