Hanoi to Halong Bay

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Halong Bay is dubbed as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It’s filled with multiple towering limestone islands and is quite a scene to take in. In the Halong Bay area, you can enjoy activities such as scuba diving, rock climbing, hiking or even kayak expeditions.

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Is it worth travelling from Hanoi to Halong Bay?

Travelling from Hanoi to Halong Bay without a tour will require more organising and will be slightly more expensive. And to be honest, the city itself (Halong City) is not really as interesting as its world-renowned limestone islands.

However, there is one advantage of travelling to Halong Bay without a tour. This is to visit the Bai Tho Mountain, or better known as Poem Mountain. You’ll have to go off the beaten track to make this climb, but the views from here are just magnificent.

5 ways to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay

There are 5 ways you can travel the 175 km from Hanoi to Halong Bay: a 2.5-hour bus, a 7-hour train, a 2.5-hour taxi, a 1-hour seaplane, and a 55-minute helicopter ride. Rates range start from 300,000 VND ($12) and go as high as 10,920,000 VND ($440) for a helicopter flight.

Transport modeDurationCostsAvailability
Bus2.5 hours300,000 VND ($12)Check bus tickets
Taxi2.5 hours1,910,000 VND ($76)Book a taxi
Train7 hours90,000 VND ($3.60)Check train tickets
Seaplane1 hour9,700,000 VND ($390)Check flights
Helicopter55 minutes10,920,000 VND ($440)Check flights

The bus is the cheapest option to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay. The bus will take you from the centre of Hanoi to the port of Halong Bay from 300,000 VND ($12).

For private transfers, you can get a taxi. Rates start from 1,910,000 VND ($76) for a 5-seater car.

The train is the cheapest option at only 90,000 VND ($3.60), but it takes 7 hours and is also quite uncomfortable with its hard seats. If you want to travel like a local, though, taking the train from Hanoi to Halong Bay can be a great experience.

If you want to experience Halong Bay in a completely different way, you can enjoy an aerial view of Halong Bay by taking a seaplane or a helicopter.

TIP: If you decide to travel by plane, please consider including a carbon compensation fee to reduce your impact on the environment.

Group tours from Hanoi to Halong Bay

Group TourDurationCostsAvailability
Day Trip12 hours1,060,000 VND ($42.50)Book a day tour
Overnight Cruise2D1N3,800,000 VND ($150)Book an overnight cruise

If you want to visit Halong Bay with an organised tour, you can find countless group tours operating daily from Hanoi to Halong Bay.

Rates start from 1,060,000 VND ($42.50) for a day trip and 3,080,000 VND ($120) for an overnight cruise.

Looking for more info on How to get to Halong Bay?

Just click one of the links below to read our step-by-step guides.

PRO TIP: Want to book a boat tour? Don’t forget to check out our recommendations at the bottom of this page!

Itinerary from Hanoi to Halong Bay

Hanoi to Halong Bay route

Hanoi to Halong Bay by Bus

Duration: 2.5 hours
Cost: 300,000 VND ($12)
Duration: 2.5 hours
Cost: 300,000 VND ($12)

There are plenty of buses operating from Hanoi to Halong Bay. And thanks to the Halong – Hai Phong Expressway, which opened in 2018, you can now reach Halong Bay around 2 hours faster than before.

The journey takes 2.5-3.5 hours, depending on which bus you take. Fares start from 300,000 VND ($12).

Departure and arrival station

Sapa Express departs from its office in Hanoi city centre, just a few minutes walk north of Hoan Kiem Lake. Ninh Binh Excursion departs from Hanoi Opera House, a 5-minute walk from the southern edge of Hoan Kiem Lake.

Rosa Eco Bus provides free pick-up from any hotel in the centre of Hanoi.

All buses drop off passengers at Tuan Chau Harbour, where you will find the ferries waiting to depart for their Halong Bay cruise.

Bus schedules from Hanoi to Halong Bay

OperatorScheduleCosts
Sapa Express09:00-11:45313,000 VND ($12.50)
Check Bus Tickets
Ninh Binh Excursion08:30-11:00300,000 VND ($12)
Check Bus Tickets
Rosa Eco Bus
+ free pick-up
08:00-11:30360,000 VND ($14.50)
Check Bus Tickets

Alternative: Limo Van from Hanoi to Halong Bay

Duration: 2.5 hours
Cost: 310,000 VND ($12)
Duration: 2.5 hours
Cost: 310,000 VND ($12)

Limo vans are a more comfortable land transport from Hanoi to Halong Bay. They are generally more spacious and luxurious than buses, but not all that expensive.

Prices for a limo van ticket start from 310,000 VND ($12), and that already includes free hotel pick-up and/or drop-off. Travel time is around 2.5 hours.

Some of the companies operating on this route are AB Vietnam Travel, Halong Travel Limousine, and Green Lion Bus.

