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A Guide to Hanoi
Know Before You Go
- Exchange your New Zealand Dollars for US Dollars before you arrive. You'll need the exact amount to pay for your visa on arrival at the airport.
- Practice your haggling skills. It's part of Vietnamese culture to ask the shop owner for a better price. A good rule of thumb is to cut the first price you are given in half and go from there.
- Use Grab to get around. If you're wary about hiring a car or a motorcycle in Hanoi, download the ridesharing app. The prices are low, and it's a good way to avoid being overcharged.
- Check the weather. While Vietnam is located in the tropics, the northern part of the country can get cold in winter. If you're visiting Hanoi between January and March, it's a good idea to pack some warm layers just in case.
- Keep your travel costs down by eating cheap street food. Head to the Old Quarter, and you can fill up on delicious local dishes for only a couple of dollars.
Getting Around Hanoi
The quickest way to get around Hanoi is with a motorcycle taxi. You can use Grab to request your ride and save time on haggling a price with drivers. It's also a great way to eliminate any confusion about your final destination. Drives within 2km will usually cost between VND 12,000 to 20,000.
Grab can also be used to request a cab. Fares will start around VND 20,000 and are usually cheaper than hailing down a driver from the street.
The cheapest way to get around Hanoi is with the local bus service. Ticket prices start at VND 5,000, and you'll need to pay the driver in cash.
If you want to try a unique way of getting around the city, rent a Cyclo. You can expect to pay around VND 20,000 for an hour-long drive, and it's perfect for navigating the Old Quarter's narrow streets.
When is The Best Time to Visit Hanoi?
The best time to visit Hanoi is during the spring. From March to May, the temperatures are mild, and the city only experiences mild drizzles. The cooler temperatures will make exploring the city on foot more bearable, and there are fewer people at the top attractions.
June to August is Vietnam's hottest months with temperatures reaching 40°C. If you're planning a trip during this period, make sure you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
If you're travelling to Vietnam on a budget, the best time to visit Hanoi is during the rainy season. While the downpours only last up to 30 minutes, tourists tend to stay away and prices for flights and accommodation drop.
From December to February, temperatures drop to below 10°C. If you don't mind wearing a few extra layers, you'll be rewarded with low humidity and rainfall levels. It's also a great time of year for culture vultures, as the Vietnamese festival, Tet, is held in February every year.
Airports in Hanoi
Noi Bai International Airport
Noi Bai International is the second busiest and largest airport in the country. It's a hub for regional airlines VietJet Air and Vietnam Airlines as well as Jetstar Pacific.
Getting To and From Noi Bai International Airport
If you want to save money getting to your hotel, take the local bus. Routes 7 and 17 connect the airport to the city centre. The bus stop is outside of the arrivals terminal and costs VND 5,000 per person. The buses run from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and depart every 15-20 minutes.
Taxi stands are located inside the arrivals hall. If you don't want to negotiate your rate with a driver, you can head to one of the desks and pay a set price. A trip into the city will cost between VND 200,000 to 500,000 depending on your final destination.
Another affordable way to get to your hotel is with the Airport Minibus service. Tickets cost VND 32,000 per person, and you'll be dropped off outside your hotel in Hanoi.
If you want to have more freedom getting around, you can rent a car from the airport. However, it's not advised if you aren't used to Hanoi's infamous gridlocked traffic.