Designated as one of the seven new natural wonders of the world, Halong Bay is definitely a must-see for those traveling to Vietnam. And “How to get to Halong Bay?” is a topic that most travelers want to know when planning a trip to Halong.
I am providing detailed information about each airport near this legendary bay in this article. Perhaps this could help you make the right decisions when you want to get to Halong Bay by plane.
1. Van Don International Airport, Quang Ninh
Van Don International Airport (code: VDO), also known as Quang Ninh International Airport, is located in Van Don – the largest and most densely populated island in the Bai Tu Long archipelago in Quang Ninh province. Inaugurated in December 2018, Van Don Airport was named “Best New Airport in the World 2019” and has significantly improved access to Vietnam’s top tourist destination, Halong Bay.
Van Don International Airport is just 50 km from Ha Long city or 65 km from Tuan Chau Island, the gateway to Halong Bay – a UNESCO World Heritage Center. The airport is connected to other airports in Vietnam by domestic airlines such as Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air.
Passengers at this new airport will arrive at an ultra-modern and modern terminal of about 16,000 m². The terminal includes shops, restaurants, and all the other facilities you would expect to find in an international airport.
Access to Halong Bay, a famous UNESCO World Heritage site in Vietnam, is now much faster and easier thanks to this new international airport and the new Ha Long – Van Don highway. Passengers going to Van Don airport will be offered free bus tickets on the Ha Long – Van Don route. But if you prefer a taxi or private car, the cost will not be too high as it is one of the two closest airports to Halong Bay, in addition to Cat Bi International Airport in Hai Phong city.
2. Cat Bi International Airport, Hai Phong city
Cat Bi International Airport (code: HPH) serves the 3rd largest city in Vietnam: Hai Phong. Located in Hai An district, it only takes passengers 15 minutes by car to get to Cat Bi from downtown Hai Phong. With nearly 45 km between them, Cat Bi Airport is undoubtedly the closest airport to Halong Bay, with a travel time of less than an hour needed to make the transfer along the beautiful scenic highway between the two.
The airport is not too large, but considering the popularity of Halong Bay, as well as Cat Ba Island, it still receives about 25 flights a day – mainly from Ho Chi Minh City (15 flights a day) and Danang (2 flights a day), but also from Nha Trang, Dalat, Buon Me Thuot, Can Tho, and nearby international airports like Seoul (South Korea), Bangkok (Thailand), Shenzhen and Kunming (China).
Cat Bi International Airport is located between Van Don International Airport in Quang Ninh and Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi. Along with Halong Bay, Cat Bi is also the closest airport to Bai Tu Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay. From Cat Bi, you can take a shared minibus to Halong Bay, but taxi or private cars are much better options.
3. Noi Bai International Airport, Hanoi
Compared with the two airports above, Noi Bai International Airport (code: HAN) is not the closest to Halong Bay, but one could say that Hanoi airport is the most convenient for those traveling to see the 7 new wonders of the nature of the world. The airport is located in Soc Son district, 35 kilometers northeast of downtown Hanoi. Thanks to the most modern expressway in the country (Hanoi – Hai Phong – Ha Long), journeys to and from these places have been reduced from 4 hours to 2.5 hours – usually with a short stop in between – making Halong Bay an accessible place from the moment you land in Vietnam.
There are 22 international airlines operating from Noi Bai International Airport, meaning you can easily find a suitable flight to Hanoi from your city. Visitors often choose this airport to get to Vietnam, then stay in Hanoi, the elegant capital of Vietnam, for a night or two before going to Halong Bay by road. The capacity of Noi Bai airport is 20 million passengers a year. In 2018, the airport welcomed 28 million passengers.