Bus from Hanoi to HaLong bay – Best local tips

It is clearly stated that traveling by bus from Hanoi to HaLong bay is the best choice for the travelers because of its economy and convenience (only from $3.5 and many transportation providers for shuttle service). It takes about 2.5 to 3.5 hours from Hanoi to Halong bay or the distance is about 170 kilometers. Hundreds of bus trips, Hanoi – Ha Long are daily operated.

To find the best bus for your trip, you should understand all kinds of buses, prices, services and travel routes  that  will be mentioned below for your consideration.

A shuttle bus from Hanoi to HaLong bay- a way to save money

Honestly, shuttle buses are the best to get from Hanoi to HaLong bay. There are a wide range of shuttle bus selections such as price and type of vehicles.

Service highlights: the highlight of using a shuttle bus is pick up and drop off point if customers’ accommodations are in Hanoi Old Quarter and the destination is not far from HaLong city. Normally, drivers and assistant bus/ tour guide( if applicable) will pick you up at you hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter with the assistance of the hotel receptionist; therefore, all you have to do is wake up early enough to eat breakfast, check your accommodation and be ready to get the bus at least 15 minutes before the pick up time.

A shuttle bus from Hanoi to HaLong bay
A shuttle bus from Hanoi to HaLong bay

The price: Normally, shuttle bus can be a 7-seater / 9-seater / 16-seater / 24-seater / 45-seater and

The price ranges  between  5-12 USD. It might be up to the number of seats, the fewer seats are, the higher the fare is, or it means that transferring by 7-seater bus will be more expensive than a 45-seater.

Travel route: The shuttle buses will commonly pass through the new 5B expressway to save time and  it takes around 2.5 hours; obviously, it is a better travel experience. Bus will stop at the resting area for about 10-15 minutes, you can spend time buying snacks, a  late breakfast or going to the WC.

Luxury bus from Hanoi to HaLong bay – the new trend of bus route

In these years, there has been a high tendency in using luxury buses from Hanoi to HaLong bay. It might be said that the luxury bus is an upgraded version supplying a luxurious space, qualified professional drivers and higher fares.

Highlights service: Like the normal shuttle buses, luxury buses also offer shuttle service that allows you to stay at your accommodation in Hanoi and wait for drivers instead of going to the meeting point.

Besides the perfect shuttle service, you must have been impressed by the service on the bus. By using the limousine D-car as the official transportation, buses can give customers  the best experiences on the go. Not only being supplied free mineral water, wet papers, phone charge and free Wi-Fi, with some of the most beautiful buses, but you can also experience a massage chair with different functions and very comfortable seats. It can have lights for each seat and a small fridge for cold drinks.

Another point you should note is that luxury buses can not carry a lot of luggages or

large sized suitcases, therefore,  bringing a small backpack or travel bags is highly recommended. Fortunately, a two day trip commonly fits well with your trip to explore HaLong bay beauty, this means the tiny crates of luxury buses are not really a problem. In case you have too much luggages, choosing a larger bus, especially the 45-seater, can carry as many suitcases as you want.

The price: 2 main choices for the luxury Hanoi car to HaLong bay are 7-seater and 9-seater. Like the shuttle buses, fewer seats means more expensive buses. The price is about 12 USD/one way ticket booked directly with transportation companies.

The only problem is that you have to research, read some reviews, then contact bus suppliers on your own for a good price, pickup time and pickup point. Some best suggestions for luxury bus brands for your consideration are Phuc Xuyen, Minh Anh, Kumho Viet Thanh, Co To Limousine and GreenLion Bus.

Travel route: The same as the standard shuttle, the luxury cars  from Hanoi travel to HaLong bay by the new 5B expressway, the fastest way and only  2.5 hours drive.

Local buses between Hanoi and HaLong bay – travelling like a local

For travelers who want to travel between Hanoi and HaLong bay like a local, using local buses is not a bad idea. However, you should think about all the pros and cons before using the local buses because it causes many problems and can be quite annoying.

