My dream destination is Hanoi, the capital and the second-largest city in Vietnam. The jewel of the Hanoi is the second-largest city in Vietnam. The jewel of the north where one may have the opportunity to enjoy the heavily influence Vietnamese culture. Northern Vietnam’s lifestyle has been shaped over the centuries by invading countries like China, Franch, and the United States.

Helpful Information

The best time to visit Hanoi is between September to November and March to April when temperatures vary between 24- 26°C (75 – 78°F). During this time, the weather becomes mild and beautiful, with less rain and warm sunshine. Perfect for walking around and exploring the city. I visited Hanoi a few times once at the end of April and another time in November, and during both times, the weather was mild and pretty comfortable.

By Air

Noi Bai International Airport (HAN) is the largest and second busiest airport in Vietnam. It is only about 18 miles (30 km) north of Old Quarter. I found it most convenient to fly to Hanoi from Da Nang, Hanoi, Bangkok, Hong Kong Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing, Siem Reap, and many other major cities. 

In addition to flying to Hanoi Airport, there are several other ways to get to Hanoi.
Flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

By Train

Hanoi railway station is located about a mile (2 km) from Old Quater. Train in Vietnam is a great way to travel between cities, and it is popular among tourists. You can check here for train tickets or go to for train tickets.

Hanoi By Bus

Hanoi is well connected to most of the major cities in Vietnam by a widely traveled bus service. Bus from Hanoi to Da Nang takes about 18 hours, and to Hue about 13, you can check here for bus tickets or go to for Bus options.

Getting to City From The Airport 

If you are arriving at Noi Bai International Airport, the largest and second busiest airport in Vietnam, then getting to the city center (Old Quarter) shouldn’t be a problem. There is plenty of option, such as:

By Taxi

Avoid all the freelance taxi drives who try to solicit your business, instead head to the official taxi counters and get your taxi from there. Taxi is reliable and reasonably priced, it should cost you about US$ 15.00 to the city center.

Uber / Grab

If you have access to the internet, then Uber or Grab is the most convenient way to and from the airport.

By Public Shuttle

The shuttle is available right outside of the arrivals gate, and it is one of the most popular and cost-effective ways of getting to the city.

Getting Around in Hanoi

Most of the attractions in Hanoi are walkable, especially places around the Old Quarter, which is considered much safer than other options.

xe om (pronounced, “say ohm”)

Considering safety and convenience, most tourists on their trip to Vietnam often choose a private car with an English-speaking driver, but of course, it comes with a price tag that can be unnecessary, especially if you are traveling solo. I saw many travelers use “xe om” refers to “motorcycle-taxi,” which is the primary means of transportation in Vietnam. It is a cheaper and faster way of getting around, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

xe-om (motorcycle-taxi) in Ho Chi Minh City
xe-om (motorcycle-taxi) in Ho Chi Minh City

Metered Taxi

Taxi is the easiest and convenient way to get around in Hanoi, and they are available all over the city. I would recommend using taxi companies such as Mai Linh Taxi to avoid taxi scams in Hanoi.


I have used Uber a lot in Hanoi and found it convenient and hassle-free. All you need is a working smartphone and the Uber/Grab app.

Visa Requirement for Vietnam

Vietnam visa on arrival is the most common way to get business or tourist visas through the internet. Many private online companies offer eVisa approval service, fill up an online application, pay the processing fee, and receive the approval via email. It takes about two days for regular processing.

When you arrive at your destination airport in Vietnam, show the Approval Letter and photos at the Immigration office for visa stamp. Total cost is US$ 16.00 for online service fee and visa stamped on arrival fee of US$ 25.00 (single entry)

Visa from Phnom Penh

Once I applied for a Vietnam visa at the Phnom Penh embassy and got my single entry visa the next day. Visa fee was US$ 40.00, and for multiple entries, the fee was US$50.00. Whereas during my earlier trip I had to pay US$100.00 when I applied for visa in New York City Vietnamese consulate

Processing time is usually one working day, and the three-month multiple-entry visa takes longer. They offer same-day processing for an additional $10.00.

SIM Card for Cell Phone

Buying a SIM card at Hanoi Airport is easy. The most popular plan costs around 200,000 VDN (US$ 10) for 7GB of data valid for 7 days. Getting a SIM card is an excellent idea that helps you have the internet all the time and convenient way to booking your Grap / Uber ride or finding places of interest. Note that your phone needs to be unlocked to be able to use the local SIM card.

Is Hanoi Safe for Tourists

Hanoi is a safe city even solo traveler feels safe to travel through Vietnam. Like any other big city, you need to be vigilant and keep your eyes open. Watch out from scammers and keep alert not to pay extra because you are a tourist. 

Visit Old Quarter

Don’t leave Hanoi without visiting the Old Quarter; actually, in my opinion, it’s the best area to stay if you want to have the true Vietnamese experience. There you will find French colonial architectures, narrow streets, tall and thin houses, hundreds of motorbikes and bicycles, street vendors, makeshift street restaurants particularly in the evening, market, cafes, travel agencies, souvenirs shops, hotels, and much more.

Old Quarter, Hanoi
Old Quarter, Hanoi

Stroll Around Hoan Kiem Lake

If you are staying in the Old Quarter area, can’t miss Hoan Kiem Lake, one of Hanoi’s most famous attractions. Locals go there for morning walk, jogging, people watching, and family event. I enjoyed watching the traditional Vietnamese style Tai Chi by the lake and the Turtle Tower, an iconic ancient tower on a small island. There is a scenic red Huc bridge that will lead you to the Temple of Jade Mountain. In fact, it’s a great place to relax and stroll around the lake.

