Getting to Halong Bay is simple, and most travellers choose to do so from Hanoi, a mere 3 and a half hours by bus or faster still by private car.
There are many 'open tour' buses that will bundle a trip to Ha Long bay with a cruise on the water - these vary in quality from basic to luxury but generally if you are booking a cruise then transport will be paid for.
A private car or minibus will set you back between $80 - 120 one way and will be one of the fastest ways to cover the 170 km to Halong city as you will avoid unnessecary stops. Public buses are also available and the cheapest option. They are generally reliable but make many more stops than tourist minibuses so can take up to 5 hrs if not on an express route. Expect to pay around $5 Air The closest airport to Halong bay is Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi. From there it is about an hours drive into Hanoi and around 3 1/2 hours on to Halong Bay. It is also possible to take a helicopter from Gia Lam Airport in Hanoi at a cost of $210 / hour, with an estimated flight time of one hour. Last we checked this service was only available on Saturdays By Sea You can take a hydrofoil from Hai Phong to Cat Ba for $10, and the journey takes an hour. The boat departs Hai Phong at 9am and 11.30am, and returns from Cat Ba at 3pm.