If Saigon is the frenetic, commercial heartbeat of Vietnam then gentle, verdant, historic Hanoi is the sedate, intellectual soul of the country. Its leafy boulevards, serene lakes and sweeping white French colonial architecture set the scene as tourists and locals alike seem to go about their business at a pleasingly civilised pace. The city is the administrative capital of the country and its political metronome still beats to communist time, but with a distinctly modern nod towards welcoming tourists from all over the world to enjoy its rich and varied heritage.
Nhan Dan (State newspaper, also available online in English)
Vietnam News (English daily)
The Vietnam Investment Review (English business publication)
Word Hanoi (English publication for expats in Hanoi)
Shops are generally open from 8-8.30 to 21.00, 22.00, but can close for lunch for one or two hours. Banks are open Monday-Friday from 7.30-8.00 to 11.30 and from 13.00-16.00, and are closed on Saturday and Sunday. Governmental offices are open 7.30-16.30, excluding a one-hour lunch, Monday-Friday and closed on Saturday and Sunday.
7 Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hoan Kiem
Opening hours: 8.00-21.00
+84 4 9263366
Most travellers want to be based in the central Hoan Kiem District - in the vicinity of lovely Hoan Kiem Lake whose pathways and surrounding greenery is the site of much activity as the sun rises. Don’t be surprised to see graceful schools of tai chi-ers moving as one as the sun rises and Hanoi health fanatics doing jogging laps before work. As the day falls, couples stroll there for privacy and children wrap-up their games.
Northwest of the lake is the legendary Old Quarter with its winding alleyways and hundreds of quaint shops, guesthouses, galleries and places to eat. Tourists adore it and the locals make hay – you’ll find its establishments stay open long after the doors have shut elsewhere in the city. It’s also crammed with temples and monuments to ponder over between eating and shopping.
Ba Dinh District, to the west of the lake, is the place to head for a little historic enlightenment – The Mauseleum and Museum of Hi Chi Minh and the Hanoi Old Citadel all reside there – and the Old French Quarter, south of the lake, will transport you back to the days before the French realised that the Vietnamese were a force to be reckoned with. Upscale restaurants, hotels and embassies now occupy the stunning white villas.
Visiting Hanoi and you will find white French villas next to temples and monuments and there is always something to amaze you. The Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum is one of the most visited attractions in the country and should not be missed. Hanoi Old Quarter is another must - where you will be able to witness Hanoi at its liveliest moments: flows of people and motorbike permeate all through out the streets.
One Pillar Pagoda
Temple Of Literature
Ngoc Son Temple
Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum
Ho Chi Minh Museum
Thien Quang Pagoda
Vietnam National Museum of History
Hoa Lo Prison
Vietnam Women's Museum
Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre
Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
St. Joseph's Cathedral
Hanoi Cooking Centre
Cuc Phuong National Park
Fine Arts Museum
Hanoi Street Food Tour
Lake of the Restored Sword (Hoan Kiem Lake)
La Siesta Spa
Hanoi restaurants tend to centre around Vietnamese with Asian fusion or European fare, particularly French and Italian. You’re more likely to find international dining in the Hoan Kiem District, but for local authentic flavours (and Hanoi’s famous Pho noodle soup dish) head to the Old Quarter street vendors. Note that most restaurants close at 23.00.
Seasons Of Hanoi
The Gourmet Corner Restaurant
La Restaurant and Bar
DC Bistro Boutique
Pots 'n Pans
El Gaucho - Argentinian Steakhouse
Red Bean Restaurant
Hanoi Taco Bar
Because of its French colonial history and the fact that the locals love their coffee, Hanoi has a wide selection of cafés. Just about every block has some sort of café, everything from a simple local café to a Western-style venue. Vietnamese truly like to experiment with their coffee, so when visiting Hanoi make sure to try the egg coffee and coconut coffee which are highly appreciated among tourist and locals alike.
Take a seat and order a café au lait or a Vietnamese-style-coffee while watching the Vietnamese in their everyday life.
Che Thap Cam Cun 1976
The Note Coffee
Maison de Tet Decor
The Hanoi Social Club
Joma Bakery Cafe
Zenith Yoga II & Cafe
Cafe Pho Co
Hanoi has only recently come to grips with the concept of nightlife past 22.00, and the result is there tends to be pockets of activity dotted around the city. Most tourists head for the bustling Bao Khanh Street in the northwest of Hoan Kiem, where late night hangouts and bars huddle together which attract the locals just as much as out-of-towners.There aren’t a huge amount of actual nightclubs in the city, but the handful you do come across are riotous affairs which stay open until the small hours and pump up the volume.
