Here are the ultimate guide of Halong Bay trip from Hanoi. Halong Bay is one of the World Natural Heritage was approved by UNESCO. This is also a must-visit destination in Vietnam with majestic natural sites with 1,600 islands and islets and its great biological interest.
Best time for travel to Halong Bay
There is a big difference between the interests of Vietnamese and foreign tourists. Therefore, each group of tourists has different needs and desires according to the circumstances.
Vietnamese tourists often choose to travel to Ha Long in the summer from May to August. Because students are on vacation, this is an ideal time for the whole family to spend time together. Additionally, the hot weather is other reason attracts more tourists come to Ha Long to avoid the heat and enjoy the pleasant atmosphere from the sea. However, during this period, the traffic is high. So it will be difficult for you to find a trip at a reasonable cost. Furthermore, in the summer is also the wettest weather, rains often appear, preventing some activities in to Halong Bay.
Otherwise, foreign travelers often choose to travel to Halong between November and December because of long holiday season. In this time, dry weather with beautiful sunshine and smooth sea is mostly which will give you the wonderful travel experience. The accommodation and tourism services price is still high compared to the peak season.
According to Scruise recommendation, you should choose a travel time based on your desires. And if you can be flexible about time, September to November will be a best time to enjoy a peaceful Halong Bay with the most affordable cost.
How to get to Halong Bay
Halong Bay, in the Gulf of Tonkin, is an outstanding seascape forming a limestone pillars with a variety of arches and caves.
With the development of tourism, now you can get to Halong Bay from Hanoi by the 6 main transports, which includes motorbike/ car, coach and seaplane.
Motorcycle / car – Adventure choiceThis is a good way suitable for travelers who would like to explore the local culture and landscape at a reasonable cost from $5 to $200 (Halong trip from Hanoi).
Route Hanoi - Bac Ninh - Halong: 155 km. This is the shortest route from Hanoi to Halong travel, by car takes about 3 hours, the journey is as follows:
- Hanoi according to route 5 - Sai Dong crossroads: 10 km.
- Sai Dong along Route 1 - Bac Ninh: 23 km.
- From Bac Ninh along the road 18 - Pha Lai - Chi Linh - Dong Trieu - Uong Bi - Halong: 122 km.
Routes Hanoi - Bac Ninh - Halong: 160 km.
- Noi Bai International Airport (Hanoi) along Noi Bai - Bac Ninh road (32km) to Bac Ninh.
- Connect to Highway 18a via Pha Lai, Sao Do, Dong Trieu, Uong Bi to Halong.
Some reputed unit you can refer:
|No.||Unit||Contact information||Estimated cost|
|Motorbike rental places|
|1||Motogo||Website motogo.vnEmail: email@example.comHotline: +84 338.02.33.44Address:1. 63 Nguyen Kha Trac street, Cau Giay district, Hanoi.2. 33C Pham Ngu Lao street, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi3. 16 alleys 317 Tay Son street, Dong Da district, Hanoi||$5 - $10/day|
|2||Phùng motobike||Website: phungmotorbike.comEmail: firstname.lastname@example.orgHotline: +84 965 93 6677Address:13 Ngo Huyen street, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi|
|3||Gia Hưng motobike retail||Website: giahungmotorbikerental.comEmail: email@example.comHotline: +84 936.345.123Address:First floor Bluebell Building, 41 Ngo Huyen street, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi|
|Car rental places for group traveler (from 2 to 10)|
|1||Linh An company||Website: xelinhan.vnEmail: firstname.lastname@example.orgHotline: +8424.3201.2777; +84 24.3200.6777Address: P810, CT2A, My Dinh II Urban Area, Le Duc Tho, Nam Tu Liem, Hanoi||$100 - $200/day|
|2||Tuan Linh rental car||Website: thue-xe.comEmail: email@example.comĐiện thoại: +84 24.221.68007; +84 362.545.992Address: P509, court 15T2, No. 18 Tam Trinh street, Hai Ba Trung district, Hanoi||$100 - $200/day|
|3||TaxiGo (App for booking car rental)||Website http://taxigo.vnEmail: firstname.lastname@example.orgHotline: 19000370||$75 - $120/day$100 - $170/2 day|
Coach (Local bus) – Best choice for your budget
You can choose one of the prestige providers gathered at coach station (My Dinh, Nuoc Ngam, Giap Bat, Yen Nghia, Gia Lam), the first trip departs at 6:00 am and the last trip is at 17:00 pm (the journey takes 3-4 hours). The buses are separated from 5 to 15 minutes to Bai Chay coach station in Halong, Quang Ninh province. Ticket price ranges from $9 to $22/passenger.
