There are 3 operators that run from Hanoi to Tuan Chau Island. If you decide to take a minivan, you can take the Limo and Luxury options.
About the ride from Hanoi to Tuan Chau Island
After experiencing all of the hustle and bustle of Hanoi, rest and relaxation in Vietnam’s famed Halong Bay may be exactly what you need. Tuan Chau Island is a fantastic spot to escape to when you are ready to leave the city behind and trade crowded streets for pristine beaches.
Tuan Chau island is located 105 miles (170km) east of Hanoi. It takes approximately four hours to get from Hanoi to Tuan Chau Island by road. Tuan Chau Island is connected to Halong City on the mainland by a 2km road. The road is unfortunately one of the least scenic in all of Vietnam. Luckily you’ll have some stunning views of Halong Bay waiting for you once you arrive on Tuan Chau Island.
Tuan Chau Island is less than one square mile (~2.2 square km) and is known for all of the beach resorts and recreational activities they offer. The two beaches on Tuan Chau Island, one on either side of the island, and they are beautiful. The sand is powder soft and the water is cool and clean, making them perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
There are also plenty of activities to do if laying around in the sun isn’t for you. You can go jet skiing, fishing, boating, or windsurfing. Tuan Chau Island is also a great point to start a cruise of Halong Bay. Halong Bay is most famous for its emerald waters and thousands of limestone karst formations, almost like islands topped with forests. No trip to northern Vietnam is complete without a trip to Halong Bay, and the trip from Hanoi to Tuan Chau Island makes it possible to do it all.
Getting from Hanoi to Tuan Chau Island is relatively simple and straightforward. You can take a shuttle bus, minivan, private luxury taxi, or by plane. It would also be possible to drive a motorbike from Hanoi to Tuan Chau Island as well. Shuttle buses and minivans are the cheapest way to travel, and many shuttles travel between Hanoi and Halong Bay so this route is easy to do. Traveling by plane would be the most expensive option by far, but it would also give you a picturesque view of the entire bay. Depending on your comfort levels with the roads in Vietnam and your budget, there are several options to get from Hanoi to Tuan Chau Island.
Minivans are a great way to get from Hanoi to Tuan Chau Island. There are a few options depending on your budget and comfort level, but no matter which option you select will get you to the island in approximately four hours. A Luxury Minivan is about $14 each way and has some great amenities. Many vans have WiFi and charging ports on board and they will typically offer you water and blankets. The Luxury Minivan will pick you up at your hotel or at the airport for an additional fee, and there is even the option to upgrade to a single, reclining seat for only $3 more. They will even drop you off at your hotel on Tuan Chau Island. That is definitely great door to door service!
Another option is to travel by Limo Minivan. These are about $16 each way and have similar amenities to the Luxury option, and are highly rated by travelers. A benefit of traveling by Limo Minivan is that they make one bathroom and snack stop and you can cancel for free up to 24 hours in advance.
You can also choose to have a private transfer, essentially renting the entire minivan for yourself. This will, of course, be the most expensive option, but if you are traveling in a larger group or prefer your privacy it may be the best fit. These minivans typically seat up to 8 passengers, so you could split the cost with your friends or find some others to travel with. It may be worth it to you to spend a bit more to have space to spread out on the four hour journey. Another benefit to renting a minivan as a private transport is that you get to control the schedule, asking the driver when to stop and for how long. This option costs around $180 so the flexibility and privacy doesn’t come cheap!
By shuttle bus
Several shuttle bus companies operate routes between Hanoi and Halong City, the city closest to Tuan Chau on the mainland. From 4:00 am until 9:00 pm buses depart every hour and cost between $7-10. The bus journey takes about 2 and a half hours, since they have built a brand new highway from Hanoi to Halong Bay. The shuttle bus will drop you off in Halong City, 10km from Tuan Chau Island and you can then take a quick 10 minute taxi over to the island.
Renting a motorbike is a very popular activity in Vietnam. While the roads in the north aren’t as famous as the Hai Van Pass in Central Vietnam, it is still a possibility to get you from Hanoi to Tuan Chau Island.
The biggest concerns would be transporting your luggage and navigating out of the congested streets of Hanoi, so you want to make sure you are comfortable on a bike if you choose this option. The road isn’t the most scenic, but if you are dying to ride a motorbike you can take Highway 1A out of Hanoi and turn on to Highway 18 to get to Halong Bay. Make sure you understand all of the requirements for driving a motorbike in Vietnam before setting off!
Until as recently as 2014, foreigners were not permitted to drive in Vietnam. Even now, you have to have a valid International drivers license to rent a car, so most car rental companies provide a chauffeur with their rental cars to make it easier for tourists to get from A to B. When driving from Hanoi to Tuan Chau Island, taking a private car may be the luxury option you are after.
This is a great option if you like the freedom of making your own schedule or would like to stop for delicious Vietnamese food more than a bus would. This is a pricier option, but can be affordable, especially if you are splitting the cost with a few friends.
There are several direct flights from Hanoi to Tuan Chau Island. Hai Au Aviation operates the 45 minute flight, but it can be quite pricey. This is a fantastic way to see the bird’s eye view of Halong Bay, though, and is definitely the fastest and most convenient way to get to Tuan Chau Island. Even taking a scheduled flight is guaranteed to give you some amazing views as you land on Tuan Chau. It is important to note that you will be flying on a seaplane.
These are much smaller than standard aircraft so if flying makes you nervous this may not be the best option. Many companies require 6 people to make the journey and it can cost up to $400 for the short flight, but the views are worth it. If you have a keen sense of adventure or want to check out the view from the sky, flying could be the choice for you.
There are several options to get you from Hanoi to Tuan Chau Island. No matter how you choose to get there, you are bound to enjoy your time - the island itself is breathtaking and a great change of pace from the charming chaos of Hanoi.