Bia Hoi Junction
Binh Minh’s Jazz Club
Funky Buddha Bar
Hanoi Rock City
Hero Club Hanoi
Mojito Bar & Lounge
O'Leary’s Sports Bar Hanoi
R & R Tavern
King Pirates Pub
The Bank Hanoi
If you truly love shopping, don´t worry, there is for sure no lack of choices when it comes to shopping in Hanoi. The city is renowned for its bustling markets and colonial shophouses where to buy everything from authentic silk, local crafts to souvenirs, but there is also a numbers of fashion boutiques and shopping malls where to buy local and international fashion brands.
Traditional markets are scattered across the city where you can buy great gifts and souvenirs to bring back home. If you would ask a local or tour guide where to find the most various kinds of traditional Vietnamese gifts and souvenirs, most of them will say “Hoan Kiem Lake” and “The Old Quarter”. So make sure to add these areas on your to-do-list.
When you want to escape from the afternoon heat, the shopping malls are a good options. Savico Megamall for example should be in your agenda to visit, famous for being one of the largest shopping malls in Vietnam. Trang Tien Plaza is great for high-end fashion and offers all the well-known brands.
One thing is for sure you will not leave Hanoi empty-handed!
Trang Tien Street
Hang Bac street
Hoan Kiem District
Quang Ba Flower Market
Trang Tien Plaza
Nha Tho Street
Hanoi’s sparkling new Noi Bai International Airport is being built right next to the old airport, which lies 45km north of Hanoi, and there are lots of ways of getting between it and the city.
Hanoi city bus numbers 07 and 17 leave from the right side of the terminal exit and take an hour, running from 5.00 to 22.00. The buses run every 15-20 minutes.
Airport minibuses congregate outside the arrival hall - the Vietnam Airlines minibus takes about 40 minutes and drops you outside their Hoan Kiem Lake office (south end). Tickets are sold inside the terminal building. However, many travellers opt for a taxi - there are hundreds outside the terminal exit gate. Unlike the minibuses, which run only intermittently at night, taxis are present 24 hours a day. Taxi ride to the city center takes about 30 minutes.
Address: Noi Bai International Airport
Hanoi train station is conveniently located in the city center, with Gate A serving mainly guests traveling South to Danang, Hue, Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City and Gate B serving guests travelling up north to Sapa. It takes about 10 minutes by taxi from either gate to Hanoi Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake.
Train departs punctually with a variety of seat option: hard seat, soft seat, hard berth, soft berth. Despite many shortcomings, train is a safe and reliable means of transportation, and the essential way for guest to visit places such as Sapa.
To purchase train tickets, you can buy directly at the train station or book in advance with an online booking agent and have the ticket delivered to your hotel on your arrival.
Address: 120 Le Duan Street, Hanoi
Public transport plays an essential part in Hanoi's transportation scene but it can be hard for first-timers to use. Unlike metros in big cities, Hanoi's bus system is rather confusing due to its many route covering the hundreds of streets with many different name.
Bus are numbered from 1 to 55 and runs as far as Bac Ninh province which is just by the airport. Fare starts from about VND 7,000.
Taxis are plentiful in the city and charge by distance only (there is no surcharge for rush hour or late evening). Make sure that the taxi rid is charged according to taxi meter. Many tourist have been complaining about taxis been cheating with the price, so be aware of it and only use reliable taxi companies.
Try to have the right change as taxi drivers often don’t have change. Also remember to have your destination written down as pronunciation is often difficult.
Taxi station are located at the airport and the train station.
Reliable taxi companies are Taxi CP and Taxi Hanoi who are two brands of Taxi Group.
Taxi CP: 0438 26 26 26
Hanoi Taxi 0438 53 53 53
Address: 15 Pham Hung Street, Hanoi
Phone: +84 4 38 53 53 53
Pharmacies is called "nha thuoc" in Vietnamese, can be found on nearly every square block of the city.
Country code: +84
Area code: 04
220V is standard in Vietnam. In Hanoi, many outlets fit round pins. Use a surge protector when using computers.
If you stay at 3 star hotels and up, the hotel receptionist should be able to help you with an adapter.