How To Travel From Hanoi To Halong Bay (Or Vice Versa)



Hạ Long Bay, Vietnam, is world-known for its stunning towering limestone islands.

Visitors love exploring this beautiful part of Vietnam on either one of the popular Junk boat tours or via a sea kayak expedition.

We highly recommend a 3D/2N cruise on Halong Bay.  It was one of our favorite experiences from our Vietnam holiday and we would do it all again in a heartbeat!

To help you choose from the more reputable Halong Bay Cruise companies, why not visit our helpful best cruises Halong Bay recommendation list alternatively you might wish to read our review on the Indochina Sails cruise that we went on here.

Halong Bay cruise ship, Junk Boat, Indochina Sails, white boat with yellow sails, Halong Bay Vietnam

So back to the point, how do you get from Hanoi to Halong Bay?

When traveling from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay there are a few options you can choose from.

Options of transportation from Hanoi to Halong Bay include train, bus, tourist transfer or via a Halong Bay day trip tour.

Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. Don’t worry though, this article will explain everything you need to know about how to get to Halong Bay safely.

Find below all the information on how to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay (& Vice Versa from Halong Bay to Hanoi)

Getting from Hanoi to Halong Bay

Halong Bay is located about 180 km away from the capital of Hanoi. So be prepared to spend a few hours getting from one destination to the next.

If money is not an issue I highly recommend grabbing a luxury transfer that offers air-conditioning.

Before we hop into the post, if you have booked an overnight cruise, do check with your cruise company in regards to whether your cruise includes free transfers – some do and some don’t.

Below you will a detailed guide on how to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay.

Journey Time: 3 – 3.5 Hours

Cost Involved: US$80 – $100

Click here to find the cheapest prices for private transfers

This is our preferred choice on how to get to Halong Bay from Hanoi.

We always find that the extra $$ for a private transfer is worth the cost!  As a family, it gives us the flexibility to organize our own pickup times and we can ask the driver to stop whenever our kids need to run in to use a loo.

We also love the convenience of being picked up straight from our hotel and being dropped off at the right waiting lounge in Ha Long Bay.

We also find that private drivers tend to drive more carefully in comparison to the crazy bus drivers!

The trip from Hanoi to Halong Bay on your private transfer will take around 3 – 3.5 hours, depending on the traffic.

For couples or small families of 3 pax, why not secure your transfer by clicking here.

For larger families or groups of friends, book your private van transfer by clicking here.

2. By Luxury Bus (Convenient Option)

Journey Time: 3.5 hours

Cost Involved: US $9 – $10

Click here to see prices for bus tickets to Halong Bay

Taking a bus from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay can be very luxurious and comfortable since many of the buses used for longer trips offer cushy reclining leather seats as well as air-conditioning.

The Hoang Phu Limousine Bus will pick you up from any of the hotels in Hanoi Quarter.

Their buses only have 16 seats, are air-conditioned, has reclining seats, Wi-Fi as well as USB chargers to keep your phones charged up during the transfer.

Travel time of the bus from Hanoi to Halong Bay is around 3.5 hours and the price is around US $9 – $10.

Seats and interior of a luxury bus, brown leather

(Photo Source: Hoang Phu Limousine Bus

Make sure to book your Hanoi to Halong Bay bus ticket online to guarantee a spot. You will receive your e-ticket by email, ready to print or carry in your mobile phone or tablet and present when boarding the bus.

Click here to see secure your spot on the Hoang Phu Limousine Bus

3.  By Train (Cheapest Option)

Journey Time: 6.5 hrs

Cost Involved: US $3 – $4

Click here to see prices for train tickets to Ha Long

There is an option of catching a direct train from Hanoi to Halong Bay. You will want to go to the train station in Hanoi called Yen Vien (about 10km from the city center).

This is a fairly long ride, and there are only hard seat options, but it is direct and it works out really cheaply! So if you are after the most affordable transport from Hanoi to Halong Bay, then this is perfect for you. (but I will stick to my luxury transfers instead, thank you!!)

Make sure to book your ticket online to guarantee a spot. You will receive your e-ticket by email, ready to print or carry in your mobile phone or tablet and present when boarding the train.

Click here to secure your seat on the Hanoi to Halong Bay Train

4.  Join an Organized Tour (Easiest Option)

Journey Time: Day Trip to Halong Bay

Cost Involved: US $43+

Click here to see prices for the most popular day tour to Halong Bay

Whilst it is easy to organize a list of what to do in Halong Bay, many travelers prefer to keep organizing as simple as possible.

If this sounds you like, you might prefer to book one of the many tours to Halong Bay.

A tour that not only looks after your transfer from Hanoi to Halong Bay but also your exploration of Halong Bay as well.

A Woman in blue and white dress looking out from the deck of the cruise boat onto the rocky islands of Halong Bay, Vietnam

A tour to Halong Bay from Hanoi will require around 12 hours of your time.

This Halong Bay day tour will allow you to enjoy a traditional junk cruise for 4.5 hours.

You will also visit two beautiful caves: Thien Cung Cave and Dau Go Cave. A

nd for those who love adventure, there is a 30-minute kayak or bamboo boat tour.