Please note that you should check the stop station closest to where your Halong Bay cruise company port.
There are two common ways for you to book the bus ticket:
- You can book the ticket directly in coach station.
|No.||Unit||Contact information||Estimated cost (per person)|
|1||Kumho Viet Thanh||Website: xevietthanh.vnHotline: +84 243.5333.888Pick-up station: My Dinh bus station, Noi Bai airport||$9 - $13/round trip|
|2||Phuc Xuyen||Website: phucxuyen.com.vnHotline: +84 2033.663.366Pick-up station: My Dinh bus station, pick up guests take place||$9 - $16/round trip|
|3||Van Don Xanh||Website vandonxanh.comHotline: +84 243.5333.888Pick-up station: pick up guests take place||$22/round trip|
- You can also book online ticket, put Hanoi as your location and Halong for the destination. (There are fewer choices of bus providers online compared to number of providers in the station)
|No.||Website/App||Contact information||Estimated cost (per person)|
|1||Vexere (Website)||Website: https://vexere.com/en-US||$9 - $22/round trip|
|2||Havaz (App)||Website: https://havaz.vn/||$9 - $22/round trip|
|3||VATO (App)||Website: https://vato.vn/||$9 - $22/round trip|
Seaplane – Fastest way with wonderful view
Currently, in addition to conventional means of transport, tourists from Halong Bay from Hanoi also have a new choice with modern and luxurious seaplanes of Hai Au Airlines. It takes only 45 minutes for your journey with the amazing scenery of Halong from above.
The aircraft with 2 seats for pilots, 12 seats for passengers and spacious windows, not only helps you save travel time, but also helps you to enjoy the beautiful view from the plane, as well as capturing memorable moments of Halong Bay from an altitude of 150 to 3,000 m above sea level.
However, it is also the most expensive way to get to Halong with the cost of around $300 – $425/person/round trip and there is only one provider for this service (Hai Au Aviation).
To book a plane ticket, you can go to the website: seaplanes.vn, or book a ticket via phone number: +84 96 296 0689.
Do not forget to book a suitable cruise for your enjoyable trip
You can rent a cruise/ship to visit Halong Bay at the following 2 ports:
- Tuan Chau International Port (Tel: +84 33.3842134)
- Hon Gai Vinashin Passenger Port (Tel: +84 33.3628234)
Rent fee for cruises/ships on Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay vary by boat type:
For group tourists:
|No.||Cruise/Ship type||Estimated Cost|
|1||3 star cruise||$130 - $220/ day|
|2||2 star cruise||$90 – $130/ day|
|3||1 star cruise||$55 – $90/day|
|4||Basic standard cruise||$32 - $55/day|
For individual tourists:
The fee based on your journey (from 4 hours to 6 hours) with cost is $26 – $40/ person/ day
You can find more detailed information at S-Cruise Halong Bay Tour based on your needs.
What are the accommodation options?
