Hi Guys ,
i'm going to hanoi on nov and am thinking of staying in the old quarters.
I've heard that the location is convenient and is within walking distance to most attractions.
Any one has any suggestions on what good place to visit while in hanoi? I know halong bay is a must and am trying to plan one day there. Advisable to stay over night there?
Also - i've heard lots of horror stories abt taxi from airport and how they try to scam you. Anyone has any suggestions on other mode of transport? Right now hotel is saying they can provide taxi but at USD$12 one way. =(
Net - any further info abt the place will be fantastic . Oh forgot to mention its supposed to be a romantic getaway =P
Not sure if you've booked a place to stay but I would thoroughly recommend the Hanoi Backpackers on 48 Ngo Huyen, Hoan Kiem District, Tel: (04) 828 5372. I stayed in a guesthouse when I was there in June as I didn't know about this place. It's run by two Aussie guys and really is a fab place to meet people. They have a rooftop bar and have various social nights. I booked my Halong Bay trip through them as well. You would definitely stay in Halong Bay as it's a 3 hour drive if I remember right and you need to get well out into the bay to get away from the other boats. Some tours offer a 2 night stay on a Island, I did this as that's what my friends had booked but would have liked to stay on the boat instead and the food was NOT good on the island which is a pity as everyone else I met said their boat food was great.
Other than that, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a must but go early as they stop letting people in after 11am (I think) so you need to be in the queue well before that. The Water Puppets are crap but kinda feel it's a right of passage for Hanoi and at least you'll get a free fan
Hope that helps,
Hanoi is my favourite city in all of Asia!
the old quarter is the best place to stay if you are on a backpacker budget and is close to many attractions. I stayed at hotel called thien tanh and it was really nice - $10 for a double en suite room.
if you plan to go to Halong bay I would recommend staying for 2 nights if you can but definitely at least one. you can book the tours in Hanoi from numerous places (we booked through our hotel). that hotel picked us up from the airport for around $10 each if I remember rightly - I do not know of other options but you should be ok as long as you agree a price beforehand with the driver.
Hoan Kiem Lake is a nice place to walk around, and there is a temple on the lake which is worth a visit. there are some really good restaurants around the lake too.
there is also a nice park not far from the lake but the name escapes me! we hired a cylco for a day (again, make sure you agree a price beforehand) and went round the city - its a really relaxing way to do it. the diplomatic quarter has some lovely old colonial buildings and is worth a wander around.
Then temple of literature is interesting and you could go and see a water puppet show. the museum of ethnology is aslo really interesting, and the perfume pagoda is supposed to be good but I didn't go there.
The girls already gave you a few great suggestions what to do and see in Hanoi, concerning getting from the airport to the city there's a few options:
Hanoi city bus number 07 and 17 connect Noi Bai Airport with the city center. The bus stop is just on the right side of the terminal exit. Traveling by bus costs 5,000 VND (0.3 USD) per person and takes about one hour. Buses run from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Airport taxi costs a fixed 160,000 VND (10 USD) for a sedan, 190,000 (12 USD) for a SUV, and toll charges are included in the price. A taxi to city center takes about 30 minutes.
There is also the Airport Minibus, which is 22,000 VND for Vietnamese or 32,000 VND (2.0 USD) for foreigners but only leaves after it is completely filled and it drops you off in the city centre.
Minibuses and taxis park right in from of the airport exit gate. There are 3 companies operating several kinds of taxi/minibus and they are almost the same in price and service.
I took the public bus when I arrived and not only you get to see a bit of the outskirts of Hanoi, you also meet the locals straight away .
Another trip you could do from Hanoi is going to Sapa. I'm still gutted I didn't have time to go, but people who have been absolutely loved it.
2 Nights in Halong Bay . 1 night sleep in the boat 1 night in Cat-Ba island. Trekking, kayaking, diving recomended.
If you have enough time don´t forget to visit the tribes in Sapa or in other areas of Vietnam.
Once you clear the Imm hall, look for the Pacific Hotel desk. They have a free map that is good enough for starters. Buy a better HaNoi map once settled into your hotel. Go outside and ask the touts for the VN Airways van to town, $2.00 We never found it, but were steered to a share van. It leaves when full, also $2.00/person and they drop you at your hotel. Probably your best bet into town. Have the name of your hotel and address in your notebook. The drivers try to steer you to a hotel where they get a kickback, hold your ground.
