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Hanoi to Halong Bay: Exploring Vietnam's Picturesque Coastal Gems"

Posted By: Richard Roeffen / Vietnam Travel Guides
Hanoi Halong Bay is a popular travel destination in Vietnam. Located just a few hours away from Hanoi city, it offers stunning natural beauty and is known for its emerald waters, limestone karsts, and picturesque islands. There are various ways to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay, including by bus, private car, or organized tour. Visitors can enjoy activities such as cruising, kayaking, and exploring caves while experiencing the unique charm of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Are you wondering how to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay? Look no further! In this guide, you will find everything you need to know, from the distance from Hanoi to Halong Bay to a variety of transportation options for a smooth journey.

Hanoi To Halong Bay Map

Hanoi - Halong Bay

Halong Bay, Vietnam - (Source: Collected)

Before delving into the different transportation options, it is helpful to have a visual understanding of the distance between Hanoi and Halong Bay. Located in northeastern Vietnam, Halong Bay is about 165 kilometers east of Hanoi. The journey can be divided into two primary routes: Route 1, which takes you through Hai Duong, and Route 18, which passes through Bac Ninh.

Along the way, you will encounter beautiful landscapes, including rice paddies, rural villages, and limestone karsts. It is recommended to take your time and indulge in the scenic beauty that Vietnam has to offer.

Local Bus (Coach) - The Budget Choice

Halong Bay 2days one night on cruise, Overnight Cruise Halong Bay

Halong Bay 2days one night on cruise, Overnight Cruise Halong Bay - (Source: Collected)


For budget-conscious travelers, the local bus, also known as the coach, is an excellent option to consider. It is the most economical way to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay, with prices ranging from $5 to $10, depending on the type of bus and the company.

Bus Stations in Hanoi

Hanoi has several bus stations where you can catch a coach to Halong Bay. The most popular ones include My Dinh Bus Station, Gia Lam Bus Station, and Luong Yen Bus Station. It is advisable to check the schedules and routes offered by different bus companies to choose the most convenient departure point for you.

Duration and Schedule

The bus journey from Hanoi to Halong Bay typically takes around 3 to 4 hours, depending on traffic conditions and the specific route taken. Buses operate during the day, with departures as early as 6 am and as late as 6 pm. It is advisable to check the schedule in advance and plan your trip accordingly.

Comfort and Amenities

While the local buses are budget-friendly, they may not provide the highest level of comfort compared to other transportation options. The seats may be basic, and legroom can be limited. However, some buses offer air conditioning, and certain companies provide additional amenities such as Wi-Fi onboard.

Shuttle Bus- A Convenient Means Of Transportation


A shuttle bus is a popular choice for travelers seeking a convenient and hassle-free journey from Hanoi to Halong Bay. Operating on set schedules and offering door-to-door service, shuttle buses provide a comfortable and reliable mode of transportation.

Benefits of Shuttle Buses

One of the biggest advantages of taking a shuttle bus is the convenience it offers. These buses pick passengers up from their hotels or designated meeting points in Hanoi and drop them off at their hotels in Halong Bay. This door-to-door service eliminates the need for additional transfers or navigating unfamiliar locations.

In addition, shuttle buses usually have fixed departure times, ensuring a timely and organized journey. This means you won't have to wait for the bus to fill up before it leaves, providing a more predictable travel experience.

Duration and Schedule

The travel time for shuttle buses from Hanoi to Halong Bay is generally around 3 to 4 hours. Departure times can vary depending on the specific company and route, but they typically range from early morning to mid-afternoon.

Comfort and Amenities

Shuttle buses prioritize passenger comfort, providing spacious and comfortable seating arrangements. Air conditioning is almost always available, ensuring a pleasant journey even in hot weather. Some shuttle buses also offer complimentary Wi-Fi onboard, allowing you to stay connected throughout the trip.

Private Car - The Utmost Privacy


If privacy and flexibility are top priorities for your journey from Hanoi to Halong Bay, a private car is the ultimate choice. While it may be the most expensive option, it offers unparalleled convenience and the freedom to tailor your itinerary according to your preferences.

Benefits of a Private Car

With a private car, you have the luxury of choosing your departure time and making stops along the way to admire the scenic beauty of Vietnam at your own pace. It also allows for greater privacy, making it an ideal option for families, couples, or travelers who value exclusivity.

Duration and Schedule

The duration of the journey from Hanoi to Halong Bay by private car is similar to other modes of transportation, taking around 3 to 4 hours. However, with a private car, you have the flexibility to plan your schedule as per your preferences.

Comfort and Amenities

Private cars provide utmost comfort, with spacious seating arrangements and air conditioning. You can enjoy a smooth and relaxed journey, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the breathtaking landscapes along the way.

In conclusion, there are several transportation options available to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay. Whether you prefer the budget-friendly local bus, the convenience of a shuttle bus, or the privacy of a private car, each option offers its own unique advantages. Consider your budget, comfort preferences, and desired level of flexibility when choosing the mode of transportation that best suits your needs. Regardless of the option you choose, a visit to Halong Bay promises to be a memorable experience, with its stunning natural beauty and captivating scenery.

