Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most favorite tourist attractions in Vietnam. It is amazing seascapes for thousands of limestone islets rising up from the immensely blue seawater. Especially, these islets are in different shapes which make fantastic scenes.
How Travel Hanoi to Ha Long?
Halong Bay is the must see destination in your Vietnam vacation. However, How to travel to Halong Bay from Hanoi it is still a confusion to some tourist when have a schedule to this place. This article will be the useful information and instructions you the best way to travel to Halong Bay and have a cruise trip at the bay and surrounding.
Travel Hanoi to Ha Long: The popular and inexpensive land transport
Situated in the northeast Vietnam, Halong Bay is right in the heart of the Gulf of Tonkin. Halong Bay belongs to Quang Ninh Province. It is about 140km from Hanoi city to Halong Bay. Nowadays, Halong Bay is the very popular destination in Vietnam for domestic and foreign tourists. After UNESCO recognized it as the World Heritage Sites and also is one of the New Seven World Wonder, Halong is well known in the world and become a hot spot.
As a result, the tourism development in this area, and to meet the increasing number of tourists’ demands from Hanoi to Halong Bay, the traffic has been upgraded recent years. It makes visiting Halong Bay more comfortable and convenient than.
Therefore, most of tourists choose to travel to Halong Bay by land transport and because it is the most comfortable and inexpensive way. However, depending each Transport Company or Cruise Company, it’s quality is not same and give you different experiences. Below are some notes:
1: Local coach: This is for backpackers
- What are the advantages of the local coach?
Public transports are the most popular and convenient ways to travel from a place to place in all countries. This is the cheap price way to travel. When you are not a good map reader, a coach is really helpful. It is easily for you to get closer with the local Vietnamese life when travel on a public transport. However, the quality of transport sometimes as not good as tourist transport because it is older and more smell than.
It is easy for you to find a common route on coach Hanoi – Hai Duong – Hai Phong – Bai Chay (Halong city). Thanks to the good traffic infrastructure, the time on transport now is about 4 to 5 hours. It costs around US $ 3.5 – 7 depending the coach’s quality and size. Especially, you don’t need to pay extra charge on the weekend when traveling on public transport. The earliest coach leaves Hanoi at 6.00 am and latest at 20.00 pm. Every 1-2 hours has 1 public coach.
- How to book a ticket from Hanoi to Halong Bay?
It is easy to buy a ticket. You choose the departure date and then choose a website vexere.com click on and see the fully detailed schedule from all providers. You can choose the coach and time and date you’re your wish.
Before deciding the coach, useful tips from previous travellers’ reviews are good for your decision. Especially, you should choose providers with the more trust when they have active licenses in local coach stations. Additional, you can make a phone call to check the seat and then go to their office or local coach stations to buy ticket. Moreover, you can book through the website. It is recommended you book in advance to ensure the ticket is available for your schedule
- Why not to choose the coach to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay?
Although it is advantage to book a public coach as mentioned above, it still has some disadvantages. Therefore, it isnot an ideal transport to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay on local coach. Because the coach mainly serves for local people, they bring everything on the bus so that it has a not good smell. In addition, the driver cannot speak English which it has many difficulties in communicating and understanding.
It will be a big trouble if you need to have any change or something like that when you are on coach or miss your stop. Especially, the bus station isnot in tourist area, Old Quarter so you need to take a taxi to bus station to get on transport. This is a big disadvantage for you while traveling.
Furthermore, the coach is quite unsuitable for a day trip. When you need depart for and leave the bay early, you will always be in a hurry. Even if you are willing to wait for the latest coach, the fact that you’re out of energy will make your trip less perfect.
Moreover, who can guarantee the providers won’t cancel that coach at last minute? Spending a half day just for moving back and won’t ensure you a perfect journey either.
2: Shuttle Bus: Convenient and straightforward
- What’s so good about shuttle bus?
The shuttle bus is also known as the tourist bus. When you decide to book a room on any cruise in Halong Bay, that cruise has offered shuttle bus travel round way Hanoi – Halong Bay – Hanoi daily. And because it is tourist bus, it ensures the quality of the bus for only tourist so that you are safe, clean and well care from cruise company. The main customers of the shuttle bus are foreign tourists, it offers more comfort and convenience for them.
