How To Get Around in Hanoi

TRANSPORTATION FROM/TO NOIBAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Visitors can travel between Hanoi and Noi Bai airport (45 km away) by public bus, airport shuttle bus and taxi.

Hanoi Taxi – Taxi Airport (From Noi Bai airport to Hanoi city center will cost you around VND 350,000-400,000 or USD 15-20)

 

GETTING AROUND HANOI

TAXI

Hanoi's taxis have meters, but not all drivers like to use them. Working meters cost about VND 10,000-15,000 for the first two km, then about VND 8,000 per succeeding kilometer.

The trouble with taking a taxi is not all of them are well-versed in English, and some will try to impose a flat rate for your trip instead of relying on the meter. Even when they use the meter, some of them will have defective meters that run too fast!

Mai Linh Taxi (Easily to regconize them with their green cab – in the picture)

Taxi CP same as Mai Linh Taxi (but in white color)

The language gap is a big problem when getting around in Hanoi, as Vietnamese is a tonal language that adds dots and squiggles to Latin characters that change their pronunciation entirely!

So don't try to tell the driver where you want to go; show him a paper or card that has the address in writing. (Find calling cards at your hotel front desk. Grab a handful and use them for your trips.)

How To Get Around

GRAB BIKE AND TAXI

Grab is an app like Uber, but it offers more options, such as Grab motorbike rides. On just about every street you can spot Grab motorbike drivers in their notorious green jackets and helmets. Grab is very simple to use. You only need a Vietnam sim card with Internet access and fortunately it is very cheap (around VND100,000 – USD 3). First, place your pick up location and destination, choose whether you want a Grab bike, car, or shared car, and then wait for your driver to arrive. Grab is the best option to choose if you want to avoid scam in Hanoi.

ELECTRIC BUS

Hanoi’s golf-buggy-esque ecofriendly Electric Bus tour is actually a pretty good way to get your bearings in the city. It traverses a network of 14 stops in the Old Quarter and around Hoan Kiem Lake, parting the flow of motorbikes and pedestrians like a slow-moving white dragon. Nothing really beats haphazardly discovering the nooks and crannies of the Old Quarter by foot, but if you’re feeling a tad lazy, the hop-on, hop-off bus is worth considering. The main departure point is the northern end of Hoan Kiem Lake, and there's another departure point outside Dong Xuan Market. A full journey around the Old Quarter takes around an hour, with a recorded English-language commentary as you ride.

CYCLO

Cyclo are Hanoi's bicycle rickshaws. Passengers ride in the front cab, while the driver sits behind the passenger. Cyclo cabs are made for two passengers and are ideal for exploring short distances within Hanoi's city center. Ride them only if you're in no hurry, and if you don't mind the fright of seeing Hanoi's traffic whiz right in front of you.

A ride in a cyclo should cost you about VND 100,000 (USD 5) for an hour's ride.

They may ask for more at the outset, but you're encouraged to haggle the price down. Agree on the price up front before boarding.
Don't be surprised if the cyclo driver will try to charge you more as soon as you get down. Pay the price you agreed at the outset, and be firm about it - however, do tip him for his services, as he's pedaled your entire body weight for the past hour. Have the correct change ready, as cyclo drivers (like their taxi counterparts) hate to give back change.

MOTORCYCLE TAXIS (XE OM)

Motorcycle Taxis (Xe Om) Travelling via motorcycle taxis is a quick and inexpensive way of getting around in Hanoi as you can find one in most parts of the city, particularly nearby hotels, shopping streets, and tourist attractions. Do note that these vehicles aren’t fitted with meters, so bargain hard, settle on the price, and fasten on your helmet before hopping onto one. A good tip is to ask the concierge in your hotel roughly how much a particular journey should cost before you leave for the day. Xe Om rides within 2 km should be about VND 20,000-30,000. The only downside is most drivers speak limited English, so it’s best to write down the address of your destination and show it to your driver beforehand. With the rise of Grab, Xe om is no longer considered as a popular choice among Hanoians.

RENTING A SCOOTER

Renting a scooter may be an option if you want a little more flexibility to your travel around Hanoi. Many guesthouses or hotels can get their guests a motorbike to rent for about USD 5 per day. Take note that you'll need to get a local driving license before you can rent a motorbike or a car in Vietnam: visit the Hanoi Department of Public Works and Transportation to get one.
Also, do note that newbies shouldn't attempt Hanoi's chaotic traffic; the rules of the road do not exist along the city's streets, and a shaky new driver will only end up injured or worse. Otherwise, the most popular of scooter are Honda Airblade, Honda Vision and Yamaha Exciter.

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