How to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay

From high-octane city, to awe-inspiring UNESCO Heritage Site, our guide to how to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay will make your enjoyment of two extraordinary Vietnamese destinations a breeze. With options to suit different durations and budgets, you’ll want to consider them all before deciding how to travel.

How to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay

Heading to Hanoi? Lucky you! You’re in for an exhilarating experience. We’re talking countless cultural and historic monuments. An atmospheric French Quarter. Sensational street food, and that’s just for starters.

While in Hanoi, we suggest you plan to head to the Halong Bay. Presenting an otherworldly landscape of limestone peaks jutting from the water, this world-famous UNESCO Site offers an entirely different experience. And happily, you have a few options when it comes to planning how to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay.

First up, you could take a seaplane, which is quick and convenient. You can also get there by public transport i.e. catching a train or bus. Or, to travel at your preferred time, arrange a taxi ride.

For a more relaxed, scenic journey, take an overnight cruise. Finally, for a totally hassle-free option, book an organised tour.

Going to Hanoi or Halong Bay? Contact our Vietnam travel experts  to save yourself the trouble of mapping out an itinerary and planning.


Tips from Sunny

Vietnam Travel Expert


"Getting from Hanoi to Halong Bay is a breeze! The best way to get there is to book a tour, where transport is included. Otherwise, opt for a direct shuttle bus; it’s straightforward, affordable, and lets you soak in the scenic views".

Hanoi Train street, Vietnam © Shutterstock

To escape city bustle, you'll want to know how to get from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay © Shutterstock

How far is Halong Bay from Hanoi?

By road, Halong Bay is around 175 km from Hanoi, and it takes about 2 and a half hour to get there. The flying distance is around 92 km.

Inspired to visit this duo of remarkable destinations? Our Vietnam itineraries are specially designed to provide you with a carefree trip full of unforgettable experiences.

What's the quickest way to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay?

The quickest way to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay is via seaplane. In an hour you’ll have soared from the city to the bay, with enchanting birds-eye views over the karsts opening up en route.

Taking to the road is the second fastest way to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay. Whether you travel by bus or taxi, the journey takes around 2.5 hours. In contrast, the train journey takes seven hours.

Short on time? Check our 5-days Vietnam itineraries.

How to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay

How to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay ©Rough Guides

Halong Bay, Vietnam © Shutterstock

Taking a seaplane is the fastest way to get from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay © Shutterstock

By seaplane

Duration: 1 hour | Cost: from $400

Though the most expensive option, travelling by seaplane is the fastest and most exhilarating way to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay.

Flights cost from $400, and the plane departs Hanoi Airport at around 10am daily. Note that a minimum of four passengers are required for the service to run.  

After a flying for around an hour, you’ll land at Tuan Chau Marina, near Bai Chay Beach. Handily, you can join a Halong Cruise from here.

Thinking of travelling further afield around Vietnam? Read our guide to getting around Vietnam.

View of Ha Long bay, Vietnam

Travelling by plane offers epic aerial views of Ha Long Bay © Shutterstock

By train

Duration: 7 hours | Cost: from $4

Time rich, but cash poor? Taking the train might be the best way for you to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay.

The seven-hour rail ride is both the cheapest and slowest way to travel between them. The train departs Yen Vien station in Hanoi at around 4.55 am daily.

Love epic train journeys? Check out our Vietnam and Cambodia by rail trip.


Taking a train is the slowest way to get from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay © Shutterstock

By bus

Duration: 2.5 hours | Cost: from $12.50

As a result of the 2018 opening of the Hai Phong Expressway, the road journey between Hanoi and Halong Bay is now two hours faster. With a number of bus operators running the route, you can travel between these destinations in 2.5-3 hours.

Want to see a stack of top attractions in a single visit? Placing Hanoi and Halong Bay centre-stage, our Wonders of Vietnam trip will make that dream a reality.

Sailing Ha Long Bay © Shutterstock

By taxi

Duration: 2.5 hours | Cost: from $80

If you’re travelling in a group, or want to get to Halong Bay direct from Hanoi airport, taking a taxi is a pretty good option,

With fares for five-seaters starting from $80, sharing the cost can work out almost as economical as the bus (you do the math!).

Halong Bay fishing village, Vietnam © Shutterstock

Halong Bay fishing village, Vietnam © Shutterstock

By overnight cruise

Duration: 24-48 hours | Cost: from $140

To explore one of the most beautiful natural wonders of the world in style, it doesn’t come better than booking an overnight cruise.

Picture yourself sailing through the bay’s emerald waters, surrounded by epic limestone cliffs and enchanting islets. After enjoying the likes of kayaking, swimming, and cave exploration during the day, come evening you’ll most likely be served fine Vietnamese food with jaw-dropping views as your dining backdrop.

Handily, you can book an unforgettable 2-day Halong Bay cruise through Rough Guides.

Limestone outcrops in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam © Shutterstock

Book an overnight cruise to see some seriously magical Ha Long Bay sunsets © Shutterstock

By organised tour

Duration: 8+ hours | Cost: from $45

Super-convenient, organised tours from Hanoi to Halong Bay often offer bus shuttle pickups from your downtown accommodation.

Tours are also often themed, so you can take your pick from the different experiences and activities operators offer.

Some tours are geared more towards soaking up the awe-inspiring scenery (e.g. a cruise with lunch), while others are more focused on activities. Think caving, kayaking and swimming.

Organised tours can also be extended beyond a day trip, and could include an overnight cruise.

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam © Shutterstock

Is Halong Bay worth a day trip from Hanoi?

In a word, yes! If you’re in Hanoi, it’d be a crying shame to not head to Halong Bay for at least a day.

While a day trip is do-able — not least if you book an organised tour, catch an early bus, or arrange for an early-morning private taxi — our recommendation is to linger longer in this undeniably enchanting location.

First-timer to Vietnam? Get the lowdown on Vietnamese cities you might want to have on your radar.

Hmong ethnic minority women in Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai, Vietnam © Chachamp/Shutterstock

Book a tour to explore more of Vietnam's seemingly endless diversity of landscapes © Chachamp/Shutterstock

Planning your trip to Halong Bay from Hanoi

Before planning your trip, find out Vietnam travel tips, and get The Rough Guide to Vietnam.

 Or, forget planning and browse our customisable Vietnam itineraries, with a Vietnam local travel expert on hand to advise and take care of booking your perfect trip.

Want to know more useful information about Vietnam before your trip? Read our Vietnam travel tips.

Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 14.05.2024

Joanne is a Pembrokeshire-born writer with a passion for the nature, cultures and histories of the Caribbean region, especially Dominica. Also passionate about inspiring a love of adventure in young people, she’s the author of several books for children and young adults, hosts international writing workshops, and has written articles on the Caribbean and inspirational community initiatives for Rough Guides. Follow her @JoanneOwen on Twitter and @joanneowenwrites on Instagram.

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