Seaplane - The Stunning Panorama of Halong Bay

Book your adventure now

Book your adventure now! - (Source: Collected)


For travelers looking for a unique and breathtaking experience, taking a seaplane from Hanoi to Halong Bay is the perfect choice. This mode of transportation not only offers convenience but also allows passengers to enjoy unparalleled views of the stunning landscape along the way.

Flight Experience

Boarding a seaplane from Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, passengers can prepare themselves for an unforgettable journey. As the plane takes off, the bustling cityscape transforms into vast green fields and meandering rivers. The flight itself becomes an opportunity to marvel at the beauty of Vietnam's countryside.

Approaching Halong Bay, passengers are greeted with a mesmerizing panorama of limestone karsts jutting out of the emerald waters. The seaplane provides a bird's-eye view of the famous bay, allowing travelers to appreciate its grandeur and unique geological formations.

The flight experience is made even more memorable by the smooth landing on the water at Tuan Chau Marina, where passengers can seamlessly continue their adventure in Halong Bay.

Time and Cost

A seaplane journey from Hanoi to Halong Bay takes approximately 45 minutes. This significantly reduces travel time compared to other modes of transportation, such as trains or buses.

As for the cost, seaplane tickets can be higher compared to other options. However, considering the time saved and the unparalleled aerial views, many travelers find it to be a worthwhile investment for their Halong Bay adventure.

Train - For A Slow But Safe Ride (Update 2023: Hanoi-Halong Train service discontinued due to low ridership)

Overview of the Train Route

Until recently, taking a train from Hanoi to Halong Bay was a popular choice for travelers seeking a slower, more relaxed journey. However, as of 2023, the Hanoi-Halong Train service has been discontinued due to low ridership.

Alternative Train Routes

While the direct train service from Hanoi to Halong Bay may no longer be available, there are still alternative train routes that travelers can consider. These routes involve taking a train to a nearby city or town and then continuing the journey to Halong Bay by other means of transportation, such as buses or taxis.

For example, one option is to take a train from Hanoi to Hai Phong, a city located near Halong Bay. From Hai Phong, travelers can easily find buses or taxis to take them to their final destination.

Motorbike - The Adventurous Choice

Overview of Motorbike Travel

For adventurous travelers who enjoy the freedom of the open road, renting a motorbike to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay can be an exciting option. This mode of transportation allows for flexibility, exploration, and a closer connection with the beautiful Vietnamese countryside.

Routes and Highlights

There are several routes to choose from when traveling by motorbike from Hanoi to Halong Bay. One popular option is to take the route through Ninh Binh, known as the "inland Halong Bay." This route offers stunning scenery of limestone karsts and picturesque rice fields.

Another route is to follow the coastal road, hugging the coastline of the Gulf of Tonkin. This route provides breathtaking views of the ocean and the opportunity to stop at charming coastal towns along the way.

Regardless of the chosen route, travelers can expect to pass through vibrant towns, lush green countryside, and experience the thrill of riding through Vietnam's bustling traffic.

Tips for Traveling from Hanoi to Halong Bay

Book in Advance

Regardless of the chosen mode of transportation, it is recommended to book tickets in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. This ensures availability and allows for better planning of the overall itinerary.

Check the Weather

When planning a trip to Halong Bay, it is important to consider the weather conditions. The bay is known for its misty atmosphere, which can add to its allure. However, heavy rainfall or storms may affect certain activities or modes of transportation, so it is advisable to check the weather forecast before embarking on the journey.

Stay Hydrated and Bring Snacks

Regardless of the chosen transportation mode, it is essential to stay hydrated and pack some snacks for the journey. This ensures that travelers stay energized and can enjoy the excursion comfortably.

Comfortable Clothing and Footwear

Traveling from Hanoi to Halong Bay may involve walking, climbing, or exploring various sites. It is advisable to wear comfortable clothing and footwear that can withstand different weather conditions and terrain.

FAQs for Traveling from Hanoi to Halong Bay

How far is Halong Bay from Hanoi?

Halong Bay is approximately 170 kilometers (105 miles) east of Hanoi. The travel time can vary depending on the chosen mode of transportation, ranging from a 45-minute seaplane flight to several hours by bus or car.

What is the Temple of Literature Hanoi?

The Temple of Literature Hanoi, located in the heart of Hanoi, is a historic site and a symbol of Vietnamese culture and learning. It was initially established as a Confucian temple in 1070 and later became Vietnam's first national university. Today, it serves as a popular tourist attraction and a reminder of the country's rich intellectual heritage.

What is "Pho Ha Noi"?

Pho Ha Noi, also known as Hanoi-style pho, is a renowned Vietnamese dish that originated in Hanoi. It is a flavorful soup consisting of rice noodles, savory broth, and various toppings such as beef or chicken, bean sprouts, herbs, and lime. Pho Ha Noi is considered a must-try culinary experience for visitors to the city.

