There are several ways to get from the Vietnamese capital to one of the most breathtaking parts of the country. Although the commute is short, the two locations could not be more different. Hanoi is one of the busiest cities in this region, whilst Ha Long Bay is a tranquil, otherworldly destination. Hanoi is a travel hub and so there are several ways to travel to Ha Long Bay from the city.
The first option is to travel by mini bus, tickets for which can be purchased either at the Hanoi Main Station where the vans depart from. The buses cost around 60,000 Vietnamese dong (or £2) and takes you from the station in Hanoi to the main harbour in Ha Long Bay. The total journey time for this option is between 3 and 3.5 hours.
Train to Haiphong and local bus
Alternatively you can travel two ways by train, which in my opinion is the more pleasant option of the two. The more frequent train journeys between Hanoi and Haiphong and takes two and a half hours in total. This train takes around 30 minutes to leave Hanoi but once they do, they cut through the incredible countryside. For almost two hours you will be able to observe the rice fields and local people working, and its an incredible way of seeing more of the country. There are four trains a day leaving from Hanoi, three leaving from the Main Station at 6am, 3.20pm and 6.27pm and another leaving from Long Bien Station at 9.20am. Theses trains have two tiers of classes, soft seat and hard seat. Soft seat tickets cost 70,000 Vietnamese dong (or £2.50) and hard seats that cost 60,000. From Haiphong you can take a local bus to Ha Long Bay. The total journey time for this option is between 3.5 and 4 hours.
Train to Ha Long Bay
The final way to travel by train is to take the direct train from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay. This train is the same price as the Haiphong train, but takes more than four times as long. The train departs from Hanoi Yen Vien Station at 4.55am and arrives in the Bay at 12.12pm. An extremely long winded way to travel this particular route, so unless you wish to visit one of the more remote places on this journey I would recommend using one of the first two methods of transport.