How to get to Halong Bay (2024 updated)

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How to get to Halong Bay

With 1 international airport, various new highway connected and only located about 120km from Vietnam’s capital, getting to Halong Bay has never been easier. You could choose from various options: by road, flights or even train. 

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distance table
Distance between Halong Bay and famous destinations

Halong Bay is around 179 kilometers from Hanoi, a distance you can cover in 2.5 hours on the most modern Highway of Vietnam – 5B Highway. 

Suppose you want to visit other sights along the way, such as Sapa (a beautiful mountainous town) or Ninh Binh (Halong Bay on land), where you’ll also find a lot of limestone cliffs and mounts. In that case, they’re 493 kilometers and 229 kilometers from Halong Bay.

And last but not least, if you’re already in Haiphong — a coastal town that’s a stone’s throw away from Halong Bay — you’re only a very short taxi ride away from Halong Bay. From Hai Phong to Halong Bay is only 63 kilometers!


By Flights


Cat Bi Airport
Cat Bi Airport is the closest airport to Halong Bay – @fanboeing787

Flights are the best way to get to Halong Bay if you are coming directly from Central or South Vietnam cities like Danang or Ho Chi Minh City. There’re 3 airports for you to choose from: Cat Bi (45km), Van Don Airport (60 km), or Noi Bai Airport (197km). Flight fares range from 50 USD to 70 USD, with the longest flight lasting 2 hours (Ho Chi Minh City-SSGN) and the shortest being 1 hour and 20 minutes (Danang-DDAD).

If you’re coming from Western countries, the ideal way is to land in Noi Bai (HAN) and then take either a bus, train, or motorbike to the bay.

There’s also an option to fly internationally to Halong Bay, with very few routes from Asian cities like Taipei or Seoul to Cat Bi (HPH). 


By Bus/Limousine vans


Limousine vans
Limousine vans is convenient and popular choice/@LimoNinhBinh

You can get a bus from nearby cities like Ninh Binh or, most popularly, the capital Hanoi. 

The bus tickets tend to be very cheap, only around $7 to $10 per way. There’re lots of options for buses that leave from local bus stations and arrive at Bai Chay Bustation. However, as it’s mostly for locals, you might find it hard to get to the bus station, communicate with local staff (as they rarely speak a second language other than Vietnamese), and get to Halong Bay on time because public transportation in Vietnam is not always on time. 

A more convenient and sufficient way is to use limousine vans. This type of van is getting more popular these days because they’re offering a pick-up at your hotel for a small number of guests per van (7 to 12 people) and depart every hour daily. Vexere or 12Go offers transparent prices, around $15 to $20 per way, but it is well worth it. 


By private car


If a bus is too much of a hassle for you, try a private car. The fair cost is around 12,000 vnd (50 cents) per kilometer, with an extra highway fee depending on where you are coming from. Private cars could be easily arranged by your hotel reception, so try to get the all-included prices in advance. 

We also highly recommend Grab, the most popular ride-hailing app in Vietnam. Just like an Uber, it shows all the rates and driver information and could be booked in just a few minutes. It’s quite popular in Hanoi, but you might struggle to book one in smaller cities like Ninh Binh or Nam Dinh. 


By motorbike


If you’re looking for an adventure that will take your breath away, then go for a motorbike. The journeys are filled with breathtaking scenery, winding roads, picturesque villages and some of the most beautiful landscapes in Vietnam. 

The rate to rent a motorbike in Vietnam is about 150,000vnd to 200,000vnd per day, depend on type of motorbike is manual or automatic. Automatic motorbike (Toyota Nouvo or Honda Airblade) might be easier to ride but manual (Honda Serius, Honda Wave) would be safer and more gasoline-friendly. Gasoline is pretty reasonable in Vietnam, about a dollar more or less for a liter. 

It’s important to note that riding a motorbike in Vietnam can be challenging due to the chaotic traffic and we only suggest if you have experience driving in a South East Asia country before.  You’ll need a International Driving license to legally drive in Vietnam. 


By Seaplane


Seaplane Halong Bay
Seaplane offer a scenic view of Halong and its surrounding from above – @haiau.aviation

Suppose you have a roomier budget and you want to enjoy the traveling experience to the fullest. In that case, we highly recommend taking a seaplane from Hanoi to Halong Bay, which offers you a beautiful aerial view of the bay and its emerald-green water. Of course, this option is much pricier, with tickets ranging from $175 to as much as $390 per passenger.

The flight takes around 45 minutes and gives you a scenic bay view. Hai Au Aviation operates it and takes off from Noi Bai International Airport to Tuan Chau Marina, near Tuan Chau Island, Halong City.


By Train


There’s also the option of taking a train to Halong Bay, which we could guarantee would be a one-of-a-kind experience.

There’s only 1 train station in Halong, which is quite old, and the only station it connects with is Yen Vien station in Hanoi. Tickets could be booked at the Vietnam Railway Official Site, which starts at $4 per passenger, starts from Yen Vien station at around 4:55 AM every day, and arrives at 11:41 AM in Halong City.

What makes this special is that this train route is for local sellers only, which means there’s no seating area or even a proper chair on board. 




Can you take a helicopter to Halong Bay?


Actually, yes! Besides seaplanes, if you want a view of the Bay from the air, you can also take a helicopter tour. But note that these packages can be extremely pricey and only suit affluent travelers. A 1-day helicopter tour of Halong Bay may set you back as much as $2,000.

The tour starts at Hanoi from Gia Lam heliport. From there, you’ll take a 45-minute chartered helicopter flight to Halong Bay. Guiding you through all the sights along the way, offering you commentaries, and answering all of your questions will be an English-speaking guide.


Can I hire a private car or driver to take me to Halong Bay from Hanoi?


Yes. Many services offer chartered cars or minibusses that take you from Hanoi to Halong Bay. That means the whole vehicle can take you and your fellow travelers to Halong Bay privately, without any other stranger sharing the ride like you would with a normal bus.

The fares, of course, are going to be pricier than a normal bus, but not by a whole lot. Compared to the standard $15 or $20 fare of a bus, a private car is going to set you back around $100.

Some people may find the included privacy worth the money.

A third option, too, is hailing a private car from a ridesharing service (just think Uber.) Many ridesharing services are available in Vietnam that you can download from an app store on your phone. The most popular one right now is Grab. The fare sometimes can be cheaper than hailing a taxi.


Are there any direct flights to Halong Bay?


At the moment, the Halong Bay area is serviced by Van Don international airport. You can take a flight anywhere from Vietnam here, then ride a short distance (50km) to Halong Bay proper.

The airport to Halong Bay is serviced by many different airlines, including Vietnam Airlines, Bamboo Airlines, and VietJet Air.


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