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Hanoi Arriving and Departure Hanoi Travel Guide

Hanoi Arriving and Departure Hanoi Travel Guide

By plane:  Visitors generally arrive in Hanoi by plane, flying into the Noi Bai Airport which is located in the Soc San District of Hanoi.  This district is approximately thirty miles from downtown Hanoi so upon arrival visitors generally opt to rent a car to proceed to their hotel destination.  Car rental is relatively inexpensive and is easy to obtain at the airport, although it is recommended that reservations are made in advance, especially if traveling to Hanoi during the busy summer season.  Note that self-drive car rental in Vietnam is not available (and once you wander the chaotic streets of Hanoi, you'll probably be relieved that you got a driver!).
The biggest problem at the airport is the lack of help for tourists. There is a helpful tourist information desk in the terminal though be insistent about your budget if you let them book you a hotel. Once you exit the terminal, there are very few signs to help you find, for example, the Hotel mini-buses, and the local bus.  Beware of overcharging by taxi drivers - you could get a quote of $10 to your hotel in central Hanoi, but when you get out at the destination, the driver may argue that you owe 300,000VND (the exchange rate is 20,800VND to the US$)!  In fact, it is a wise choice to have your hotel arrange transportation for you upon arrival at the airport as taxi drivers are known to take passengers to different hotels than instructed, hoping to get some extra commision from hotel partners they have if you decide to stay at that hotel instead of the one your had originally booked.  This has historically been a bad problem in Vietnam.
There are ATMs, many of which do not work for many tourists.  As you are not allowed to buy Vietnamese Dong outside of Vietnam, you may feel under pressure to get some currency quickly.  There is a branch of Vietcom bank in the terminal who will provide dong with a debit/credit card if you argue with them long enough about how many of the ATMs have refused you cash.  Also it is relatively easy to get around in Vietnam with US dollars, though the smallest denomination accepted is the dollar bill, so you'll probably end up paying more than you need to (eg a beer costs around 20-30c in Hanoi).
By train:  Some visitors make Hanoi a stop on a multi-destination trip.  The train system is the best way to do this.  The station, Ga Hang Co, is efficient and relatively inexpensive.  It should be noted that it is often slow but it is fairly comfortable and can be used for traveling long distances to and from Hanoi.
By bus:   The bus system is generally not a preferred method of getting in to and out of Hanoi , although it is an option.   There are numerous stations throughout the country for travelers seeking to get to Hanoi in this manner.   However, the stations are considered hot spots for tourists to become victims of crime.   Additionally, the bus system is considered to be uncomfortable by international standards.   On the other hand, it is quite inexpensive so travelers who can not afford to get to Hanoi any other way might choose this option.

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