Homestay – Local culture with affordable priceWith a culture experience and affordable price, homestay has become a favorite place to stay for travelers visiting Halong Bay. In homestay, there are some room types with an affordable price for your choice. All of the rooms make a warming and comfortable environment as your home. That is a reason why this type of accommodation is suitable for solo travelers, couples or groups under 4 person. Some reference homestay for your consideration as below.
|No.||Homestay||Contact information||Estimated cost (per person)|
|1||Halo Bay homestay||Phone: +84 90 409 91 89Address: 73 Kenh Liem street, Hong Hai district, Halong city, Quang Ninh||$9 - $52/day|
|2||Halong Ginger homestay||Phone: +84 96 930 99 98Address: 33 Group 2, Hung Thang street, Halong city, Quang Ninh||$10 - $27/day|
Hotel – Modern Accommodation with beautiful viewOther good choice for your consideration is 3 – 5 star hotel. With stylish design, good view and clean room, this style of accommodation will make you feel really relaxed and pleasant. You can choose this type if you need a luxury tour for your family celebrating or your company trip.
|No.||Hotel||Contact information||Estimated cost (USD/night)|
|1||Wyndham Legend Halong||Phone: (+84) 203 3636 555Address: 12 Ha Long street, Bai Chay, Ha Long City, Quang Ninh||$70 - $160|
|2||Halong Paradise Suites||Phone: (+84) 986 567 545Address: Tuan Chau Island,Halong, Quang Ninh||$65 - $80|
Resort – Luxury experience in Halong BayOne of outstanding accommodation styles in Halong Bay is a resort. If you would like to arrange a business trip for V.I.P or Management Board, this is the first priority. Not only a luxurious accommodation, the resorts in Halong Bay also integrates other services such as spa, golf, restaurant and bar, etc. giving tourists a wonderful holiday. Some of your choice will be suggested below.
|No.||Hotel||Contact information||Estimated cost (USD/night)|
|1||FLC Halong Bay Golf club & Luxury resort||Phone: (+84) 97 774 9889Address: 16 Nguyen Van Cu street, Hong Hai ward, Halong city, Quang Ninh||$71 - $350|
|2||Vinpearl Resort & Spa Halong||Phone: (+84) 203 3556 868Address: Dao Reu, Ha Long City, Quang Ninh||$125 - $270|
You can also book your accommodation on some popular tourism app/website such as:
Overnight on cruise – Unique experience with luxury serviceThe cruises are not only the vehicle for you to enjoy the scenery, they are also an ideal place for you to stay at Halong Bay and see it on different moment from sunrise to sunset. Try your experience and share with us your own feelings.
Price for overnight stay on the bay (including transportation cost + accommodation and accommodation expenses): For individual travelers (Same class applies for all types of ships):
|No.||Cruise standard||Estimated cost (USD/person)|
|1||5 star cruise||$140 - $155|
|2||4 star cruise||$109 - $126|
|3||3 star cruise||$87 - $100|
You can find more detailed information at halongcruisecabin.com and choose your favorite cruise.
Top exciting destination in Halong Bay
Finally, you just need to choose the destinations in your itinerary. Please do not miss some amazing suggestions below.
Thien Cung Cave
Thien Cung Cave is located in the north of Dau Go Island, 4km south of the tourist port. Is one of the most beautiful caves in Halong. The cave is nearly 10,000m² wide, with a very complex structure, consisting of many levels and many compartments with very high and wide ceilings and walls. Especially in the cave, everywhere we see countless blocks of stalactites and stalagmites with strange shapes.
Dau Go Cave
Located on the range of Dau Go Island, Thien Cung cave is about 300m. Dau Go is a large, beautiful cave with ancient moss style, called by the French "Cave of Wonders". Cave has diverse flora and fauna. Due to the wide opening of the cave, the humidity inside the cave is high, plus the impact of sunlight, so it can immediately see the diverse development of the flora, especially moss, ferns and woody trees ... This is a different feature compared to many other caves on Halong Bay.
Me Cung (Maze) Cave
It is located at a height of 25m on Lum Bo Island, about 2km southwest of Tiop Island. From a distance, the cave door is like a roof deep inside the island. The Labyrinth Cave is a complex structure with many levels, compartments, and nooks spread out within the stone roof with corridors longer than 100m, rising to the west and looking down a small lake called Ho Me.
Trong (Men) and Trinh Nu (Virgin) Cave
Halong is known for its rocky islands with strange shapes, and stalactites shimmering inside caves. Bohon Island is known as one of the most beautiful islands of Halong Bay, 12.5km from Halong city and 15km from Bai Chay to the south. Trong Cave and Trinh Nu Cave are two caves 700 - 800m apart and are also destinations not to be missed when visitors come to the island.
