1. Introduction Hanoi to Halong Bay 

This detailed itinerary, Hanoi to Halong Bay, is planned for tourists to visit some iconic places in the capital, see how the largest port in Vietnam works and enjoy the beauty of Halong Bay. 

Hanoi and Halong Bay have been on the priority list of popular tourist attractions and avid travelers are always excited to visit these two ever-changing places. As the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi is coated in an ancient and dynamic beauty. It is home to a vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, and great cuisine. Take a city tour around Hanoi and Hanoi’s charm will not make you disappointed.

Coming to Halong Bay, you are visiting a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular travel destination in Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam. Visitors will have a chance to explore the beautiful natural wonders and be close to nature as much as possible. Halong Bay is an ideal place for you to catch a glimpse of thousands of limestone islets topped with rainforests and enjoy the excitement of sailing.

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2. How to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay?

There is no direct way to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay. Instead, there are 6 main types of transport, which include motorbike, coach, shuttle bus, private car, train, helicopter, and waterway transport (starting in Hai Phong).

2.1. Shuttle Bus – Most Popular

Shuttle Bus, or simply Bus, is the most popular mean of transport used by both locals and tourists to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay. All types of shuttle buses are spacious and their capacity ranges from 9 to 45 seats. Basic amenities such as air-conditioners, bottled water, etc. are included.

    • Duration: 2.5 hours
    • Cost: ~ US$ 13/ one-way/ person with free pick-up and drop-off in the Hanoi Old Quarter. There will be a surcharge for picking up outside the quarter.
    • Pros: Economical, Convenient, Direct transfer
    • Cons: Inflexible in time & schedule
    • Best for: Tight budget travelers, Singles & Solo, Backpackers

3 Major bus stops

    • My Dinh Station – 20 Pham Hung Street, My Dinh 2, Nam Tu Liem District
    • Giap Bat Station – 06 Giai Phong Street, Hoang Liet Ward, Hoang Mai District
    • Gia Lam Station – 09 Ngo Gia Kham Street, Long Bien District

2.2. Luxury Bus – Most Comfortable

Luxury Bus offers a much more comfortable than other types of transport. Take a luxury bus, and you can travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay through the highway, so it saves more time for you to explore the destination.  In addition to basic amenities,, a 9 – 16-seat luxury limousine provides high-end service including free wifi, massage chairs, English-speaking and welcoming drivers, LCD screen and so on.

  • Duration: 2.5 hours
  • Cost: ~ US$ 25/ one-way/ person
  • Pros: Comfortable, Pleasant services, Straightforward and Time-saving
  • Cons: More expensive than a shuttle bus
  • Best for: Rich travelers, Families, Seniors

2.3. Private Car – Best Privacy

If you are searching for a private space when traveling from Hanoi to Halong Bay, Private Car will suit you well. It also takes you 2 – 2.5 hours to get to your destination, but you can schedule and control your itinerary more easily. The only minus point is that the cost is quite high for tourists in general and there may have additional charges if problems arise. However, if you want to enjoy a luxury experience, book a private car for your best comfort.

  • Duration: 2 – 2.5 hours
  • Cost: US$ 104 – 195/ round trip
  • Pros: Flexible, More adorable, More Private
  • Cons: High cost and may have additional charges
  • Best for: Couples, Families with kids, Groups of friends, Business travelers

2.4. Seaplane – A New Experience

You can book a 45-minute flight from Hanoi to Halong Bay to experience a bird’s eye view of prominent islands. During the flight, the pilot will friendly talk with you and provide some highlight points so that you can better know about the destination. You also have 15 minutes to admire the stunning landscape from above.

  • Duration: Only 45 minutes (additional 15 minutes for sightseeing)
  • Cost: US$ 350 – 450/ one-way/ person (the airfare can vary depending on the season and time of day)
  • Pros: Fastest way, Professional staff, Spectacular view, Out-of-the-world experience
  • Cons: Extravagant, Not suitable for people with heart attack and acrophobia
  • Best for: Wealthy tourists, Couples, Active travelers

2.5. Motorbike – Most Venturesome

Riding a motorbike from Hanoi to Halong Bay will make your trip the most adventurous one ever. You can enjoy wayside flowers and see the city scenery. Nevertheless, the route is quite dangerous and requires excellent driving skills to deal with problems while driving and avoid unexpected injuries. When renting a bike, you will have to put down a sum of money as a deposit and hand in a copy of your passport.  It is most suitable for independent backpackers, young adults, adventure seekers and nature lovers.

