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Know Before You Go
- Make sure you have both US Dollars and Vietnamese Dong during your trip. You'll need dollars to pay for your tour or hotel and the local currency for restaurants, bars and shops.
- If you are paying for your visa on arrival, make sure you have enough USD in your wallet. While there is an ATM nearby, you can only withdraw Dong.
- Haggling is part of the Vietnamese culture, so don't be afraid to flex your negotiation skills. Ask for a "better price" or tell the shop owner what you are willing to pay. If they let you walk out without offering you a lower price, then you've gone too low.
- Before hailing down a taxi from the road, check the prices with Uber. It will make bartering easier, and it's a simple tactic to avoid being overcharged.
- Even though Vietnam is in the tropics, Hanoi can get cold in winter. If you are travelling between January to March, pack some warm layers. Most places don't have a central heating system, and temperatures can drop to under 10°C.
Getting Around Hanoi
- Motorcycle taxis are a quick and cheap way to get around the city. But as none of these vehicles come with meters, you'll need to bargain hard before you hop onto one. Rides within 2 km should cost around VND 20,000 to 30,000, and it's best to have your destination written down beforehand to minimise confusion.
- Taxis can be easily hailed from the street or requested by your hotel concierge. Fares start at VND 10,000 with every kilometre costing between VND 4,000 to VND 6,500.
- Another inexpensive method to get around Hanoi is with a Cyclo. For an hour long ride, you can expect to pay VND 20,000, and it's one of the better options for traversing the Old Quarter's narrow streets.
- Hanoi also has 60 bus routes that stop nearby most of the city's famous attractions. A standard ticket will cost between VND 5,000 to VND 10,000 depending on your final destination and is payable in cash. If you don't know the city well, it's also a good idea to tell the conductor where you want to get off as stops are often unannounced.
When is The Best Time to Visit Hanoi?
The best time to visit Hanoi is from March to May. Springtime temperatures are comfortable mid to low 20s, with frequent drizzles. While the cooler weather means you can explore the city on foot without dripping in sweat, you will need to pack some light layers for the evenings.
From June to August, Hanoi experiences its hottest months. Temperatures reach 40°C on top of the high humidity. The heat can make doing anything a chore, so make sure you stay hydrated if you do decide to venture outside.
The city's rainy season runs from October to December. The downpours can last up to 30 minutes, and it's best to keep a raincoat with you at all times. If you do find yourself on the streets during a downpour, taxis are hard to find, and the streets are prone to flooding. Instead of trying to make your way back to your hotel, pop into a coffee shop and warm up with a cup of joe while you wait for the rain to stop.
Temperatures in Hanoi's winter months (December to February) drop to below 10°C. But despite the lack of heat, it's still a great time to visit if you don't mind wearing a few extra layers. The city's humidity levels and rainfall are at their lowest, making it the perfect time to explore on foot. Plus if you visit Vietnam during February, you'll be able to witness the Tet holiday - the longest and most important Vietnamese festival of the year.
Airports in Hanoi
Noi Bai International Airport
Noi Bai International is the largest airport in Vietnam and the second busiest after Tan Son Nhat International. It replaced Gia Lam as the main airport serving Hanoi and is a major hub for low-cost carriers VietJet Air and Jetstar Pacific as well as the country's flag carrier Vietnam Airlines.
Getting To and From Noi Bai International Airport
There are two buses, #7 and #17 that connect Noi Bai Airport with the city centre. The bus stop is on the right side of the terminal exit, and it costs VND 5,000 one way. Buses run every 15-20 minutes from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. with a journey time of one hour.
If you want to take a taxi from the airport to your hotel, you'll find the drivers waiting on the arrivals level outside the Domestic and International terminals. It should take about 30 minutes to get into Hanoi and cost about VND 320,000.
A more affordable way to get to your hotel is with the Airport Minibus service. It costs around VND 32,000 to go from the airport and be dropped off at your hotel in Hanoi. To avoid any surprises, always confirm your destination and fare with the driver before boarding the bus.