If you plan to visit Ha Long Bay the UNESCO World Heritage Site, you will have to make your way to Quang Ninh province which is 155km far from Hanoi. It will take around 3.5 hour and VND220,000 for a seat in a high quality bus going to Quang Ninh.
From Hanoi, tourists can catch a high quality bus going to Quang Ninh at My Dinh, Luong Yen or Gia Lam Terminal. All the buses from other provinces when travelling to Quang Ninh stop at Bai Chay Terminal, which is located quite near Vuon Dao tourism center. Travellers can consider “xe om” (motor-taxi) service (with about VND15,000) or a taxi (from VND20,000-VND30,000) to Vuon Dao Area, where tourists are supposed to reach before heading to Ha Long bay.
Bai Chay Harbor, where travellers can find cruises sailing to Ha Long Bay, is only 2 km from Vuon Dao area. The most convenient way to get there is to use “xe om”, which costs about VND20,000. At the harbor, many kinds of cruises from the three-star, four-star to five-star one and even luxurious private cruises, which are well-prepared with professional services, are provided.
A single traveler or a couple can purchase the “integrated ticket”, which allows them to be integrated with other large groups of tourist, instead of renting a whole cruise with the full package. The best time to grab those “integrated tickets” is in the morning of Saturday and Sunday, when there are a lot of tourists coming to visit Ha Long Bay. Get ready to witness the magnificently mysterious Ha Long Bay with an amazingly low price! Normally, there are two kinds of sightseeing tours are provided at the harbor: the four-hour and seven-hour tour, in which the cruise will sail through the most famous tourism destinations in Ha Long Bay such as Thien Cung Cave, Dau Go Cave, Trong Mai Islet, Ti Top Island, Sung Sot Grotto, etc.
From Bai Chay Terminal, there are also buses coming to other provinces all over the country such as Hai Phong, Ninh Binh, Hanoi, Hoa Binh, Bac Giang, and even Vinh, Ninh Thuan, Nha Trang.
Buying a Ticket
Expect to pay about VND 70,000 for a four-hour excursion ticket including a detour at a cave in the bay, although prices will vary depending on the demand.
The ticketing structure is designed to work with group bookings; while individuals can buy tickets at the office, they may be grouped with other parties until they can fill up a tour boat. Individuals or small groups in a hurry can negotiate to hire a whole boat at the ticket office, or with a boat captain. David at Malaysia-Asia.my successfully negotiated to hire a boat for his group of friends for VND 500,000.
Tickets for the day cruise include at least one of these stopovers:
• Dau Go Island – Thien Cung Grotto and/or Dau Go Cave
• Sung Sot Cave
The total ticket price will depend on the following factors –
• Type of boat: boats are rated from standard (0-star) to three-star. Standard boats can accommodate less than 35 people. Starred boats accommodate anywhere from 36 to 50 passengers.
• Length of trip: you (or your group) can choose an itinerary that lasts from between four to ten hours.