Ngoc Son temple, Hanoi, Vietnam

Ngoc Son temple

It’s great to just walk over the picturesque bridge over Hoan Kiem Lake, leading to this historic bridge called Ngoc Son Pagoda on an island. At night it can be seen from a far distance as it’s decorated with colorful lights.

Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi
Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

The Mausoleum is located on a vast square close to the historic Imperial Citadel. Ho Chi Minh was the National leader who defeated the French in 1954. His body is preserved in a glass case inside the Mausoleum. Open to Visitors except for Mondays and Fridays.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hanoi, North Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hanoi

Train Street in Hanoi

One of Hanoi’s most popular attractions is the street in the Old Quarter, known as train street, where trains run down an active track just inches away from homes and cafes. Just get the timetable before your visit and take a table in a bar or cafe to have a better look at the scene.

The Old Quarter, The Hanoi Street Train Tracks
The Old Quarter, The Hanoi Street Train Tracks

Tran Quoc Pagoda & West Lake

West Lake is the biggest freshwater lake in Hanoi, and one of the most beautiful areas for a morning walk or having your dinner at one of the trendy restaurants. Once around this area, try to visit the Tran Quoc Pagoda, one of the oldest in the city located on a small island of west lake.

Panorama view of Tran Quoc pagoda, the oldest temple in Hanoi, North Vietnam
Panorama view of Tran Quoc pagoda, the oldest temple in Hanoi, Vietnam

The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

Citadel of Thang Long is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, also known as the citadel of Hanoi. The 40 meters tall flag tower is an iconic symbol of Hanoi.

View of the Thang Long Imperial Citadel in Hanoi, North Vietnam
View of the Thang Long Imperial Citadel in Hanoi

St Joseph’s Cathedral

St. Joseph’s Cathedral is located on the west side of Hoan Kiem Lake, close to the French Quarter. One of the most famous colonial-era landmarks in Hanoi that were modeled after Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral.

St Joseph's Cathedral, Hanoi, vietnam
St Joseph’s Cathedral, Hanoi
Hanoi Flagtower, vietnam
A View of Hanoi Flagtower

Day Trip From Hanoi

The Parfume Pagoda

Perfume Pagoda is a perfect day trip escape from Hanoi – a vast complex of Buddhist temples and shrines built into the limestone Huong Tich Perfume Pagoda is a perfect day trip escape from Hanoi – a vast complex of Buddhist temples and shrines built into the limestone Huong Tich mountains. It’s about 2 hours road trip from Hanoi. Upon arrival, board a row-boat and take a relaxing ride along the scenic Yen Stream.

Yen Stream, Vietnam
Yen Stream on your way to Perfume Pagoda

From Thien Tru harbor, you will enjoy trekking to the Huong Tich Cave and the famous Perfume Pagoda on the top of the mountain. On your way back, you can have lunch at the local restaurant at the bottom of the mountain and later visit the Heaven Kitchen pagoda.

The Parfume Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam
The Parfume Pagoda in Hanoi

Day Trip to Tam Coc, Ninh Binh

Tam Coc translates to “three caves” consist of Ca Cave, Hai Cave, and Ba Cave formed by Ngo Dong River. It is also widely known as the Halong Bay on the land one of the best day trip locations to visit in Ninh Binh province from Hanoi.

Tam Coc, vietnam
Tourist ride boat for travel sight seeing Rice field on river

Two Nights Trip to Halong Bay

Halong Bay listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site is located 105 miles (170 km) east of Hanoi, Vietnam. Halong translates as ‘where the dragon descends into the sea’. Legend claims that the islands of Halong Bay were created by a great dragon who lived in the mountains. The excellent tour experience and stunningly picturesque of Halong Bay could bring home unforgettable memories for you to keep forever. 

Halong Bay from Sung Sot Cave, Vietnam
A view from Sung Sot Cave in Halong Bay

Planning a Trip?

Here is a few affiliate links that may help plan a perfect trip while staying within budget.

Where Did I Stay In Hanoi

Hanoi Brilliant Hotel and Spa, 44 Hang Trong – Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

The hotel features beautiful rooms equipped with free Wi-Fi access is available. A free breakfast buffet is provided. The hotel is 1.6 mi from West Lake, 0.7 mi from the National Museum of Vietnamese History, and 1,300 feet from Hoan Kiem Lake. Noibai International Airport is 13 mi away. A great location in the heart of Old Town.

Hanoi Brilliant Hotel and Spa, Hanoi, North Vietnam
Hanoi Brilliant Hotel and Spa, Hanoi
Bonsella Hotel, Hanoi, North Vietnam
Bonsella Hotel

Bonsella Hotel, Hanoi

The Hotel is a 2-minute walk from Hoan Kiem Lake and a 5-minute walk from the weekend night market. This accommodation is 1.2 mi from historic Mausoleum and 1.6 mi from the Temple of Literature. Noi Bai International Airport is 19 mi away.

Food to Try in Hanoi

Vietnam is well known for its cuisine, particularly Hanoi, which is filled with street food stalls and night markets and is definitely a foodie’s dream destination. If you are enthusiastic, plan a guided night market & street food tour or night street food tour.

My Opinion and Tips

Have you been to Hanoi, Vietnam? Any additional tips to share?

Please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you to improve my knowledge. 

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Hasan Mahmud

Traveler, Blogger, and Travel Photographer!

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