Halong Bay’s emerald waters and striking karst landscape are now just a day trip away thanks to a new expressway. Connecting Vietnam’s capital Hanoi with the UNESCO-listed site, the expressway is officially open to vehicles after costing a whopping US$572 million to construct.
Reduced travel time
The previous drive time between Hanoi and Halong Bay was three to four hours, covering some 180 kilometres in distance. However, with the introduction of the new expressway, this time has been cut in half. The new route covers just 130 kilometres, taking a much more manageable one and a half hours to travel between the two popular destinations.
This comes as welcome news to both tourists and tour operators. Before the expressway was completed, a trip to Halong Bay realistically required an overnight stay. This often came at a cost to visiting other parts of Vietnam, as people struggled to fit everything this Southeast Asian gem has to offer in one or two week-long itineraries.
Boost to tourism
Travellers have long been drawn to Halong, with the scenic bay ranking 3rd after Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City as one of Vietnam’s most visited destinations. Last year alone, Halong Bay attracted nearly 10 million visitors. And the new expressway is expected to help the province of Quang Ninh welcome even more.
As the official location of Vietnam’s National Tourism Year 2018, Quang Ninh is hosting more than 50 tourism, sports and cultural events throughout the year. Tourist numbers are expected to reach 12 million, making this the ideal time for Vietnam to debut its new infrastructure.
With the new expressway promoting connectivity between Quang Ninh and Hanoi, it’s thought more socio-economic opportunities will soon be created. The expressway itself is actually one of two major transport projects that have been taking place in Quang Ninh.
To make travelling to the province even easier, a new international airport has also been under construction. Located just east of Halong City, it’s set to open later in the year.
Thinking of travelling to Vietnam? We visit Hanoi and Halong Bay on our group tours.