How to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay
In order to attract a larger number of both domestic and international tourists to Halong Bay as well as enhance people’s travel experience in the world-famous UNESCO Heritage, remarkable investments in the transportation system have been made, resulting in various methods for travelling between Hanoi and Halong, among which the most popular ones are luxury shuttle car, coach, private car, train, motorbike, and seaplane.
Below is a detailed comparison regarding price, duration, advantages, and disadvantages of the 6 best means of transportation for your consideration of the most suitable option.
- Hanoi to Halong Bay Luxury Shuttle Bus
If you are looking for a comfortable and high-quality service, a luxury shuttle bus from Hanoi to Halong Bay is a great recommendation. Not only shuttle bus operators but also a number of Halong Bay cruise lines provide this convenient transport.
- Duration: 2.5 hours to get from Hanoi Old Quarter to Halong City via Hanoi – Hai Phong – Halong Expressway
- Cost: US$ 15-20/one-way/person; US$ 30-40/round-trip/person
- Deluxe conveniences: Luxury shuttle buses include high-end facilities with good services (air-conditioners, massaging chairs, free WiFi, mineral water, wet tissues, mobile phone charging ports, and an LCD screen). Moreover, several luxury shuttle bus operators provide customer support in English.
- Time-saving: All luxury shuttle buses from Hanoi to Halong Bay transfer through Hanoi – Hai Phong – Halong Expressway, which takes you about 2.5 hours.
- Direct pick-up and drop-off: Most luxury shuttle buses pick up and drop off passengers directly at their locations (houses, hotels, etc.). This can help you save an extra amount for a taxi transfer.
- Not too noisy: Due to a limited number of passengers, the space is relatively quiet, allowing you to relax while the vehicle transfers
- Flexible schedule: Several luxury shuttle bus operators provide hourly departure schedules, while others provide 5-6 departure options every day. You can make a booking at your suitable time.
- High price: Hanoi to Halong Bay luxury shuttle buses usually cost you approximately US$ 25-40/round-trip/person, which is a relatively high expense. However, the benefits you get are worth that price.
- Best for: couples, families, business travellers, or those who prefer a convenient and time-saving transfer
Luxury shuttle bus schedule
- Shuttle bus operated by transport companies: Hanoi to Halong Bay luxury shuttle buses frequently departs every hour during the day, from 5:00 or 6:00 a.m to 8:00 or 9:00 p.m, depending on each operator’s schedule.
- Shuttle bus operated by cruise companies or travel agents: There is only one schedule; shuttle buses usually pick up passengers at 8:00 – 9:00 a.m around the Hanoi Old Quarter and drop off passengers at 11:00 – 11:30 a.m at your hotel or cruise port in Halong.
How to book
Book a shuttle bus separately
Tourists can choose a Hanoi to Halong Bay shuttle bus operated by a transport company. There are a number of shuttle bus operators providing various transfer options. Three popular ways to book a shuttle bus include:
- Making an online booking on websites such as 12Go or Baolau. These digital platforms provide a selection of shuttle bus lines with detailed information on routes, schedules, prices, etc. in English.
- Contacting the hotline of shuttle bus companies. Some operators that support English communication are Kumho Viet Thanh (1900088835) and Phuc Xuyen (19006799).
- Buying a ticket at the coach station (if you choose to travel by a public shuttle bus)
Book a shuttle bus together with a cruise
A number of Halong Bay cruise companies offer shuttle bus transfer service that is included in their tour packages. Luxury shuttle buses pick up travellers at their hotel in the Hanoi Old Quarter area and drop them off at cruise ports in Halong. Tourists should check this complimentary service with your cruise operator to make a booking.
Arcady Cruise operates a fleet of luxury round-trip shuttle buses between Hanoi and Halong Bay, featuring 9-seat Limousine cars equipped with free WiFi, USB chargers, air-conditioners, and complimentary bottles of water. Tourists are suggested to book the Package Cruise including shuttle service for the best travel experience.
Our shuttle transfers leave Hanoi at 8:45 am in Hanoi Old Quarter and will pick you up, though guests staying outside of the area can head to the central pick-up location at 80 Nguyen Van Cu Street, Long Bien District. The returning shuttle transfers leave Halong Bay at 12:00 and drop guests at their hotels back in Hanoi Old Quarter or at the central drop-off point at 80 Nguyen Van Cu Street, Long Bien District.
- Hanoi to Halong Bay Coach
A 40-45-seat coach (or public bus) is one of the most popular ways to transfer from Hanoi to Halong Bay. There are a variety of coach operators for your choice depending on your location. Departure points of coaches include My Dinh Coach Station (Nam Tu Liem District), Gia Lam Coach Station (Long Bien District), and Giap Bat Coach Station (Hoang Mai District). A majority of coaches arrive at Bai Chay Terminal, while some drop off passengers at Tuan Chau pier or Halong City Center. In addition, coaches are also the preferred means of transportation by a number of travel agents that operate Halong Bay tours due to large groups of tourists.
- Duration: Approximately 3.5-4 hours to travel from Hanoi to Halong City via Highway No.18
- Cost: Around US$ 6-8/one-way/person
- Economical: The ticket price of public shuttle buses ranges from US$ 6 to US$ 8/one-way/person, which is quite reasonable.
- Basic conveniences: Most of the public shuttle buses are equipped with air-conditioners, free WiFi, mineral water, and wet tissues. Several vehicles include an LCD screen for entertainment (music, films).
- Flexible schedule: Generally public buses depart from Hanoi or from Halong every hour daily.
- More time-consuming due to unavailable Expressway route: All Hanoi to Halong Bay public buses transfer through Highway No.18, which takes about 3.5-4 hours.
- Extra transport fees: Coaches do not pick up and drop off passengers directly at their locations; therefore, tourists have to arrive at coach stations or cruise ports by themselves. It will cost you an amount for a taxi transfer.
- Crowded and noisy: Due to the large number of passengers in a public shuttle bus, sometimes you may find yourself uncomfortable with noise from surrounding people.
- Best for: budget-conscious travellers
Hanoi to Halong Bay coach price 2023
- Public shuttle bus (coach): US$ 6-8/one-way/person; US$ 12-16/round-trip/person
- Standard shuttle bus:
- 16-seat minivan: US$ 10-12/one-way/person; US$ 20-25/round-trip/person
- 29-seat bus: US$ 8-10/one-way/person; US$ 15-20/round-trip/person
- 45-seat bus: US$ 8-10/one-way/person; US$ 15-20/round-trip/person
How to book
Tourists can easily book a coach ticket on 12Go or Baolau. These online platforms provide a selection of operators with detailed information on routes, schedules, prices, etc. in English. Other ways you can try are buying a ticket at the coach station or contacting the hotline of coach companies to make a direct booking. Here are some options that support English communication:
- Kumho Viet Thanh: 1900088835
- Phuc Xuyen: 19006799
- Hanoi to Halong Bay Private Car
In case tourists prefer complete privacy and time flexibility, renting a private car from Hanoi to Halong Bay is regarded as the most suitable. This means of transportation is also an ideal choice for families or groups of 4-7 people.
- Duration: Approximately 2.5 hours to transfer from Hanoi Old Quarter and Halong City via Hanoi – Hai Phong – Halong Expressway
- Cost: Around US$ 100-200/round trip/car, depending on the type of car (4, 7, or 16-seat), length of excursion (1, 2, or 3-day), or your pick-up and drop-off locations.
- Time efficient: This is the biggest advantage of travelling by private car. It will take passengers about 2.5 hours to reach Halong Bay from Hanoi, through the new Expressway without stops. Compared to a shuttle bus which may move around the city center to pick up passengers, private car transfers directly from your location to your destination in Halong.
- Convenient and private: Hanoi to Halong Bay private car provides door-to-door service by picking up and dropping off tourists at their locations. All you need to do is book your favorite vehicle and enjoy your travel. The private car also ensures the highest level of privacy and comfort (in comparison with other means of transport). You will not be annoyed by crowds and noise from surrounding people. Besides, inconveniences because of strangers can be avoided and you can have a break anytime you want on the way.
