Bus travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay is easy. There are many inexpensive options, but all are of high quality. The journey ranges from 3 to 5 hours, and most of the buses are well equipped with A/Cs, reclining seats, and English speaking guides. There are no bathrooms on the buses but the drivers make stops.
There are 15 operators that run from Hanoi to Halong Bay, with 112 departures per day. If you decide to take a Minivan, you can take the Limo, Luxury, Van, and Standard options.
There is 1 operator that run from Hanoi to Halong Bay, with 1 departure per day. If you decide to take a Train, you can take the Second Class option.
As usual, car travel between cities in Vietnam provides travellers with many options. Specifically from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay, you can ride in a shared car with comfortable reclining seats. Or, you can opt for more private, expensive cars. Most of the cars pick up passengers from wherever, and provide services like A/C and WiFi.
There is 1 operator that run from Hanoi to Halong Bay, with 1 departure per day. If you decide to take a Bus+Ferry, you can take the Day Tour option.
There are plenty of simple and easy ways to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay. The journey, a relatively short jaunt of 180 kilometres, can be made in four common ways:
Other options include the unusual and unpopular choices of airplane or helicopter! You can also take a train from Hanoi to Hai Phong before then catching a bus to Halong Bay from Hai Phong. We are working to add all of these methods to our site as soon as possible. That said, these options are all a little impractical - and both of the air travel methods are very expensive.
An important note: after arriving in Halong Bay, most tourists want to tour around the bay on a boat.
You can easily arrange these Halong Bay boat tours in two ways:
Halong Bay is one of the best island destinations in the world. Though rugged, raw and majestic, it’s also very accessible and easy to visit. Recognised by UNESCO, the bay is made up of over 1500 limestone islands.
It’s also absolutely full of opportunities for island adventures. With diving, hiking, canoeing and more, there are plenty of oceanic activities on offer. Onland, you’ll be able to enjoy great seafood, fantastic caves and interactions with monkeys.
If you’re travelling via road, the first stretch of your journey will take you out of the madcap hustle-and-bustle highways of Hanoi. This in itself is a fun part of the trip - scooters, cars, buses and occasional pedestrians weave their way through the insanity of Hanoi’s wacky roads. Even for South East-Asian standards, Hanoian roads are mayhem - and the bus from Hanoi is a great way to experience them!
After you escape the perils and pitfalls of Hanoi’s roads, you’ll eventually hit peaceful pieces of rurality. Hanoi may make you think that Vietnam is all motorbikes, commotion and chaos. But it isn’t.
The next stretch of the journey by bus from Hanoi to Halong Bay will take you through rice terraces and quiet towns. And don’t be surprised if your vehicle has to slow down to allow marauding herds of cows over the road. In Vietnam, it happens all the time!
As the final stretch brings the ocean into view, you’ll be greeted with a Vietnam which feels worlds apart from the busy Hanoi you’ve left behind.
If you travel by train from Hanoi to Halong Bay, you’ll see much the same sights, but you (of course!) won’t experience being on the roads.
Whichever way you do it, it’s a beautiful journey to a beautiful part of the world. Whether you get the bus to Halong Bay, or choose another option, you’ll really enjoy the ride!
One of the best things about the journey from Hanoi to Halong Bay is the contrast between the two destinations. Two of Vietnam’s most popular tourist spots, they couldn’t be more different from one another. But you should absolutely visit them both.
There’s not really a bad time!
The time of year you should visit depends on what type of weather you like. With Halong Bay, you have several different options:
The two best periods are from February to April and from September to November. During these periods, the weather is great - it’s not too hot, and there’s little chance of rain. From February to April, the temperatures sit at around 21C, while from September to November, they’re slightly higher, at around 25C.
From May to August, the weather can be unbearably hot, at almost 30C. Though this might not sound too high, the humidity makes it feel much warmer. This season also brings a multitude of monsoons, which can make the city unpleasant.
In December and January, the high humidity makes Hanoi cold, wet, damp and grey. Average temperatures are around 17C, but they feel much lower.
It’s not a great idea to visit during Tet. The Vietnamese New Year, Tet is a huge celebration. During this period, Hanoi grinds to halt. Most businesses and restaurants are closed, so it’s not a great time to be a tourist in Hanoi. The exact dates change each year, but they’re always sometime in January and February - so make sure you check the dates before you visit.
Outside of the big cities, Tet isn’t so much of a problem. Smaller destinations in this period are still fairly accessible and enjoyable, though you should avoid all travel during Tet if you can.
If you travel to Hanoi in the right season, you’ll be greeted with a busy, vibrant destination, full of craziness, kindness and some of the world’s best street food.
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