Halong Bay is one of the most loved spots in Vietnam for a reason – it is gorgeous. If you are planning to visit Halong Bay, you will have to make your way with distance of approximately 170 kilometers from Hanoi to Halong Bay. From Hanoi, almost travelers choose driving to Halong Bay about 3.5 hours. I will give you some tips to make your travel to Halong Bay easier and faster.
The best way to go to Halong Bay from Hanoi is by bus which is cheap and comfortable. The buses to Halong Bay are new, have air conditioning and come with a safe driver. The road quality from Hanoi to Halong Bay is acceptable, not too bumpy.
From Kim Ma bus station on Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, you can take Hoang Long Express which departs every 15 minutes from the station. It will take about 3-4 hours to reach the pier. The cost is about 60 000 VND. After that, there are plenty of cruise operators that you can choose from to hop on. This way of transport is exciting partly because you get to be part of the daily commune of the locals, who come and go to Hanoi. Additionally, with some travelers who has no fix schedule, taking the bus is very convenient. However, this type is more suitable for those who are more familiar with Vietnam conditions or has adventurous streak. For first time travelers, it is not recommended.
The most popular way to go from Hanoi to Halong Bay is to book a tour which is cheap and available every day. They will take care of your transportation, cruise and accommodation. There will also be a guide that will help to explain things along the way. Depending on the different tours, all of them will provide shuttle bus that starts from the Old Quarter. Some will also have private car for you if you do not want to be with others on a shuttle bus. This will increase the cost but also comfort.
Going on tours is recommended for family, group of friends and anybody who want to have a fuss free trip. An average cost for a two – day tour is about 3 million VND. The operators will take care of everything.
This type is the utmost adventurous and thrilling of all. It is about 170 kilometers away from Hanoi to Halong Bay and the road is quite straight forward. You can rent a good motorcycle from the Old quarter, a map and good riding skill to make the trip. It is advisable that you should embark on this with a small group of friends to support each other on the way. Careful inspection of motorcycle before the trip is crucial to ensure a safest trip. An average price for motorcycle rental is about $20/day. However, it will take slightly longer than bus or car to reach Halong Bay and is considerably more tiring. Thus unless you plan to stay long in the area, riding the motorcycle to Halong is not very worth it.
The Indochina Voyages team.