The bus including Ford Transit, Limousine Bus which have from 9 to 16 seats. Especially, it doesn’t stop at the middle of the way to catch more customers but travel straight to Halong Bay. It has just a small break which is about 15 minutes for the passengers to go to the toilet. Therefore, it will take less time to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay than going by coach, about 3 – 3.5 hours.
In addition, it also includes some advanced services such as wifi, water on the bus. And driver can speak English or speak a little which is less barrier in language when you need something. Some cruises have guide travel with you from Hanoi to Halong Bay and return way so that you can feel comfort. Yes, the drivers normally have enough English to communicate with you and solve some of your problems.
The cost for shuttle bus about US$ 10 – 35 per person for round way depending on each cruise and type of bus. The departure time is usually at 7.30 a.m or 8.30 a.m or earlier depending on providers’ schedule.
- Where and how to catch the shuttle bus from Hanoi to Halong Bay?
As we mentioned above, the shuttle bus mainly serves foreign customers. The shuttle bus will mostly pick up the passengers from the Old Quarter – the center for foreigners in Hanoi or around Hoan Kiem Lake. The driver picks up and drops off after Halong Bay cruise trip at your hotel. In case your hotel is not in these address, you can go to cruise office before 8.00 am to start the trip.
However, one thing to notice that the picking up time is usually a half to one hour before the departure time to go around to pick up everyone. It is easy when you book a room on cruise and order them 1 way or round way shuttle bus.
- Is there any hesitation for the shuttle bus?
The answer is yes when you have short or one day trip. It is better than local coach, but shuttle bus in a short time will take you much time on the way when the driver has stop 15 minutes and follow their schedule and route. It will not enough time or something like that if you would like to enjoy anything on the way travel to Halong Bay.
3: Private car: Carefree and Painless
- Who to take private car to Halong Bay?
The private car is the best choice to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay. While private car is not really economical and also takes as much time as the local coach and shuttle bus, it will give you a carefree direct journey and more space of privacy in return. It gives you the flexible time for those who don’t like to follow any rules or schedules. This is also a good choice for a small group of friends or family. There is enough space for a lot of luggage. In addition, everyone can sit nice and close to each other to have a chit chat or lean on each other sleeping. The private car is also ideal for a businessman who wants to work on the way without being disturbed.
How to get a private car from Hanoi?
- Taxi from Hanoi to Halong Bay
It is easy to take a taxi to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay. You can call to the taxi company which are familiar and credible to you to book one. The price will be measured by the electricity kilometer. However, you can deal with the driver to have a better price. The price can vary from US$43 – 57 per way depending on the size of the taxi. However, please note you choose a well-known and belief taxi company to travel so that avoid driver or services not good.
Private car from Hanoi to Halong Bay
- Private car with driver
When you plan travel to Halong Bay or book a cruise trip in Halong Bay, you can ask the supplier about the private car for you also. It is easy for you to send email or call to a travel company in Hanoi and book a private car. The cost is also very reasonable for you. With the private car booking, everything is included for you and you just take for driver your cruise name or address, he will transfer you to the right address as your wish. This is the safest and belief way to travel while you are not brought to selling points on the way. Epecially, driver always serve for tourists so they are friendly and belief
- Private car without driver
The private car without driver can be a choice for you but it’s not highly recommended. The process to hire a car is too complicated. You must have the B1 driving license, international driving license, original identity card, original household and a bike with registration certificate (or cash instead). The price varies from US$ 25 – 65 per day or even higher on the weekend and holidays. You can book private car without driver at otochothuetulai.vn
4: Motorbike: Adventurous journey to Halong Bay
- What are advantages of the motorbike?
Although motorbike is not convenient for the long journey, however, it give the eager for travelers who want an adventure. It is such a great means of transport. You can be completely flexible and active with your plan on motorbike. The total time to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay by motorbike is about 3.5 – 4 hours. However, you can stop wherever you want and enjoy local life as your wish on the way. The price of the gasoline is fairly cheap. Especially, when you get to Halong Bay, the feeling of achieving something will definitely satisfy you. If you don’t own a bike, it’s still possible to hire one. It is simple to rent a motorbike in tourist area in Hanoi.
- How to rent a motorbike?
