Best Halong Bay and Hanoi Itinerary for 4 days (Budget and What to Do)

Are you planning to visit Hanoi and Halong Bay in Vietnam?

Here’s the detailed Halong Bay and Hanoi Itinerary complete with budget and suggested things to do in the city.

The charming yet chaotic city of Hanoi has captivated the hearts of many with its history, food and culture.

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and has also been a capital of the French Indochina during their occupation in the region.

The influence of the Hanoi’s colonial past can be seen with its architecture and design fusion with the touch of the Orient.

Hanoi Old Quarter is the beating heart of the city. You can find various Hanoi attractions dotted around, you will find most of the attractions and landmark in this travel guide.


Halong Bay, Vietnam is one of the popular day trips from Hanoi.

You can find and book various Halong bay cruise from Hanoi.

I suggest pre-booking this in advance to get the best deals, read reviews and book the best Halong bay cruise in the market.

Cruising in Halong Bay is definitely worth it!

There are other day trips from Hanoi that you can do while you are in Vietnam like a visit to Ninh Bihn, A day trip to Sapa, and the Perfume Pagoda.

Talking about great savings, you can also use this great Vietnam sim card for tourists to stay connected and share your travel snaps to your family and friends.

Best way to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay 

Land travel is the best way to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay.  You can either travel by bus or taxi from Hanoi to Halong Bay. The distance of  Hanoi to Halong Bay is more than 170+ kilometres, this will probably take you around over 3 hours land travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay.

Can you do a day trip from Hanoi to Halong Bay

Absolutely yes, you can do a day trip from Hanoi to Halong Bay.  This probably the most convenient and the cheapest way to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay.

The cost of the day trip to Halong Bay from Hanoi depends on the company and inclusions that you wish to have within your day trip. You can try to book this day trip to Halong Bay Cruise Day Trip from Hanoi or if you wish to stay overnight in a junk boat in Halong Bay, you can book this 2 Days & 1 Night Halong Bay tour. Staying overnight in the junk boat is probably the best way to see Halong Bay from Hanoi as you get to take in the whole experience more.

The road condition from Hanoi to Halong bay is well-paved roads. Some of the roads may be bumpy at times but that is typical due to the remoteness of the destination.

When is the best time to visit Hanoi and Halong Bay?

The best time to visit Hanoi and Halong Bay is during the Autumn (September to November) and Spring (March to April), as they tend to get a milder temperature compared to the other months of the year. Just to make sure to check the weather forecast prior to travel as this side of Vietnam is the typical pathway to typhoons within Southeast Asia.

Visa Requirements

Since I’m a dual citizen (British – Filipina), Here are the visa requirements needed to visit Vietnam.

For Philippine passport holders: 

Visa is not required for Filipinos for tourism purposes, a maximum of 30 days.

For British Passport holders:

As of November 2015, British do not need a visa to visit Vietnam for 15 days.

Suggested Accommodation

When I visited Hanoi, we stayed in the Old Quarter so everything was accessible from our hotel.

Holiday Emerald Hotel

Address: 24 Hang Manh Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam (Show on map)

Holiday Emerald Hotel bedroomHoliday Emerald Hotel Reception

Compare hotel rates: | Agoda

For a cheaper alternative, just a few metres away from the Holiday Emerald Hotel is the budget-friendly hotel in Hanoi.

Golden Land Hotel

Address: 31 Hang Manh Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam (Show on map)

Golden Land HotelGolden Land Hotel Reception

Compare hotel rates: | Agoda

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Suggested Activities

Looking for things to do in Hanoi?

Here are the various activities on what to do in Hanoi that I would recommend. See this blog post that I wrote about the best things to do in Hanoi.

Trip Budget

[ninja_tables id=”33980″]

Itinerary Details

Here is the Halong Bay and Hanoi itinerary for 4 days and 3 nights  

Day 1:

Evening departure from Manila to Hanoi.

Airport transfer from Hanoi Airport. Pre-arranged with the hotel prior to arrival.

Late check-in at the hotel.

Day 2:


Hanoi Parliament House

After breakfast at the hotel, we visited a few known landmarks in Hanoi.

  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
  • Ho Chi Minh Museum
  • Quan Thanh Temple
  • One Pillar Pagoda
  • Vietnam Military Museum

We had lunch and tried Hanoi’s popular food – Buncha.

We head back to the hotel to get some rest, then went out again in the evening to visit the Night market in the Old Quarter.

Day 3:  

Halong Bay Junk Boat

Ha Long Bay Tour: We pre-arranged the Halong Bay cruise in our hotel’s reception the day before we go on the tour.  I suggest booking this tour advance.

8 AM Hotel Pick Up

4-hour drive to Ha Long Bay from Hanoi.