Van schedules from Hanoi to Halong Bay

Van CompanySchedulesDurationCosts
AB Vietnam Travel
+ free pick-up
7x a day from
06:00 to 19:00
2.5 hours310,000 VND ($12)
Check Van Tickets
Halong Travel Limousine
+ free pick-up and drop-off
15x a day from
05:30 to 19:30
2.5 hours347,000 VND ($13.50)
Check Van Tickets
Green Lion Bus
+ free pick-up and drop-off
Once a day at
08:15-10:45
2.5 hours377,000 VND ($15)
Check Van Tickets

Hanoi to Halong Bay by Taxi

Duration: 2.5 hours
Cost: 1,910,000 VND ($76)
Duration: 2.5 hours
Cost: 1,910,000 VND ($76)

Prefer a direct transfer? Travelling by taxi from Hanoi to Halong Bay isn’t all that expensive when you’re travelling in a group.

Rates for a 5-seater car start from 1,910,000 VND ($76). If you’re in a group of 5, that’s just 382,000 VND ($15) per person.

We recommend booking your taxi via BookAway, which offers excellent customer service as well as comfortable cars with trusted drivers.

Book a Taxi with BookAway

Hanoi to Halong Bay by Train*

Duration: 7 hours
Cost: 90,000 VND ($3.60)
Duration: 7 hours
Cost: 90,000 VND ($3.60)

COVID-19 UPDATE: The last time we checked (November 2022), it is not clear whether Vietnam Railways has resumed operations on this route. Any feedback would be appreciated!

Travelling by train is the cheapest way to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay. You can buy a ticket for as low as 90,000 VND ($3.60). But there’s a catch, this train was not made for tourists and very few commuters actually take it.

The lone train operating between Hanoi and Halong Bay takes the Yen Vien – Pha Lai – Ha Long – Cai Lan railway project, which after over 15 years of construction remains to be unfinished.

Thankfully for travellers in the faraway future, the Vietnamese government decided to resume this project with target completion in 2030, according to an article by VN Express.

But since that’s still a few years away, let’s focus on what you can expect from the Hanoi to Halong Bay train for now.

Why take the train from Hanoi to Halong Bay

If you’re all about discovering culture and taking roads less travelled, the train from Hanoi to Halong Bay is for you. It passes through Vietnam’s rural landscape and towns you probably never heard of.

On top of that, you will be riding with local traders transporting fruits and vegetables to sell in the markets. This will be a great opportunity to speak with them or simply observe their way of life.

This train also makes long stops — 10 to 15 minutes in some stations — and gives you some time to go out of the train, buy food, interact with locals, take photos, and make an adventure out of this journey.

Some things to consider

This train ride takes 7 hours and only hard seats are available. That can be quite uncomfortable after a few hours.

Not all train cars have seats, too. So if it so happens that the seats are fully booked on the day of your travel, you will need to pay a few dollars more for a temporary seat to be installed for you.

Also, we recommend on reading up on other travellers’ experiences before boarding the train so you have an idea of what to expect. Its staff speak very little English, if at all. If you need assistance, they may not be of much help.

Departure and arrival station

There is only one train trip daily. This departs at 04:55 in the morning from Yen Vien Station, northeast of Hanoi city centre. That’s very early in the morning so it’s best to book a Grab ride for around 220,000 VND ($8.50).

You will reach Halong Bay Station at 11:45. From this train station, you can find Bai Chay Beach 5 km south and Tuan Chau Harbour 9 km southwest. That’s about 130,000 VND ($5) to 170,000 VND ($6.50) by taxi.

You can buy your train tickets onsite at Yen Vien Station. Pre-pandemic, you can also purchase your tickets online. But the last time we checked (November 2022), Baolau has yet to resume ticket-selling for this route. Click the link below to see if anything has changed.

Check Train Tickets with Baolau

Hanoi to Halong Bay by Seaplane

Duration: 1 hour
Cost: 9,700,000 VND ($390)
Duration: 1 hour
Cost: 9,700,000 VND ($390)

If you want to admire the limestone landscape from above, you can also take a seaplane from Hanoi to Halong Bay. It will give you a bird’s eye view of its stunning karst landscape.

Hai Au Aviation offers one daily seaplane trip with fares from 9,700,000 VND ($390).

There is a tentative departure every day at 10:00 in the morning, as long as there are at least 4 passengers joining the flight. If not, your trip may be moved to another date. Flight time is about 1 hour.

The seaplane departs from Terminal 1 of Hanoi Airport. It arrives at the Tuan Chau Marina (southwest of Bai Chay Beach), the starting point of most Halong Bay cruises.

You can book this adventure through the Hai Au Aviation website.

Hanoi to Halong Bay by Helicopter

Duration: 55 minutes
Cost: 10,920,000 VND ($440)
Duration: 55 minutes
Cost: 10,920,000 VND ($440)

Another picturesque yet expensive option would be to take a helicopter from Hanoi to Halong Bay. Vietnam Helicopter Tours offers a flight every Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. This departs at 09:00 in the morning.

