Reviews from BestPrice traveller who recently returned from their Halong Bay trip
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Nowadays there are ports in 2 places: Halong and Hai Phong.
1- From Halong:
The distance from Halong to Hanoi airport is around 200 km. If you go by private car, it takes about 3.5 hours for direct transfer (by private car - price from $60 for 4 seats car).
One cheaper option is taking a shuttle bus from Halong to Bac Ninh (it's on the way back to Hanoi), then taking a taxi to the airport (about 20 USD). It will take about 4 hours.
Another option which is more expensive but take little travelling time is going through the new Hanoi - Hai Phong highway that shortens the distance to about 170km and takes about 2.5 hours. However as there is highway fee, a private car will cost about $70 for 4 seats car.
2- From Hai Phong:
There is a highway from Hai Phong to Hanoi. By taking this route, it will only take about 2 hours transfering directly to the airport. This option is available both with private car or using shuttle bus of some Halong cruises.
Cat Bi Airport located in Hai Phong city and 50km far way from Halong Bay. There is also a new highway just open so it only takes 1 hours transfer from Halong Bay to Cat Bi Airport.
Normally, the distance from Hanoi to Halong Bay is about 170 km. Shuttle Bus takes you around 3.5 hours, included haft-hour for break time from Hanoi to Halong Bay. If you go by private car, it takes around 3 hours.
On the other hand, there is another route which only takes you about 2.5 hours for travelling to Halong Bay. You can hire a car or buy a ticket of a VIP bus to travel from Hanoi city centre to Halong Bay through the new Hanoi - Hai Phong highway, which shortens the distance between Hanoi - Halong to about more than 150km.
However, there will be a fee for the new highway which is about 6.5 USD/turn/car and that is the reason why the price for transportation through this new route is a little bit higher than the old one.
You can read more detail how to travel from hanoi to Halong Bay here
The distance from Halong Bay to Ninh Binh is 200km. However, due to the low-quality traffic system, it takes around 5 hours to transfer from Halong Bay to Ninh Binh
There are 02 ways to get to Ninh Binh from Halong Bay:
The ticket's rate for the bus Halong Bay- Ninh Binh is quite cheap, only 10USD/Person. However, the bus will not pick you up and drop you off at your hotel. You have to come to the meeting point before departure time of the bus. Additionally, the quality of the service is very low since the buses are operated by local people who do not know how to serve foreign tourists, and do not speak English. So, taking the bus is not recommended to avoid the unhappy time of your journey in Vietnam
Book the private car is the best way to get to Ninh Binh from Halong Bay due to following reason
Driver will pick you up at the hotels, cruise pier and take you to any hotel in Ninh Binh
Driver will pick you up at any time you want. Especially if you would like to go Ninh Binh after your Halong Bay Cruise Tour, the driver will contact with cruise's operator and know when you disembark to pick you up
The rate for the private car from Halong to Ninh Binh:
Read more detail here.
Winter (around Octobet to December) and Spring (March and April) are two best seasons to visit Halong. It has the pleasant weather and low chance of rain, during there are higher chance of storm from June to September.
For Halong Bay 2 days or 3 days program is enough to discover main sight here. The longer program is suitable the guest who want to have more time in the stunning scenery and discovery deep inside the center of Bay.
Read more detail at: halong-bay-tour-itinerary-1-night-or-2-nights-on-cruise-is-better.html
Halong Bay is 500km far away to Sapa so it will very hard if you transfer on the same day. There are few options below:
Option 1: By bus: you can take overnight bus from Sapa to Hanoi. You will arrive about 6:00 AM in the morning. Relax then take another day bus (about 3 hours) to Halong Bay.
Option 2: Train + Bus: Take overnight train back to Hanoi around 5:00 AM then 3 hours by bus to Halong Bay.
There are 3 best ways to book Halong bay Cruise when you already in Hanoi: