When visiting the capital of Vietnam, you’ll likely want to know these essential Hanoi travel tips. Vietnam is a beautiful country in Southeast Asia. As the capital of the country, it has a bustling and fast-paced environment. In fact, some people can be taken aback on their first visit here. The traffic and bustling pace of the city may seem overwhelming to some. However, this doesn’t mean that people don’t love coming to Hanoi. After an adjustment period, the energy of the city is often intoxicating. This vibrant city can be challenging to navigate, especially for first-time visitors. If you’re planning a trip, these are a few travel tips to make the most out of your trip.
Planning the Trip
Pre-arrange a visa through your local embassy or a travel agent before you go. While you can pre-arrange a visa on arrival online but this will likely cause delays when you arrive. Get this sorted before you leave for the best results. Many flights to Hanoi leave from Hong Kong but flights do fill up, especially during tourist season. Try to get tickets around three months in advance when the prices tend to be reasonable.
Travel Around Hanoi
The taxi service in Hanoi is pretty good. The cabs are not expensive and provide a convenient way to get around the city. You may not want to drive as driving here can be challenging if you’re not familiar with the area. Additionally, if you stay in a hotel, they may provide a pick-up and drop-off service from the airport so use this if offered. Buses are also available and less expensive than taxis. They charge a standard fee per ride. Finally, the scooter taxis are always available. Only take these if you have a helmet and they don’t have meters so ask about the price before taking a ride. this is a great way to experience the rush of Hanoi life but may be too exciting for some travelers!
Eating and Drinking
A local delicacy is the pho ga or chick noodle soup. This is a great stand-by food to order when you don’t know what else to choose. There are other local delicacies and you can ask waiters for recommendations or look to see what the local people order. You’ll find a fair number of French-Vietnamese fusion places which are well worth trying. The beer here is mild and kept chilled. They don’t venture much into other types of alcohol so stick with the beer for the best results. Many bars run out of beer by 8 PM so make sure you arrive early.
If you want to enjoy Hanoi, taking a tour may be a good option. Although you can often ask your hotel for recommendations, a fun option is the Hanoi Kids tours. The idea behind this is to take tours by local children. You’ll learn fun facts while having a great time. Other enjoyable activities include the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, and the night market in the Old Quarter. You’ll also want to check out the Long Bien bridge which has a rich history.
Shopping in Hanoi
There are hundreds of shops and boutiques in Hanoi. It’s well worth taking a few hours to explore the area and pop into a few fun shops. One of the best places to look is in Hanoi’s old Quarter. This is lined with trinket sellers, souvenir stalls, and fashion stores. It’s fun and you may find some unique items. For a more upscale experience, visit Vincom City Towers where you’ll find luxury items, a movie theatre, and a colorful gaming area.
General Hanoi Travel Tips
One important tip that many travelers to Hanoi miss is photography courtesy. While it’s often tempting to take pictures of everything, the locals find it rude to be photographed. As a sign of respect, make sure to ask for permission first.Finally, unless you speak Vietnamese, you can expect to experience a language barrier. Most locals know a little English but don’t speak it fluently. Vietnamese phrase books are available but often challenging. For the best results, try to relax and get by as best you can. If you’re planning a trip, these Hanoi travel tips will help you enjoy your travels while staying safe along the way.