It’s not hard to find a bike renting store. A lot of them are available in the Hanoi Old Quarter and West Lake area. Most of the owners can speak English fluently, so you can communicate with them easily. You can try the motorbike first. They will also give you some suggestions for your driving experience and aim.
There are many kinds of bike available which are Honda Win, Honda Wave, Airblade and even more powerful motorbike. After having chosen the motorbike as your wish, the last step of the process is giving the owner the photocopy of your passport, the deposit, and the renting fee. Some owners may ask you for the original passport. However, it’s recommended to try to make a deal with them. The deposit and the renting fee is US$ 250-400.
- What are disadvantages of the motorbike?
There are actually some disadvantages while driving a motorbike. With the distance of 140 km, it requires you to have good health and driving skill. Otherwise, you will easily get tired and have no energy left for other activities. Especially, it is a big obstacle for you is when your bike breaks down on the way. When you are in the highway, the chance for you to find a store to fix it is almost zero. Another disadvantage could be the weather, especially when it rains heavily. It’s challenging to drive under the rain, followed by the chance of an accident. Therefore, using a motorbike to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay could be really dangerous for people having no experience. Easily getting lost is also one of the disadvantages. The messy, chaotic traffic can make you confusion and lead you in the wrong direction.
5: Train: Traditional and vintage
- Why to choose train to travel from Hanoi to Halong?
The train is last land transport on the list and it is the oldest one. Unlike other noisy, rushing vehicles, the train will give you the feeling of being brought back to the old days. It also offers you a lovely view and the chance to blend in with local people. It is the way to learn the culture with local people on train. Especially, it’s pretty safe to go by train.
There is just one train departing per day. The journey takes about 5-7 hours long. You can choose to depart from Yen Vien Station. The price is around US$ 5 depending on whether you choose a hard seat or soft seat. And the departure time is at about 5 a.m. You can also depart from Gia Lam Station with Halong Express train. The price is US$15/one-way ticket (single tourist) and US$10/one-way ticket (group tourist).
However, the disadvantage of travel on train is that you must go to the train station. And when you arrive in Halong train station you must take a taxi to the harbor for joining cruise trip in Halong Bay.
- How to book a train ticket to Halong?
You can go to train station directly to book ticket before you travel so that you have ticket as your wish. Or you can book ticket with Travel Company so that you can get the right ticket as your wish
- What are drawbacks of taking train from Hanoi?
The train is not popular among all land transports to Halong now. It is because train takes a long travel, expensive and the schedule consequently is inconsistent. Sometimes, it is not easy to find a train available on the day you want. Or even it can be cancel on last minutes. The inconvenient is that the train stops at train station in city centre, so it must take a taxi to the harbor and you spend more fees for this.
6: From Hanoi to Halong Bay: Extraordinary view from air transport
What are your looking for out of the ordinary experience? You are finding yourself experiencing more gorgeous and incredible views. The air transport will pleasure your passion and desire. The seaplane is available every day for Hanoi and Halong Bay scenic, nowadays.
Seaplane: Time-saving trip
Why is seaplane worth trying?
The first one to mention is the helicopter or seaplane. It’s the EC 155 B1 manufactured by Airbus Helicopter. Although it is not familiar as a transport, it offers is being used more and more because the price is not much as expensive as previous years. The helicopter will bring you the adventurous and thrilling experience from the height of 300 – 500 meters and 120 – 150 meters in Halong Bay.
You can view the bay from the high place to catch the panorama of rising islands and islets. You may feel like a Hollywood movie star and enjoy the lovely view from the sky at the same time.
Furthermore, it just takes you about 45 minutes to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay. This will save you a lot of time comparing to other vehicles. You can combine seaplane and a cruise trip in Halong bay to have both view from the height as well as cruise to touch closer the island and the bay.
- What are downsides of the seaplane?
It is factually the awesome experience to some people; however, it can be really fearsome to others. The small size of the helicopter can create insecurity. You can feel the movements of the seaplane obviously making scary at some parts. It’s definitely unsuitable with people having heart disease or height fear. Moreover, it is not economical to some people. That’s why the seaplane cannot become a popular choice for Halong Bay tour.
- Why to choose seaplane to travel from Hanoi to Halong?
Although its price is not budget, seaplane is one of the best choice to view the panorama Halong bay. It will give you the wonderful experience which makes you remember forever. Should try once in your life and surely you will not regret for this.