How to get to Halong Bay
Thanks to its popularity, Halong Bay is quite accessible from just anywhere in Vietnam and neighbouring countries. Many visit Halong Bay on a larger international cruise ship which dock in Cai Lan International Port (about 10 minutes from Halong Bay). Others choose to fly to Hanoi (180km) or Hai Phong (80km) airport and take a road trip to the Bay.
The most popular way to get to Halong Bay is by road, which follows Highway 18 that passes by Tuan Chau Island, Bai Chay Road and Hon Gai Bridge. If you travel from Hanoi, most cruise trips will arrange transfer from your hotel to the pier for you (either cruise bus or private car). An average trip without traffic will take at least 4 hours for one way.
From Danang, Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City, you can fly either to Hanoi or Hai Phong Airport and get a car transfer to Halong Bay. From other Southeast Asia countries, you also need to fly into one of these two airports to get access to Halong Bay.
There used to be a rail-line that connects Hanoi and Halong Bay in 2010, however, it has been discontinued and thus traveling by train to Halong Bay is not possible.
You can also travel to Halong Bay on helicopter which takes about 1.5 hour and it is only possible from Hanoi. This service is exclusively run by Northern Vietnam Helicopter Company and it is quite a costly option to reach Halong Bay.