How to get there
Located in Northern Region in Viet Nam, Ha Long Bay (also "Halong Bay") is one of the most “Charming” beauty nature with many interesting, unique and attractive beauty islands. The topography and landscape are various rivers, island, lakes, caves which have created many different ecology and typical feature.
This unique UNESCO World Heritage Site is a popular place for tourists, and it is good to know that large parts of Ha Long Bay are officially protected from development. The islands vary greatly in size and shape as well as structure.
The Ha Long Bay archipelago is made up of 1,969 islands, both settled and uninhabited. These can be accessed from various ports, though in the special case of Cat Ba you can also arrive either by car, motorbike or bus (via Haiphong) or combined bus/boat (from Hanoi via Halong City).
There are 4 main ways to transfer from Hanoi to Halong Bay:
- Mini Bus from Gia Lam (Hanoi) to Bai Chay (Ha Long). Tickets are bought at the ticket counter for 120,000 VND ($6 USD). The journey takes 4 to 5 hour with the bus stopping to pick up passengers along the way. If your bus departs Hanoi later than 10:00 am it is unlikely that you will make it to Ha Long in time to catch the last ferry to Cat Ba at 3:00 pm.
Note: City bus number 34 goes to Gia Lam for 5,000 VND from the following bus stops: Van Mieu, Hai Ba Trung, Nha Hat Lon, Bac Co, Chuong Duong. Be sure to wait for the bus on the side of the road where the traffic is flowing east or north. Otherwise, you may end up on a longer than intended journey around the city. Do not attempt to board bus 34 from Dien Bien Phu. The bus will run to the end of the line in the opposite direction before turning around and eventually make it to Gia Lam making what should be a short trip a two-hour ordeal.
From My Dinh Bus Station (Hanoi) there are buses traveling to Bai Chay for 100,000 VND. They are faster and more comfortable than the "minibus" from Gia Lam. City bus 34 goes to My Dinh bus station as well.
From Bai Chay to Ha Long City/Tourist Wharf a motorbike taxi should cost 10,000 to 20,000 VND.
From Bai Chay to Tuan Chau Wharf a motorbike taxi should cost 20,000 to 30,000 VND.
From Ha Long City to Tuan Chau Wharf a motorbike taxi should cost 20,000 to 30,000 VND.
A taxi to any of these locations could be more than double.
From Bai Chay bus station City bus 03 stops near Vuon Dao street where most of the budget hotels are located
- By open bus: $15 USD one way, pick up & drop off at Bus Station
- By shuttle bus: Pick up & drop off passengers in the Ha Noi old quarter. 4-6 hours are pending on how many stops en route the driver makes to pick up/drop off passengers. The fare is about US$10 each way.
Take cargo train from Hanoi to Yen Vien (Gia Lam) and then to Quang Ninh. The train starts at 4.30 am and arrives at 11 am. The terminal at Ha Long City is near the Bai Chay bus station and about 5 km away from the harbor. Expect train delays and cancellations without notice. Hard sleeper only, $10 USD one way.(not recommend this transport)
Take a car from Noibai, see more from Hanoi Centre to Halong bay. It costs $85 USD per vehicle, per trip or $150 USD for 2 days, 1 night.
By Private car: Travelling by private car is considered the best choice due to its flexibility, safety, quality and valuable rates. It seems to be uniquely way to reach Ha Long bay from Noi Bai airport despite the collection as it is indeed unsafe enough because of old age, careless drivers and non-competitive price. Some provider: Avis Vietnam, vietnamairporttransfer.com, Rental Car, etc.
Take a seaplane flight from Noibai to Halong for only 45 minutes. Enjoy fabulous aerial views over the countryside and experience the thrill of a water landing at the Tuan Chau Island Marina. The flight can be extended to include an additional 15-minute scenic tour over the bay, which allows you to enjoy a bird’s eye view (150-300m high) of the thousands of limestone karsts jutting up from the jade green waters and see remote fishing villages before landing at Tuan Chau Island Marina
By Sea ( From International Cruise Ships )
If you are traveling with an International Cruise Ships such as Celebrity Cruise, Millennium Cruise, Regent Voyager, it is likely that you will be docking in one of the piers and Cai Lan International port. There is a total of 7 piers which receive both freight ships and tourist ships, so it is very helpful if you know which specific pier you will be stopping at.
From Cai Lan to Bai Chay pier (which hosts Sails, Cruiser) it takes about 15 minutes. From Cai Lan to Tuan Chau Island, it will take about 30minutes. Transfer can be arranged as you arrive by calling a taxi, but to save time, it is better to book cruise tours with pick up at the pier in advance.
Normally, these cruises will allow you a day to visit Halong Bay. You can book a day cruise trip (which normally lasts between 4 and 8 hours, depending on your arrival time) that includes transfer from where you stop.
If you have more than 1 day to spend in Halong Bay, you can book a trip where you can stay on board of smaller cruises in Halong Bay or in a hotel in the mainland. It is advisable that you arrange these tours in advance as it may sometimes be difficult to decide as you land without knowing which junk is a good one to travel within Halong Bay.