- Family-friendly: Thanks to its utmost privacy and time efficiency, a private car is the best choice for families of 3-10 people, especially those with kids or the elderly.
- Economical (for medium groups): In case you travel in a group of at least three people, renting a private car may cost you lower expenses than booking individual seats on a shuttle bus.
- High expense (for individuals or small groups)
- Unnecessary charges
- Best for: couples, families, business travellers, or those who prefer a private and flexible transfer
Types of Hanoi to Halong Bay private car
There is a variety of options for private cars from Hanoi to Halong Bay, depending on tourists’ budgets, group sizes, vehicle quality, and so on. In terms of the number of car seats, this means of transportation can be categorized into three main kinds.
4-seat private car
This choice is ideal for a couple or families with one or two children (maximum of 4 passengers with luggage). Several popular 4-seat cars for Hanoi to Halong transfer include Toyota Vios, Toyota Altis, and Honda Civic.
7-seat private car
The 7-seat car is ideal for families with two kids or two couples (maximum of 6 passengers with luggage). Popular 7-seat private cars between Hanoi and Halong usually feature Toyota Innova or Toyota Fortuner.
16-seat private minivan
It is a suitable choice for a group of friends, or families (from 4 to 10 people) to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay. Toyota Hiace, Ford Transit, Hyundai Solati, and Mercedes Printer are among the most popular private minivan brands.
Fares of Hanoi to Halong Bay private car
|Types of private car
|4-seat private car
|7-seat private car
|16-seat private minivan
- Hanoi to Halong Bay private car providers
A number of cruise companies provide complementary transfer services when tourists make a cruise booking. You can opt for a luxury shuttle bus or a private car depending on your preferences. Vehicles from cruise companies are modern and good-quality with professional services; assistance in English is also available, offering you a convenient travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay.
Tourism agents work with a variety of transport suppliers and have special contracts with them, which enables good car rental. Travel agents also have English-speaking consultants who will support your transfer from the picking up to the drop-off; they follow your trip to make sure your safety until you successfully arrive at your destination. Therefore, they are the first choices for tourists to book a private car from Hanoi to Halong Bay.
There is a wide range of transport companies in Hanoi providing private car services to Halong. They have high-quality vehicles with reasonable prices; however, they speak little English. Foreign tourists may find the booking process or communication with drivers difficult due to a language barrier.
Tourists can also take a taxi from Hanoi to Halong Bay for a private transfer. There is a variety of taxi brands in Hanoi for your choice; and the booking process is also easy. However, taxi prices may be higher than other means of transfer, and drivers can speak little English.
Taxi companies usually provide small-sized cars featuring 4 or 7 seats only. Several highly recommended options include Mai Linh, Taxi Group, and G7 Taxi.
|Mai Linh Taxi
|US$ 77 – US$ 93
|US$ 88.5 – US$ 98.5
|Thu Do Taxi
|US$ 85 – US$ 93
|Thanh Cong Taxi
|US$ 80 – US$ 96
- Hanoi to Halong Train
If passengers do not mind a long journey, train is an interesting option that you can try for a transfer from Hanoi to Halong Bay. This way features not only the highest level of safety but also a great opportunity to admire splendid landscapes on both sides of the railway.
- Duration: The Hanoi – Halong train journey usually lasts for nearly 7 hours
- Cost: Train ticket fare is almost US$ 5/one-way/person.
- The lowest expense: A train ticket usually costs passengers approximately US$ 4/one-way/person, much cheaper than the prices of a shuttle bus or taxi.
- The safest way: Compared to the roadway, the railway is safer because of its exclusive and separate route without other vehicles, reducing the risk of an accident.
- Good sightseeing experience: Due to the low speed, tourists can admire beautiful landscapes in both sites of the railway from the window. On the route from Hanoi to Halong, the train passes by some countryside areas featuring picturesque rice fields or peaceful rivers.