  • Duration: 3.5 hours – 4 hours
  • Route 1: Hanoi – Bac Ninh – Ha Long (115km)
  • Route 2: Hanoi – Hai Duong – Ha Long (170km)
  • Cost: ~ US$ 6 – 8/day for motorbike rental
  • Pros: Adventurous, Proactive, Sightseeing, Unforgettable experience
  • Cons: quite Dangerous, Unexpected scams while renting a bike
  • Best for: Independent backpackers, Adventure seekers, Young adults, Nature lovers

2.6. Local Train – Travel Like a Local

Local train is a perfect way for tourists to travel like a local. Even though it takes 7 hours to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay, tourists will have a chance to view the landscapes through the train’s windows and snap some photos. This transport wastes your time but saves your money for other activities you may join in Halong Bay. Because it is the cheapest and safest means of transportation, the train is always packed with locals and tourists. If you want to talk with locals and share space with others, the local train is ideal for you.

  • Cost: ~ US$ 4/one-way/person
  • Pros: Sightseeing, Laid-back atmosphere, cheapest and safest means of transportation
  • Cons: Time-consuming, Inconvenient, Extra transport fees
  • Best for Culture vultures, Budget-conscious travelers, Singles & Solo, Backpackers

3. Recommended 3 days 2 nights Hanoi to Halong Bay itinerary

3.1. Day 1: Hanoi city tour

Come to Hanoi and get ready to explore major beauty spots in Hanoi.

We recommend taking a tour around The Old Quarter, located between Hoan Kiem Lake and Long Bien Bridge to admire the Franco-Chinese hybrid architecture. The French have left a distinctive mark here. Next, you can visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, in Ba Dinh District, Hanoi, Vietnam. This building attracts countless visitors to Hanoi and is venerated by people from around the world. This monumental building will please your curiosity about the great Leader, Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam. Tourists also prefer to stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake or West Lake to get some fresh air and stay away from the fast pace of the city.

If you are an art lover, head to Thang Long Water Puppet Theater by nightfall. Your memorable night of this Hanoi city tour will mark with an exquisite Vietnamese water puppet performance. The puppet show retells many historical stories and legends of Vietnam, giving tourists a journey back to ancient Vietnam.

  • Location: located on Dinh Tien Hoang Street, next to the ancient Hoan Kiem Lake
  • Ticket price: 60 000 VND/adult ($2.53)
  • Timing: 8:00 – 18:00

In Hanoi, tourists can serve themselves the best taste of street food and a variety of specialties from neighboring provinces. You can try Banh My, Pho, Bun Cha, Ca Phe Trung, etc. You can find these dependably delicious types of food for sale on every corner.

3.2. Day 2 & 3: 2D1N itinerary Halong Bay cruise: Halong Bay – Sung Sot Cave – Fairy Lake Cave – Titop Island.

Highlight activities: 

  • Exploring Sung Sot Cave
  • Taking a kayak at Fairy Lake Cave (Ho Dong Tien)
  • Swimming at Titop Island

This 2D1N itinerary wins the heart of numerous travelers and promises to provide a one-of-a-kind experience. First, tourists will head to Sung Sot Cave to view stalactites and stalagmites dotted around the Waiting Room chamber and interesting rock formations which look like animals’ shapes in the Serene Castle chamber. Click Top 7 Halong Bay Caves: hidden gems on the picturesque landscape to know more about Halong Bay Caves.

Then, Fairy Lake Cave attracts tourists with kayaking activities. If you are not quite confident with your kayaking skill, you can sit on a small boat of local people and tour around this majestic cave.

Nearby, you can swim at Titop Beach which boasts pristine white sand, clear blue water and small waves. You can do recreational activities like swimming and simply soak up the sunshine along the beach.

Let’s book this one-of-a-kind experience in the Mekong Delta to make your Hanoi to Halong Bay unforgettable! Please contact Metta Voyage for more information!

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