These two caves not only have lots of stalactites and beautiful views, but also appeal to visitors because of a very moving story. In a cave there is a horizontal rock that looks like a girl lying with her hair stretched out to the sea so it is called the Virgin cave. The cave had a very tall stalactite column that looked like a giant boy standing looking out to sea. The fishermen said that on rainy days, there were strong winds, passing here heard the sound of the wind hitting the cliffs like the drum and they called this cave the drum cave.
Top interesting activities in Halong Bay
Traveling to Halong Bay but you do not experience the journey to explore the bay by Kayak boat, it is a regret. When you are paddling a Kayak boat in the blue water and enjoy the fascinating nature, it is simple but really interesting.
Halong Bay was voted as one of the top 25 Kayak boating destinations in the world by National Geographic Adventures magazine. In Halong, there are many places for renting Kayaks (at tourist pier, islands), the rent is from $5 to $10/hour depending on the type of boat 1, 2 or 3 seats.
Not only attractive by the charming beauty, romantic sea, Halong Bay with diverse and rugged terrain is also a challenge for those who love climbing. If you are a follower of this adventure sport, surely the thorny cliffs, the majestic corners of the mountains, cliffs, caves in Halong Bay will give you a feeling of yearning to be conquered.
Discover beautiful caves
Halong Bay is chosen by lots of tourists because it’s nature created for a perfect beauty. And in that ink picture, besides "water and rocks" as many people often say, this place is also famous for beautiful and unique caves. Each cave of Halong has an interesting name, which reminds visitors curious to explore such as Thien Cung cave, Sung Sot cave, Luon cave, Dau Go cave, Hanh cave, etc.
Visit the floating fishing village on the Bay
Away from the shimmering, lavish lights of the city centers, away from the hustle and bustle of urban life. The coastal fishing village in Halong is peaceful, fresh, an interesting destination for tourists. The destination for this experience can be the Halong Van Fishing Cooperative in Vung Vieng fishing village, Cua Van fishing village, Ba Hang fishing village ... You can rent a small boat right at the tourist pier of Halong.
The convenience and cheapest transportation in Halong Bay
After visiting to Quang Ninh province, there are some transports you can use to explore Halong Bay.
If you are individual or couple tourists, consider to rent motorbike for cheapest cost and flexible movement. Some recommend units below.
|No.||Unit||Contact information||Estimated cost|
|Motorbike rental places|
|1||Halong motorbike rental||Hotline: +84 922 863 628 – +84 944 697 555Address: Sunworld Halong, Bai Chay, Halong city||$6 - $7/day|
|2||Nest Travel||Hotline: +84 979 826 098Address:104, S7 building, Sunrise Apartment, Hung Thang, Bai Chay, Halong city||$6 - $7/day($20 deposit)|
|3||Bai Chay motorbike rental||Hotline: +84 979 221 718Address: Bai Chay, Halong city||$7/day (good service)|
|No.||Taxi||Contact & Estimated Cost|
|1||Mai Linh Taxi||Phone: (+84) 203. 3628628$0.5 - $0.6/km|
|2||Hong Gai Taxi||Phone: (+84) 203. 3848484$0.5 - $0.6/km|
|3||Ha Long Taxi||Phone: (+84) 203. 3626262$0.5 - $0.6/km|
|4||Bai Chay Taxi||Phone: (+84) 203. 3646464$0.5 - $0.6/km|
|No.||App||Service & Estimated Cost|
|1||Grab||Grab car: $0.4/km (Costs may increase in peak time)Grab taxi: $0.45 – $0.65 (based on taxi company)|
|2||FastGo||Car booking $0.4 - $0.65/km|
Special dishes of Halong Bay
Sticky rice with grilled squid
Meat rolls with grilled squid
Meat rolls with mushrooms, wood ear, pork floss and fried onion, accompanied by Ha Long grilled squid specialties create an unforgettable taste.