In conclusion, travelers seeking to journey from Hanoi to Halong Bay have various transportation options at their disposal. Whether they choose the convenience and aerial views of a seaplane, the alternative train routes, the adventure of a motorbike ride, or any other mode of transportation, the journey promises to be an unforgettable experience. Additionally, following the provided tips and familiarizing oneself with the frequently asked questions will ensure a smoother and more enjoyable trip.

Recommended Cruise Packages

Experience the enchanting beauty and culture of Hanoi and Halong Bay through unique tours

Experience the enchanting beauty and culture of Hanoi and Halong Bay through unique tours - (Source: Collected)

If you are planning a trip to Hanoi, Vietnam, one of the must-visit destinations is Halong Bay. Known for its stunning landscapes and emerald waters, Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a popular tourist attraction. To make the most of your visit, consider booking one of the recommended cruise packages.

Halong Bay: The basics

Halong Bay, located in northeastern Vietnam, is a picturesque bay consisting of thousands of limestone karsts and isles. The bay covers an area of about 1,553 square kilometers and is home to various species of flora and fauna. It attracts tourists from all over the world who come to experience its natural beauty and serene ambiance.

One of the most famous landmarks in Halong Bay is the Bai Tu Long Bay, which lies to the northwest of Halong Bay. With its pristine beaches, secluded caves, and untouched islands, Bai Tu Long Bay offers a more tranquil and less crowded experience compared to Halong Bay.

How to visit Halong Bay from Hanoi

Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, is the gateway to Halong Bay. There are several options to visit Halong Bay from Hanoi, depending on your preference and available time.

Option 1: Halong Bay day tour from Hanoi

If you are short on time or prefer a day trip, you can take a hanoi street tour to Halong Bay. A day tour typically includes transportation from Hanoi to Halong Bay, a boat cruise around the bay, visits to caves and islands, and a seafood lunch on board. This option allows you to get a taste of the beauty of Halong Bay without staying overnight.

During the day tour, you will have the opportunity to explore famous attractions such as the Thien Cung Cave, Surprise Cave, and the Titop Island. These sites offer stunning views and unique geological formations that will leave you in awe.

It is important to note that although a day tour offers a time-efficient way to visit Halong Bay, it may not allow you to fully immerse yourself in the tranquility and serenity of the bay.

Option 2: Halong Bay overnight cruise from Hanoi

If you have more time and want to fully experience Halong Bay, an overnight cruise is highly recommended. Many cruise operators offer various cruise packages ranging from one to three nights.

During an overnight cruise, you can admire the sunset and sunrise over the bay, indulge in delicious meals featuring local cuisine, participate in activities such as kayaking or squid fishing, and even spend a night on the boat. Some cruise packages also include visits to the less crowded and more pristine areas of Halong Bay, such as Bai Tu Long Bay.

Among the top-rated cruise packages is the Halong Bay Signature Cruise, which offers a luxurious and unforgettable experience. The cruise ship features spacious cabins with large windows offering panoramic views of the bay, a restaurant serving both international and Vietnamese dishes, a sundeck for relaxation, and various activities for entertainment.

Apart from the breathtaking landscapes, another highlight of an overnight cruise is the opportunity to mingle with fellow travelers and learn about the local culture. The crew members on board are often knowledgeable and friendly, providing insights into the history and culture of the area.

Whether you choose a day tour or an overnight cruise, a visit to Halong Bay from Hanoi is a remarkable experience. The combination of stunning natural beauty and the rich cultural heritage of the surrounding areas, such as the Temple of Literature in Hanoi, will leave you with lasting memories of your time in Vietnam.

After a day exploring Halong Bay, Hanoi Street Tour is the perfect way to end your adventure. This world-famous Vietnamese dish consists of a savory broth, tender noodles, and a variety of toppings. Pho Ha Noi, the original version of Pho, can be found at various street food stalls and restaurants in Hanoi.

In conclusion, whether you choose a day tour or an overnight cruise, visiting Halong Bay from Hanoi is an unforgettable experience. The beauty and serenity of the bay combined with the rich history and culture of the surrounding areas will make your trip to Vietnam truly special.

Conclusion: In conclusion, Hanoi, Vietnam is an incredible destination that offers a multitude of attractions and experiences for travelers. One of the must-visit destinations near Hanoi is Halong Bay, a stunning natural wonder that is famous for its beautiful limestone islands and emerald waters. The journey from Hanoi to Halong Bay is relatively easy, with several transportation options available such as buses or private tours. Apart from Halong Bay, Hanoi itself is a captivating city with its rich history and unique culture. Be sure to explore attractions like the Temple of Literature, a historical site that showcases Vietnam's intellectual heritage, and indulge in the local cuisine, particularly the famous Pho Ha Noi. Exploring Hanoi and its nearby attractions will provide travelers with a memorable and enriching experience of Vietnam's vibrant culture and natural beauty.

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