Definitely stay in the old quarter. Plenty of rooms/restaurants close by. You can also walk to the 'HaNoi Hilton' the Hoa Lo Prison. Easy walk from the lake. Grim but imformative. The water puppet show is worth seeing, one block from the top of the lake. Your hotel can book it for a small service charge. Or book it while walking around the lake. In the LP guide book, they lay out the waking tour of old quarter. I found that worth my time. Every street has different products or services. St. Joesph's Cathedral is close to the lake, worth a stop for the architecture. It is almost obligatory to visit the Ho chi Minh Complex. I took a moto taxi as it is a fair walk from the old quarter. For 10,000VND I did not bother with the bus. Once there, the Fine Arts Museum & the Temple of Literature are walking distance from the HCM Complex. The B-52 Museum & the Army Museum are close to the HCM Complex as well. Worth a stop if interested in the 'American War' years. One day of sightseeing right there.
The Perfume Pagoda tour is OK, very pretty scenery via small boats getting to the hike uphill. I took the cable car as my knee was just not up to the hike uphill. It is a long hike for not much pagoda. It is an important spot for Buddhists, not for the rest of us. Put this after HaLong Bay and pass on it entirely if you don't need to see another pagoda.
Ethan, I have many photos of HaNoi and surrounding area. Send me a PM if you have questions.
hi guys! thanks so much for the tips and help so far. really thankful =)
I'm looking at a place called hotel elegance 2 in old quarters @ Add : 85 Ma May Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam...(its suppose to be a somewhat romantic getaway so hence no really low budget place)
Sadly i'm only there for 4 days. so i guess day 1 and 4 in hanoi and 2-3 in halong bay?
Arriving in evening for day 1 so i guess i'll just do dinner. Are sites open in the evening?
seems like everyone is saying halong bay so i guess i'll do day 2-3 halong bay and come back and spend day 4 visiting sites before flying out in the evening.
I would let the weather be your guide on your trip to HaLang Bay. I went on the one day tour and since it was cool and raining, one was enough. If the weather is great, book the two day tour. If it is raining, then one day is enough and enjoy the sights in HaNoi on your other days. I have plenty of HaNoi and HaLong Bay photos in my gallery.
I am going to send you a PM about your room choice.
I'm Vietnamese and I'm living in Hanoi right now, so I would like to recommend you some places that I hope you will like.
1. About the taxi
When you arrive the airport, you can use Vietnam airlines minibus ( you can ask any staff at the airport). It costs about 2USD. Otherwise, you can call taxi for an all-in tour ( about 10$)
2. Hanoi is quite small so it's not really difficult for you to find the way but I think it's much more convenient if you chose to live in Old quarter. You can easily use your night walking around.
3. About the place in Hanoi
I hope you will feel attractive with some traditional points like: One-pillar Pagoda, Imperial College, Hoan Kiem Lake ( really interesting )
4. About the places outside Hanoi
You can choose some like : Halong bay, CatBa island, Nha Trang Beach, Cuc Phuong forest, Dalat city ( Flower city in Vietnam, but I don't know whether it's the most beautiful time or not ). If you are backpacker, you can buy open bus ticket, and with a map, you can go every where you want ( I like this kind of tourism :P ). The best agent in Hanoi I think is "Hanoi Toserco" with Tel: (84-4) 9780004/9760066 (5 lines), you can find more info about this by google
Perfume Pagoda was very nice, but now it's quite dirty because too many people come there .
I think it's the most important, at least with me .There are some special food that you should try :P
-Pho ( it's one kind of noodle, one famous add is no 49 - Bat Dan street)
-Coffee with egg, it's really interesting. You can try this at Hang Gai street :P
-Bun Cha ( one kind of noodle again, at no 1- Hang Manh street)
There are much more things you can discover here and I hope you will have an unforgettable time in Hanoi :P
cuz My E is not really good so I hope that you will find useful info from here, and if there's thing u want to know, you can ask me anytime.
Can't help anymore than others have already done, but if you want any sleep at all, be sure to bring some ear plugs with you because horn tooting doesn't stop.