Enjoying place: In Ha Long city, there is a row of streets specializing in making grilled squid with meat rolls at the edge of Bach Dang cinema, which has become familiar, many people call it "Squid spring rolls" street.
Ngan is a type of bivalve mollusks, which can be processed in many ways: baked, steamed, cooked porridge, stir-fried with noodles or vegetables. Ngan can also be used to make alcohol. Ngan wine has its own unique smell of the sea.
Enjoying places: Restaurants and bars in Ha Long have bored food. Want to buy bored or bored wine, visitors can go to the road and markets Cai Ram, Vuon Dao will have a lot.
Sa Sung (Sipunculus nudus)
Sa Sung are also known as worm sand, a type of seafood probably only found in Ha Long. Fried Sa Sung and garlic makes delicious dish. Sa Sung is dried, turned dark, baked or roasted, and eaten crunchy, fleshy to drink beer, especially as a condiment for Pho (Noodle) broth. Sa Sung quite rare, if the price is also very high, a kilogram of nearly 4 million VND ($175/kg).
"Nodding" (Gat Gu) cake/ rolls
The way of making a nodding cake looks the same way as the making of rolls. When dipping into a special piece of bread dipping sauce along with a piece of humiliation stitch (Vietnamese Caramelized Pork) is marinated thoroughly.
Enjoy: The most famous nodding cake is in Tien Yen. However, throughout the regions of Quang Ninh, you can find this delicious and unique nodding cake.
Fried spring rolls in Quang Yen town
Raw materials for spring rolls are common things. Pork skin is finely grated, hearing is made of beans or roasted rice and pounded roasted peanuts, all mixed together really well. Just that simple, but through the secret of processing, and mixing dipping sauce, rural gifts become strange and attractive.
Tien Yen duck
The flavor of Tien Yen duck became much more delicious by Tien Yen chief. The Tien Yen people cooked Tien Yen duck, processed their special sauces. A fragrant sauce of Cai Rong, Van Yen, Cat Hai fish sauce has the sweet taste of Guangxi sassafras along with Tien Yen ginger grown on home soil.
What to buy as souvenirs and gifts in Halong Bay?
After a great holiday, travelers always want to buy special and unique gifts from Halong Bay to share the trip with their friends, relatives or partners.
Buy the squid products as a gift – Why not?
Dried squid – fresh & delicious
One of the seafood that many tourists choose as a gift when traveling Ha Long is dried squid. This is a delicious seafood species, typical of this bay. Ha Long dried squid has many types to meet the needs and budgets of each traveler is large, medium and small. Ha Long dried squid is prepared and dried according to its own recipe, ensuring the squid retains its sweetness and characteristic flavor.
The tip for choosing good squid is dry, thick squid, bright squid, with a beard and head still attached to the body. When touching the squid does not feel wet, sticky hands.
To buy delicious dried squid as a gift, you can buy at Bai Chay, Cai Dam, Ha Long I, Ha Long II markets. The price of each type of ink for your reference is as follows:
- Large dried squid (6-7 pieces / kg) 30-35cm in length, ranges from $28 to $35 / kg
- Medium dried squid (8-9 heads / 1kg) is 20-25 cm long, and the price ranges from $24 to $27/kg
- Dry medium squid (14-15con / 1kg) price ranges from $20 to $22/kg.
Grilled squid – special food in Halong Bay
This is a typical seafood of Halong. Grilled squid is made from large cuttlefish with some traditional spices such as glutinous rice flour, onion and peppers. In particular, this squid is not grinding like other types of patties but is grated by hand to ensure the toughness, retains the typical flavor of the squid when enjoying.
In order to buy delicious Ha Long squid pies, you should find reputable squid pies production facilities. Before buying, you should taste the pieces of squid, if the taste is crispy, chewy, the specific aroma of squid is the good grilled squid. The usual price of one kg of grilled squid ranges from $15 to $20 and has around 30-32 pieces.
Tourists should find brand-name squid production facilities at Ha Long I, Ha Long II and Cai Dam markets.