The helicopter journey takes 55 minutes — already including an 8-minute scenic tour of Halong Bay.

Helicopter fares from Hanoi to Halong Bay start from 10,920,000 VND ($440) per person. You can book your flight directly on the Vietnam Helicopter Tours website.

Helicopters depart from Gia Lam Airport, which you can find 7 km east of Hanoi’s Old Quarter. They arrive at Tuan Chau Island in Halong Bay.

Alternative: Halong Bay Helicopter Tour

Duration: 10 minutes
Cost: 1,900,000 VND ($76)
Duration: 10 minutes
Cost: 1,900,000 VND ($76)

If the helicopter fares from Hanoi to Halong Bay are too high for your budget, you can travel to Halong Bay via bus or limo van first, and then take a helicopter tour once you’re already there.

Klook offers a Halong Bay Helicopter Tour with rates from 1,900,000 VND ($76) for a 10-minute ride. There are also more expensive tours that last longer at 15 minutes and 30 minutes.

You can book a helicopter tour through the link below.

Book a Helicopter Tour with Klook

Hanoi to Halong Bay by Group Tour

Duration: 12 hours
Cost: 1,060,000 VND ($42.50)
Duration: 12 hours
Cost: 1,060,000 VND ($42.50)

If you don’t want the hassle of finding your own way from Hanoi to Halong Bay, you can also join one of many group tours being offered for this route. Both day tours and overnight cruises are available.

Option 1: Hanoi to Halong Bay by Day Tour

Duration: 12 hours
Cost: 1,060,000 VND ($42.50)
Duration: 12 hours
Cost: 1,060,000 VND ($42.50)

If you only have a day to explore Halong Bay, we recommend booking a Dragonfly Cruise (including pick-up from Hanoi). This includes roundtrip Hanoi-Halong Bay transfers, a boat cruise along Halong Bay, seafood lunch, and kayaking around the islands.

You can book this 12-hour tour with Klook for 1,060,000 VND ($42.50).

Book a Day Tour with Klook

Option 2: Hanoi to Halong Bay by Overnight Cruise

Duration: 2D1N
Cost: 3,800,000 VND ($150)
Duration: 2D1N
Cost: 3,800,000 VND ($150)

To fully appreciate the beauty of Halong Bay, we highly recommend spending at least 2 days here. With this option, you can explore Sung Sot Cave, take a dip at Titop Island, and enjoy a luxurious overnight cruise.

This Halong Bay 2D1N tour includes roundtrip transfers from and to Hanoi, full board meals, a cooking class, and a chance to explore the bay by kayak.

Rates start from 3,800,000 VND ($150) if you’re joining the cruise with at least one companion. Rooms are usually twin sharing so there is a surcharge for solo travellers.

Book an Overnight Cruise with GetYourGuide

  Activities

Visiting Halong Bay


To experience Halong Bay in the best way, you can book a boat cruise departing from Hanoi. Organized tours departing from Hanoi are often cheaper than tours sold by agencies in Halong Bay and another advantage is that you don't need to organise your transport to get there.

We recommend booking your boat tour online to get the best prices and be certain that you book with a trusted company. I already spoke to many travellers who booked boat trips from a random agency on the street and were very disappointed by the service and conditions of this boat.

See here our recommendation of well-rated boat cruises:

*Both tours include free pick-up and drop-off in Hanoi.

Want to have a broader choice of tours? Check out Halong Bay Tours on Klook for more on boat cruises around Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay (Cat Ba).

FAQ How to get there

Frequently asked questions about travelling to Halong Bay from Hanoi

Traveling from Hanoi to Halong Bay

Is it worth visiting Halong Bay?

Halong Bay offers stunning views and is one of the highlights of Vietnam. Travelling here by bus is fairly easy, but we recommend booking an organised boat trip departing from Hanoi instead. This is often cheaper and costs much less effort to organise.

What is the most popular way to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay?

The most popular option to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay is by direct bus, which takes about 2.5-3.5 hours. Other options to travel this 175 km distance from Hanoi include taking the van, train, taxi and even seaplane or helicopter.

What is the main highlight in Halong City/Bai Chay?

Not to confuse with the beautiful Bay of this area, Halong City, also known as Bai Chay, is just an ordinary city and not very interesting to visit for travellers. However, there is one stunning viewpoint overlooking Ha Long Bay on top of the famous Poem Mountain.

How can I visit Poem Mountain when travelling from Hanoi to Halong Bay?

To visit this stunning viewpoint, you will need to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay first. As far as we know, it is unfortunately not possible to visit this viewpoint as part of an organised tour.

Once you arrive in Halong City, you can find the location of Poem Mountain easily on Google maps.

TIP: Don’t forget to read the most recent reviews to check if Poem Mountain is still open to visitors.

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