Lunch and road-trip hotel transport is included in the price, which truly makes it a super affordable way to visit Halong Bay.

So if you are after an easy day trip from Hanoi to Halong Bay that combines both your transfer and a day cruise on Halong Bay in one tour, then click the booking button below.

Click here to secure your spot on this popular day tour to Halong Bay

Ha Long Bay is one of the most visited places in Vietnam and is written in Unesco World Heritage Site.

Getting to Halong Bay from Hanoi doesn’t have to be hard or costly.

So make sure you don’t miss this amazing spot and book your Hanoi to Halong Bay transport now!

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How to get to Halong Bay from Hanoi Vietnam Travel

Leave us a Comment:

  • Which method did you choose to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay?
  • Are you planning on joining a day tour from Hanoi to Halong Bay or do you wish to enjoy a slower cruise for a few nights?
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Jolene Ejmont

Originally from South Africa, now living in Australia, Jolene is a wife and a mother to three beautiful daughters. Together with her family, she is embarking on a journey towards changing her current stress-filled life to one focusing on her dreams and her passion for travel. She wants to share her stories in the hope to inspire you to chase your own dreams!

11 thoughts on “How To Travel From Hanoi To Halong Bay (Or Vice Versa)”

    • The cheapest way and a great way to mix with the locals 🙂 I prefer the comfy way though – but I do have 3 kids, one of which is a 2 year old so it is just easier 🙂

  1. Well done on this blog! I’ve spent hours bouncing between your pages and the links today- incredibly helpful! So thank you.
    A question for you- My daughter Emma (age 4) and I are off to Vietnam for 2 wks in November. This is our biggest adventure yet- I’m trying to find the balance between ‘as the wind blows’ traveler I was before she was born and the overwhelming responsibility to plan, plan, plan and keep her extra safe. Peace and food are my travel priorities- so we’re headed straight up to Sapa after a day in Hanoi for 4 days and trying to decide wether to squeeze in Hoi An at the beach resort before heading to Halong Bay. I’m not a go, go, go traveler and know this trip will be pushing the little ones limits- but it seems like it might be worth it to experience Sapa, Hoi An and Halong with as little time as possible in Hanoi (squeezing in a street food tour and maybe a cooking class of course). I’m torn. Slowing it down and drinking in Sapa and Halong with a little extra rest on the travel days could be good too. Any advise? Is Hoi An a must? I appreciate your time and thoughtfulness. Take care!

    • Hi Kristen, life changes so much when you have kids. My thoughts – I would skip out on Sapa above the others. Sapa is a bit of a pain to get too and the hikes through the rice paddies might be a bit tough for a 4 year old (unless you guys hike a lot). The ground was slippery on the hikes as well so we slipped a lot. Of course, you could still go to just enjoy the mountains and the scenery and maybe scooter through the villages instead of doing a hike, but it is the most difficult location out of your destinations to visit with young kids.
      Halong Bay is a MUST and I recommend staying for 2 nights, there are caves to explore and kayaks etc which your daughter will love.
      I would also recommend you do Halong Bay from Hanoi and then go to Hoi An after – you can fly out of Danang (40min from Hoi An) which is an international airport.
      Let me know if you have any other questions 😉

  2. Helpful site thanks. Going next weekend 14/9/18 to Hanoi 3/4 days ,then checking Halong Bay trip possibly 2 days,
    Is it better to book cruise or hotel stay from Hanoi ,as the weather is unpredictable?
    If Halong Bay is not OK ,may try Cat Ba Island.
    Plan to take train then overnight to Hue,Danang .HoAnn . NhA Trang & then Saigon.
    Flexible silver surfer travelling with partner,

    • Hi Harbir, sorry for the late reply. We were travelling in Europe and only just returned. How was your trip? What did you end up choosing to do? I think Halong Bay weather is always unpredictable, rain is pretty common which is why we recommend the 2night cruise, so that you can hopefully some good weather somewhere over the 3 days.

  3. Did you book a tour? Trying to see how easy it would be travel to Halong Bay on our own and to visit the caves and do kayaking without booking a tour.

    • Hi Tony, we have never booked a tour to see the region. You can easily hire a driver to take you down and then just hire another driver to bring you back after your stay there. I’ve never hired a car in Vietnam, but if you can find a car hire company outside of Hanoi, it could be an option too. But I wouldn’t want to try and drive in Hanoi Old Quarter though – way too hectic.

    • Hi, we didn’t, we are hoping to return to take them on the cruise as we loved it so much though. The cruise really depends on how old the kids are and whether they will need to be with you in a bigger room or next door in their own room. The cruise we went on the families simply booked two rooms, but that is really expensive and the kids need to be old enough as it doesn’t have interconnecting doors.

  4. if you take a cruise and the cruise bus will be good as they are good bus and you do not have think much about the time.
    now there are more and more nice cruises in Lan Ha Bay where is less touristic. I really recommend VSpirit Premier with the connecting rooms so you can travel with kids.
    if you do not have much time and a day trip will be fine. You can choose Esccape Sails and it is very nice day cruise using luxury bus on expressway and the itinerary is like 2 day 1 night.

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