Planning Your First Trip to Hanoi?


Why travel to Vietnam and visit Hanoi: The Hanoian? The best local foods and the unique nightlife anywhere in the city? Endless, inexpensive massages? The welcoming people? The smiles?

If you are off to Vietnam and probably plan to visit key points of interest and the main destinations then you might be finding yourself in Hanoi either for the starting point or at the end of your trip and you probably already have some reasons picked out why Hanoi is a not to be missed part of your trip to Vietnam . And if you love Vietnamese food (real Vietnamese food, not the Americanized versions or the Pho Bo you may eat in Melbourne), super inexpensive massages, absolutely unique nightlife, and a very favorable exchange rate with the U.S. dollar, Hanoi is bang on. And if you’re into being pampered Hanoi is a revelation in value and service.

Best Times to visit Hanoi: The average winter temperature is below 20 degrees: 16.5 ° C in Hanoi, rest of the year is almost hot and with raining season from May to early September.

planning first trip hanoi

Airfare Tips: Vietnam airlines has flights to European destination, Australia and North America, but a wide range of airlines fly from the U.S. and Europe to Vietnam and to Hanoi as well as Ho Chi Minh city.

Getting Through the Airport: Visa is required for American, Australian, Canadian, but British, French, Germans, Spanish and Italian as well as ASEA can get a free 15 day visa upon arrival. You will need to apply for a Vietnam visa approval letter and then get your actual visa stamped upon arrival. Anyway, An airport taxi to Hanoi old quarter costs about 300.000 VND (US$ 15) and takes between 30 and 45 minutes depending on traffic.

Getting Around Hanoi: As a tourist, you may get a joy of ride with cyclo (rickshaw) around the Hanoi’s old quarter, metered taxis are widely available everywhere as well as motor-taxis known as Xe Om that are willing to give you a ride with a negotiable price.

Recommended Hotels to stay in Hanoi: You haven’t experienced excellence in service until you’ve stayed in a luxury Hanoi hotels. The accommodations are vary from normal 5 stars to the “world class hotels” . Even the normal 5 star ones provide customer service that continually pleases and amazes client. In the top dozen recommended by TripAdvisor visitors, places to consider include the Sofitel legend metropole, Intercontinental west lake, Hotel de l’Opera and more.

The rainy (and hotter) season between May and September is when hotels offer their best deals, so you can do even better than the rates quoted here or book a Vietnam holiday packages that includes hotel of your choice.

Top Eats when in Hanoi: You never know how many restaurants you can find in Hanoi, however, top rated are on TripAdvisor and new ones including street foodies such as BBQ places pop up every day. So, better to explore the favorite one by yourself. But for a truly local experience, try street eateries, BBQ shops, Pho Bo (noodle-soup) Banh Mi (chicken or beef sandwiches). There are also a big array of mid to high-end restaurants offering all sort of foods from western to Asian and Vietnamese cuisines.

Hanoi top Things to Experience: If you love cooking in general or Vietnamese cuisine in particular, taking a Vietnamese cooking course makes a worthwhile break once in Hanoi and from your sightseeing as well. Try to visit some important Hanoi attractions including Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, visit temple of literature from some thousands years ago and believed to be the first university of Vietnam, there are also countless museums if you are fancy to learn more about Vietnam in past and present. Also, some excursions such as Bat Trang pottery village, Halong Bay and many others options which you can find them on Vietnam day trips

And what would a visit to Hanoi be without indulging in a cool massage or two even. The massage shops around the old quarter are offering am incredibly inexpensive treatments. You can also try one in your hotel as some of them have massage and spa treatments.

Hanoi Top Things to Buy: Shopping is cheap and you can pretty much find anything with better price than back to home in Europe or US. Bargaining in markets is traditional and many sellers prefer or only accept cash, don’t reply on your credit card if you are shopping in local markets.  Also, Vietnamese silk products, up to and including custom-made dresses and reasonably priced suits made in a matter of days, are popular items to buy from Hanoi.

Electricity: Voltage is 220, and although most hotels have 120 volt shaver points in bathrooms, they do not work with three-pronged unless you have the converter grounded plugs or with appliances requiring a strong current.