Find and book bus tickets to Halong Bay
Halong Bay information
Halong Bay is a tourism hub in northern Vietnam, known for its spectacular natural scenery of thousands of limestone formations rising from the jade-green waters. The distance between Halong Bay and Hanoi is approximately 170km (105 miles) by road.
In a nutshell:
- Halong Bay attracts a large number of domestic and international visitors annually to admire its geological, cultural, and aesthetic significance.
- Buses and private cars are the most popular means of transport for tourists to transfer to Halong Bay.
- September to November and March to May are the most ideal periods for a trip to Halong Bay.
- The top activities to do in Halong Bay are cruising, kayaking, mountain climbing, visiting caves, swimming, and snorkeling.
Location and geography
Halong Bay is located in Quang Ninh province, in the northeast of Vietnam, about 170km (105 miles) east of Hanoi. The bay covers an area of around 1,500 square kilometers, with over 1,900 limestone islands and islets formed millions of years ago due to tectonic activity and erosion by wind and water.
The topography of Halong Bay is unique and breathtaking. You can witness a multitude of spectacular limestone cliffs, caves, and islands that vary in size and shape, with some reaching up to 100 meters in height. Some of the most notable limestone islets are Fighting Cock Island (the symbol of Halong Bay) and Stone Dog Island.
Best time to visit
Halong Bay is best to explore from March to May or from September to November with mild and dry weather. During these periods, the bay is also less crowded with tourists. The summer months (June to August) are hot and humid being the peak season for locals, while the winter months (December to February) are chilly and foggy.
Best attractions and things to do in Halong Bay
Halong Bay is a worldly-known resort paradise with plenty of attractions and activities to keep you entertained. This beautiful tourist destination has everything you need no matter whether you prefer adventure or relaxation.
- Take a cruise tour: Embarking on a day or overnight cruise is the best way to discover the beauty of Halong Bay. You can choose from a variety of options, from luxury cruises to more budget-friendly ones. The most popular cruise itineraries include trips to islands and caves, as well as activities like kayaking and swimming.
- Visit Sung Sot Cave: Sung Sot Cave is one of the largest and most beautiful caves in Halong Bay. The cave is situated on Bo Hon island and consists of marvelous stalactites and stalagmites with some chambers reaching up to 30 meters in height.
- Relax on Titop Island: Located in the middle of Halong Bay, Titop Island appeals to visitors for its white sandy beaches and clear turquoise waters, best for swimming and sunbathing. Besides, you can climb to the top of the mountain for a panoramic bay view.
- Visit the floating villages: Halong Bay possesses several ancient floating villages such as Cua Van and Vung Vieng where local fishermen live and work. A boat tour to those villages opens you a chance to delve deeper into local cultures and experience daily fishing activities.
- Kayak around the islands: Kayaking is also a typical activity included in most cruise itineraries in Halong Bay to get closer to smaller islands and hidden coves. You have an opportunity to explore the bay at your own pace. The best places to do kayaking are Luon Cave, Viet Hai fishing village, Dark and Bright Cave, and Ao Ech area.
- Admire the sunset from a high altitude: There are a number of staggering spots where you can watch the sun go down over the bay which as Titop mountain peak, the top deck of your cruise ship, or Cannon Fort on Cat Ba Island.
- Adventure excursion on Cat Ba Island: Cat Ba Island boasts the largest island in Halong Bay covering a handful of stunning beaches and Cat Ba national park. Here you can explore nature life with hundreds of plants and animal species as well as take part in some physical activities including trekking, hiking, and climbing the mountain.
How to get there
From Hanoi and nearby provinces, it is easy and straightforward to get to Halong Bay via Highway 18, Hanoi-Hai Phong Expressway, and Halong-Hai Phong Expressway.
Most visitors opt for a bus or private car to transfer from Hanoi to Halong Bay for its convenience and affordability. The transfer time usually takes around 3-4 hours. Additionally, you have other options such as motorbike train, or seaplane which bring about exotic experiences.
- By shuttle bus: Shuttle buses are a popular and convenient mode of transport for you to transfer from Hanoi to Halong Bay. It costs only 5-7 USD/pax/one-way if you choose a local bus from My Dinh Bus Station or 10-15 USD/pax/one-way for a Limousine car.
- By private car or taxi: Hiring a private car or a taxi is an expensive yet relaxing way to get to Halong Bay. The taxi fare for the whole one-way journey is about 100-150 USD depending on the car's capacity.
- By train: Taking a train is the least prevalent and most time-consuming way to reach the bay from Hanoi. However, if you are not pressed for time and expect extraordinary activity, this is a relatively reasonable choice. The train ticket price is only about 4 - 5 USD/pax/one-way.
- By seaplane: For a more fascinating experience, you cannot miss a seaplane trip that takes only 45 minutes from Noi Bai international airport to Halong Bay. This option is more expensive than other modes of transportation, but you are provided with wonderful views of the Red Delta and the bay from above.
- By motorbike: Renting a motorbike to drive to Halong Bay is a challenging option that only fits experienced drivers. This choice offers flexibility and convenience to drive and stop anywhere you want.
Tips for visiting Halong Bay
- Be prepared for tourist crowds, especially during peak season.
- Book your accommodation, cruises, and tours in advance especially during public holidays to ensure availability and avoid price increases.
- Wear comfortable shoes and bring sunscreen, a hat, and insect repellent.
- Be aware of scams and overcharges by vendors and taxi drivers.
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