Dried Sa Sung (Sipunculus nudus) – rarely seafood
In the coastal area of Halong Bay, there is a type of seafood which is both nutritious and invigorating, good for health, it is called Sa Sung. Dried Sa Sung is one of the indispensable gifts that anyone visiting Halong Bay would like to buy as a gift.
Because the price of this dried seafood is quite high, the profit is much, many shops do not hesitate to mix the non-quality ones. When buying, you should avoid shops that have thin, white, flakes, or those that are blue with no fishy odor. The dried peasants are cooked with roasted, dotted with chutney and raw vegetables, sipping with beer is great. The quality of dried porridge is delicious, the quality is priced from $175 - $220 / kg.
You can order dried Sa Sung at reputable stores, dried seafood counters in Cai Dam and Halong markets.
Halong Bay souvenirs – handmade gifts
Handmade souvenirs are made from shells of marine creatures and coal. You can also choose some luxury souvenirs with pearl or gems, but do not forget to buy it with fixed prices in the market such as Halong market, Halong center.
Compare prices before buying, and it is even possible to bargain. For clothing items, children's toys should pay the price compared to half the original price, pay 2/3 of offer price for handicrafts.
Bonus: some address for you to buy gifs
Cai Dam Market
- Address: Cai Dam, Bai Chay Ward, Halong City
- Operation time: 6:00 am - 18:30 pm
Ha Long Market I, II
- Address: Bach Đang ward, Hạlong city
- Operation time: 6:00 am - 18:30 pm
I hope those tips will help you to buy quality and reasonable price. If you have more tips that can help other travelers, do not hesitate to share them in the comments section.
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Night life of Ha Long
Not only beautiful scenery during the day the beauty of Ha Long's night also makes visitors can’t forget. If during the day, Ha Long has a green beauty, in the night life, Ha Long is shimmering and mysterious.
Bai Chay Bridge
At night, Bai Chay Bridge at night becomes gorgeous in the magical light. This is a cable-stayed bridge symbolizing Ha Long Bay, connecting the two sides of Bai Chay - Hon Gai. Standing on the bridge, visitors can enjoy the panoramic view of beaches, roads, brightly lit high-rise buildings inside Ha Long city. Towards the Cua Luc stream, visitors will see the boats quietly floating along the water.
Night market in Halong
Ha Long Night Market is located on the beautiful Bai Chay beach, shopping, sightseeing and entertainment place of tourists every night. The market begins to open to visitors from 6pm and operates until late at night. Visitors to the night market have both locals, domestic and foreign guests.
Bar and café in night
When night falls, the bars and café on Bai Chay Beach open. There are an outdoor open bars and, with quite large space for visitors to sit down to enjoy drinks, listen to music and admire the Halong beach at night. Other café are designed in a youthful style with beach scene, travelers can enjoy drinks and chat together.
Culture & History
Besides the beautiful landscapes, Halong Bay also possesses a diverse flora and fauna system of great archaeological and geological significance, associated with many cultural and historical values.
According to legend, all the large and small islands in Halong Bay are pearls and jade released by Mother Dragon, forming strong fortifications to help people fight against foreign invaders. Each cave in the bay also holds in itself a mysterious story. Those are colorful stories that reflect the spiritual and emotional life of Vietnamese people.
Many studies have shown that people lived on Halong Bay from 18,000 years ago. Some vestiges of Soi Nhu culture and Ha Long culture (post-Neolithic period) are also found here.
In the modern period, Halong Bay also witnessed many important milestones of Vietnamese history such as: the battle of King Ngo Quyen in 938, Grand Prince Hung Dao won the Nguyen Mong army for the third time in 1288. Today, traces of these battles are still in Dau Go cave, one of the outstanding attractions of Halong Bay.
People & Culture
Regarding religion, Buddhism is the main religion of the local people. In addition to the big temples in Halong City, there are many small temples and shrines scattered on mountains or in fishing villages on the bay. Every time fishermen set sail, they often come here to pray for a safe and abundant trip.