Located 165 km away from Hanoi City center to the east, 55km from Hai Phong City, getting to Halong Bay is very simple. Most travellers choose to do so from Hanoi, a mere 3 and a half hours by bus or faster still by private car.
There are many ‘open tour’ buses that will bundle a trip to Ha Long bay with a cruise on the water – these vary in quality from basic to luxury but generally if you are booking a cruise then transport will be paid for.
A private car or minibus will set you back between $80 – 120 one way and will be one of the fastest ways to cover the 170 km to Halong city as you will avoid unnessecary stops.
Public buses are also available and the cheapest option. They are generally reliable but make many more stops than tourist minibuses so can take up to 5 hrs if not on an express route. Expect to pay around $5
The closest airport to Halong bay is Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi. From there it is about an hours drive into Hanoi and around 3 1/2 hours on to Halong Bay.
It is also possible to take a helicopter from Gia Lam Airport in Hanoi at a cost of $210 / hour, with an estimated flight time of one hour. Last we checked this service was only available on Saturdays
You can take a hydrofoil from Hai Phong to Cat Ba for $10, and the journey takes an hour. The boat departs Hai Phong at 9am and 11.30am, and returns from Cat Ba at 3pm.
You can finally enjoy your trip to World Heritage Ha Long Bay in a safe, comfortable and environmental-friendly luxury trains Halong Express starting from New Year 2009. The train is composed of 6 wide-bodied passenger couches originating from Korea which have been renovated to meet Vietnamese railway standards and will be providing daily round trip services between Hanoi (Gia Lam Station) and Ha Long Station with a maximum passenger capacity of 310 seats. The train is equipped with the state-of-arts convenience facilities such as mini bar and comfort rooms.
Given the saturated road transport capacity of Northern Vietnam that has caused immeasurable adverse impact on the quality of life to the residents along Hanoi- Ha Long Corridor and also considering the ever-increasing number of tourists to Ha Long Bay area, the launching of Halong Express Train is heralding a new age of Vietnam tourism towards eco-tourism.