- Time-consuming: The train takes the highest amount of time among the best ways of travelling from Hanoi to Halong. If you plan a short trip (one or two-day), you should not choose a train because the 7-hour journey will prevent you from participating and enjoying more activities in Halong.
- Quite old facilities: Modern conveniences such as air-conditioners, free WiFi, LCD screen, etc. are unavailable on the train. There is also only a hard-seat option, so you may sometimes get tired of sitting for long hours.
- Limited daily schedule: There is only one train from Hanoi to Halong, so tourists do not have many choices of schedule. The train also departs from Hanoi very early, which some passengers may find inconvenient.
- Extra transport fees: The departure location of Hanoi – Halong train is Yen Vien Station (about 11km from the Hanoi Old Quarter). Therefore, you have to take a taxi to transfer from your hotel to the train station and vice versa. Similarly, you also need to transfer from Halong Station to cruise ports and vice versa by yourself.
- Best for: Backpackers and tourists with a limited budget, or those who are not pressed for time
Hanoi to Halong Bay train schedule
Train No. 50501 departs from Yen Vien Station every day at 4:55 a.m and arrives at Halong Station at 11:45 a.m on the same day.
Before reaching the last stop in Halong, the train goes through 11 other stations including Tu Son, Bac Ninh, Bac Giang, Pho Trang, Kep, Bao Son, Lan Mau, Dong Trieu, Mao Khe, Uong Bi, Yen Cu. During each stop (especially Kep or Mao Khe), passengers can have about 15 – 20 minutes to buy things and food or to go sightseeing and take some stunning pictures for their travel album.
When coming back to Hanoi, you can take train No. 50502, which departs from Halong Station at 1:45 p.m and arrives in Hanoi at 8:30 p.m according to the inverse itinerary.
The train price 2023
It costs one adult about US$ 4 for a one-way trip with the only hard-seat option. In case of fully booked seats, extra seats are available at US$ 3/adult. However, this kind of seat is not usually recommended due to its inconvenience and unsafely.
In addition, all the listed prices are subject to VAT and passenger insurance fees; and may vary according to the booking time. Children under 6 years old are offered free tickets; those from 6 to 10 are given a 25% discount; the elderly from 60 and above are given a 15% discount.
|Children under 6 years old
|Children 6-10 years old
|US$ 3 (Discounted 25%)
|The elderly from 60 and above
|US$ 3.4 (Discounted 15%)
How to book
Tourists can easily make an online booking on the official website of Vietnam Railways: https://dsvn.vn/#/timve; or contact the hotline 19006469.
Travelling between Hanoi and Halong Bay by motorbike can bring tourists such an adventurous experience during their vacation.
- Duration: Approximately 3.5 hours or more to get to Halong City from Hanoi Center
- Cost: If you have your own motorbike already, it will cost you nearly nothing (you only need to fill up gasoline). However, for those who do not possess a vehicle, the rental fee varies from about US$ 6-10/motorbike/day, which is insignificant.
- Adventurous and unique experience
- Proactive and flexible in schedule
- Low expense
- Quite dangerous and tiresome
- May get lost
- Unexpected scams
- Inconvenient if you bring heavy or big luggage
- Best for: Adventure travelers and independent backpackers
How to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay by motorbike
Vehicle rental: There are several prestigious motorbike rental centers in Hanoi such as MOTOGO, AZ Motorbikes, Happy Zip Motorbikes, Tigit Motorbikes Hanoi.
Route 1: Hanoi – Bac Ninh – Halong (155 km)
Follow the route from Hanoi, get to Sai Dong crossroad Highway No.5 (for about 10km), then via 23 km on Highway No. 1, arrive in Bac Ninh Province. After that, follow Highway No.18 for about 122 km to respectively reach Pha Lai, Sao Do, Dong Trieu, Uong Bi, and eventually Halong.
Route 2: Hanoi – Hai Duong – Halong (170 km)
From Hanoi, tourists can reach Nam Sach, Hai Duong Province through Highway No.5B, then follow Highway No.183 to get to Halong.