Like elsewhere in Vietnam, it is not recommended for foreigners to drive here. A private car or taxi should cost about 1,465,800 to 2,094,000 VND ($70 to $100) from Hanoi to Halong Bay (four hours). Round-trip shuttle service is generally included for overnight cruise passengers, or it might be tacked on for an added fee.
Buses depart for Halong Bay from Hanoi’s Gia Lam Bus Station. The four-hour ride costs 90,000 VND, but the bus is crowded, hot, and makes multiple stops along the way. Most boat tours include shuttle service to/from Halong Bay with an 8 am pickup at your hotel and noon drop-off at Halong City port. A number of public shuttles depart from Hanoi’s Old Quarter, offering one-way transportation for $10-$15 for the four-hour trip.
The only way to fly directly into Halong Bay is by private helicopter between Hanoi’s Gia Lam Airport and Halong’s heliport on General Giap Hill. Cat Bi Airport in Haiphong has five daily flights to/from Ho Chi Minh City and one between Danang. By 2015, this domestic airport is slated to expand and receive international flights.
Luxury Travel Vietnam (Halong Bay. 024/3927–4120. www.luxurytravelvietnam.com.)
Northern Airport Flight Service Company (Gia Lam Airport, 173 Pho Truong Chinh St.,Hanoi. 024/3827–4409.)
Hai Au Aviation (70–72 Ba Trieu St., Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. 024/3926–3148.www.seaplanes.vn.)
A taxi from Cat Bi International Airport in Haiphong to Halong Bay takes 2+ hours and costs about 850,000 VND ($40). A metered taxi from Hanoi to Halong Bay will cost at least 2,094,000 VND ($100).
Several daily trains run from Hanoi’s Long Bien station to the Haiphong station. The two- to three-hour train ride costs 65,000 VND. From the Haiphong Ferry Terminal, passengers can catch a hydrofoil to Cat Ba Island.