12 Noon – Arrival in Ha Long Bay, abroad our boat and enjoyed our free lunch while cruising.

More cruising around Halong Bay, we visited Thien Cung Cave and a fishing village.

4 PM – Head back to Hanoi

8 PM – Arrival in Hanoi

Day 4:

Water Puppet Show in Hanoi

Our last day in Hanoi.

Our flight is not until midnight, so we spent the day roaming around the Old Quarter.

Lunch in Quan An Ngon.

Visited Hoan Kiem Lake

Watched the Water Puppet Show.

We head back to the hotel to sort our stuff ready for departure, then we went out for a quick bite and drinks.

10 PM Head to the Hanoi Airport.

Arrival back in Manila early morning of the following day.

Our trip to Hanoi was a memorable one. Though there was a little misfortune on our way overdue to the old visa on arrival policy and the scams, overall, that didn’t stop us to enjoy the beauty of Vietnam. Alternatively, if you want to explore the other main city of Vietnam, you can check out the things to do in Ho Chi Minh city a.k.a Saigon

Have you been to Vietnam? 

Do you have other samples of Halong Bay and Hanoi Itinerary?
Share your Vietnam adventures in the comment box below! 

Travel Itinerary to Hanoi Vietnam


Ryazan Tristram EverythingZany Author BioRyazan Tristram

Ryazan has a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism and Hotel Management. She also has more than 10 years of work experience gained from working in the hotel and travel sectors in Asia and Europe. Her work has been featured and published on Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Discovery Channel, World Travel Guide, MSN, CNBC, GMA , Lonely Planet and many more. She is currently living in the UK as a dual citizen (British – Filipina). Join her on travelling around the globe with a mission to share the best of the world.

18 thoughts on “Best Halong Bay and Hanoi Itinerary for 4 days (Budget and What to Do)”

  1. Hi Ryazan!
    Now I’m also considering Vietnam other than Cambodia. In your 4-day trip, how did you manage spending in cash? Did you go to a money exchange before leaving in the Philippines? Or most of the attractions accept payment in debit or credit card? Thanks for all the tips!

    • We have USD with us before we left Manila. Vietnam widely accepts USD. The debit and credit cards are mostly accepted on bigger establishments. Better to use cash still so you won’t get stuck. 🙂 Enjoy Vietnam!

  2. The beauty of the bay comes of course by riding on the waves. There are several cruises which can stop at certain spots for excursions and explore the local culture. Shuttle buses from Hanoi to Halong Bay are very convenient. You can also take help of bus transportation like Hanoi Travel Bus.

  3. Ha Noi and Halong is one of the best places must to visit in Vietnam. With me, Halong Bay like a dream, I cannot forget my friends in Halong Bay. About Hanoi, I love Hanoi street food, especial is Pho, Sticky, Com Cake,etc… I would high recommend you need travel to Hanoi and Halong, if have enough time, you need travel to Ninh Binh.

  4. I need to get myself to Halong Bay very soon! I plan to spend 3 days in Hanoi when I visit so I’ll be bookmarking this post for future reference. Do you think August would be a good time to visit? Also, where else do you suggest I visit in Vietnan apart from Ho Chi Minh, Hoi An and Hanoi? Also, Halong Bay is a must visit but they say it can get super crowded. Is there a way around that?

    • Vietnam is beautiful! In August you might encounter some monsoon rain, but I hope you’ll be lucky with the weather. I would suggest to visit Nin Binh, it’s one of the UNESCO world heritage sites for a very good reason!

  5. This is such a comprehensive post! As someone who has been to two of these places before, I totally agree with the tips you suggested above. Actually, you even made me want to do a revisit 😉

  6. Your Hanoi itinerary sounds good. My only regret is we spent too less time in this beautiful city when we visited. I would strongly recommend a night stay over a day trip to Halong Bay.

  7. Your post encompasses a lot of useful information. My husband and I want to visit Vietnam next year, so I’ll make sure to bookmark your post. You don’t mention anything about a visa requirement for Americans. We we need a visa as American citizens?

  8. Wow that was an amazing breakdown and schedule! I am planning on going here in September so this guide will be what I will base my trip on. The pricing is actually very reasonable too in your breakdown.

  9. Now we have the perfect guide to plan our trip to Halong Bay. Halong Bay looks so dreamy. I have a question we will be visiting Vietnam for the first time so which all places should we club.

  10. Vietnam is definitely on my list of places to visit when I return to Asia. Everyone always talk about how wonderful it is and everyone’s photos always look so awesome. I like how well you broke down your guide, even including prices. That will be very helpful when I start to plan my trip.

  11. It was great to find your blog; nice pictures & helpful tips! This is really useful. Hope that you will provide us with the more interesting articles about this beautiful country. Thank you so much!!


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