Highlights service: In fact, the local buses are an exciting choice for travelers, especially those who want to have practical experience. Although it does not have the shuttle bus service, you can still easily catch a car by buying tickets at any the main  bus stations in Hanoi or around highways  and waving whenever you see the bus with words Hanoi- Quang Ninh or Hanoi- Ha Long. With experienced backpackers, catching a local bus to HaLong bay seems to be an easy thing to perform.

Nomarly, local buses are 29-seater and 45-seater, which means that there will be enough space to put your luggages, convenient for travelers going on and on and bringing many suitcases. To keep costs low, there will not be  free water or  wet  tissue. At the bus stop, some street vendors sell bottled water and snacks if you need.

As  local buses, these cars will stop at various points on the road to pick up some passengers or drop off a few passengers. Usually, not all passengers in a local bus will stay together until the end of the car’s travel route. These cars are quite noisy with many locals and it is an opportunity to make new friends and observe the part of daily life in Vietnam’s culture.

The price: Without a doubt, local buses are the cheapest way  to travel. It only costs 4-5 USD per person to travel by local buses. However, if you catch a bus on the road instead of buying and getting at the main bus station, you can pay on bus but you must ask about ticket price before getting on bus, because sometimes, you may face scams that cost you more than traveling by luxury bus limousine.

Travel route: to reduce costs and make it easier to pick up & drop off passengers at different points in the way, almost local buses will follow the old route through national highway 18 passing through many provinces, districts and towns in Northern Vietnam before coming to HaLong city. In fact, this way is shorter than going the new way via expressway 5B. However, because of the old road, passing through the densely populated area, the speed of travel is limited, so it may take more than 3 hours to reach HaLong bay. With some kinds of buses, your journey to HaLong bay may take 4 hours, extremely time consuming compared to using the new highway shuttle buses.

Hanoi to HaLong bay by bus of cruise ship supplier

Basically, buses from tourist routes are shuttle buses provided by travel agencies, usually only with your cruise booking.

Highlights service: Normally, almost all cruise ship suppliers, especially from 3-star to 5-star standard will have shuttle service for their customers. Some also accept outside tourists, but in any case, they always give priority to cruise passengers.

Different qualified buses and normally based on cruise standards. While  the 3-star travel agencies arrange the car like a standard shuttle bus with 16 seats and 29 seats, the more advanced full schedule providers prepare vehicles with the 9-seater VIP limousine Dcar with functions such as the above-mentioned luxury shuttle and higher service standards.

You will be picked up at the hotel by the  professional tour guide or at least, a super enthusiastic and helpful driver, who can wear old uniforms and speak a little English. Besides, for those who book HaLong bay cruises, using the shuttle service of the tourist agency is the good idea to go to the port on time.

Limousine bus from Hanoi to HaLong Bay by Mon Cheri Cruise
Limousine bus from Hanoi to HaLong Bay by Mon Cheri Cruise

The price: Bus transfer fares of tour companies are higher than those of regular transport companies  and much more expensive than standard buses and local buses. Fee is from 10 USD to 25 USD per one-way ticket by Halong bay cruise’s luxury shuttle bus. Obviously, the price sounds pretty high for a short ride on the shuttle bus. However, if you book the HaLong bay excursion with a tourist agency as Eviva Tour, you will get free VIP shuttle service.

Travel route: the luxury shuttle buses provided by travel agencies also choose national highway 5B as the main road to save time and customers will have a more comfortable trip than on the new road with high qualification and have 15 minutes to go to a wide, clear and cool resting area.

Local tips to choose the best bus for your trip

  • If you travel on a budget, the best choice is using the shuttle buses.
  • If you choose a luxury trip, the top recommended option is using the luxury buses for transshipment.
  • If you want to travel like a local, try with local bus experience.
  • To have the best experience on the beach, you should book a cruise ship including shuttle bus service.Booking HaLong bay cruise with Eviva Tour to receive the free shuttle service by luxury shuttle car.

It is obvious that each type of bus has  different pros and cons, the information in this post might be helpful for you to choose which one suits you most. If you need any assistance  booking a bus, cruise to HaLong bay, do not hesitate to  contact our travel consultants.


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