You will arrive at the Noi Bai International Airport located about 22 miles north of Hanoi
When you enter Vietnam, you must complete a yellow customs declaration slip and a blue departure slip. (You should receive these on the airplane prior to arrival.) You will need these documents to get out of the country. So do not lose your customs forms. If you do, a customs search, a fine, and a long delay are likely
It is a 45-60 minute ride to the centre of Hanoi. Taxis at the airport offer safe transportation at a cost of about 15 usd (for 4 seated car). There are two reputable taxis available at the airport: Airport Taxi (04 83886666) and Noi Bai Taxi airport to Hanoi, toll included). It is better for you to book taxi of our hotel. Our hotel has taxi to pick up guests (It is a new car with A/C). Please, check the price of taxi pick at our hotel website: http://www.trungnamhaihotel.com/rooms-rates.html.
Climate and Clothing
In Hanoi, February is the middle of the winter season and average daily temperature range between 55-68 F with about 40% humidity. While day-time temperatures in Hanoi can be mild at this time of year, you may want to pack a sweater or light jacket for early morning and evenings. June, July and August are hot with daytime temperature between 92-97 F with high humidity, comfortable, lightweight clothing in natural fabrics such as cotton is most suitable for Vietnam.
The voltage in Hanoi is 220 volts, 50 Hz, but is unstable. Wall outlets take the continental European type, with two round plugs. Please, remember to bring adaptors- although some hotels will provide them as long as their supply lasts.
- Observing the following, local customs will help keep you from embarrassing yourself with the Vietnamese.
- Crossing your index and middle finger (our way of wishing good luck) is considered to be a lewd gesture.
- Touching someone, especially on the head, is not welcomed.
- Monitoring for someone to come with your palm up is considered rude.
- Handing a pair of chopsticks is considered bad luck
- No matter what your line of work, there is one thing that no businessperson in Vietnam can do without: name cards. When it comes time to give them out, use both hands – it is more respectful. Accept incoming name cards with both hands as well
Taxi: Taxis are readily available and inexpensive. You can get to most places within the downtown area for about $US1.00-5.00. Ask a hotel doorman to give the driver the name/location of your destination, or simply hand the driver a business card from your destination.
To help keep you safe, the following are some safety and security tips to keep in mind:
- Try to use the buddy system when taking a late night or early morning taxi.
- Hanoi Taxi, CP Taxi or Mai Linh Taxi with meters are the recommended taxi companies. Avoid using taxis that have completely blacked out windows, magnetic signage, and no meter and are otherwise suspicious.
- Take special care and remain aware of your surrounding at all times when using taxis.
- Note the name of the taxi company and number of the taxi/ license number (Use your camera phone to snap a shot of the license plate number and/or taxi number).
- Inform a friend or family via phone call or text message of your taxi and trip information to insure someone knows about your trip detail.
- The local police emergency number is 113.
- According to the Hanoi Transportation and Public Works Department, they have now more than 5000 taxis in Hanoi and more than 1000 of them are fake taxis. Please, be particularly attentive and avoid being a victim.
Motorbike is the most common form of transportation for local stall. A helmet law, which is applied to both rider and passenger, was enforced in December 2007. There are many motorbikes shops in Hanoi. On average, a new basic motorbike costs around $1500. In most cases, you will be requested to pay for parking, it costs around 5,000vnd to 10,000 vnd each times.
Xe om is widely available in Hanoi. It is an easier way to get from point A to point B at the much cheaper cost. Depending on the distance, the fee starts at 5,000vnd and up for each trip. The key is to make sure to have the Xe Om to agree on the rate before the trip. Nowadays, some Xe Om are even equipped with meters. Xe Om’s normally provide helmet for the passenger. However, if possible, it is recommend to bring your own helmet.
If you don not have health unit access or you are not covered for medical evacuation under ICASS, it is essential to take out a supplemental medical insurance policy to include evacuation before traveling. Medical facilities are rather limited in Hanoi. Short-term visitors should update the following vaccinations/shots: typhoid, hepatitis A&B, boosters for tetanus-diphtheria, and measles. It is the responsibility of travelers and their sponsoring agencies to be compliance with medical requirement s prior to arriving to Hanoi
The international SOS Clinic, Hanoi Family Medical Practice and Hanoi French Hospital are good facilities recommended:
- International SOS Clinic 31 Hai Ba Trung Tel: 84-4-39340666.
- French Hosptial No1 Phuong Mai street Tel: 84-4-35741111.
- Hanoi Family Medical Clinic 298 I Kim Ma Road Tel: +84-4-38430748.
- Peace Dental Clinic Dr. Frederick Abel at 51A Nguyen Khac Hieu Tel: 0904483511
It is highly recommended to bring sufficient amounts of prescription medications with you during your stay.
Vietnamese is written in a Roman-based script called quoc ngu. Since the Vietnamese language has six different tomes, it is difficult for foreigners to speak. It is best to use business cards to reach your destination or use phrase book or a talking cards as a point and show device.
Vietnam in general is cash based economy. The currency used is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). It comes in denomination of VN 100; 200; 500; 1,000; 2,000; 5,000; 10,000;20,000; 50,000;100,000; 200,000 and 500,000. Since a VND 50,000 note is worth just over $US 3, you have to carry quite a few notes. It is a good idea to keep plenty of 5,000d, 10,000d and 20,000d notes handy for cabs and snacks. USD are also accepted by some taxi drivers and vendors, but you will need VND for most transactions.
Tourists should be advised to check the notes carefully. The right notes should always have the imprinted words `Ngan hang nha nuoc Viet nam` (means `The State bank of Vietnam`) & the picture of the later president Ho Chi Minh. See the fake notes below for your information:
At this writing ( May 2011) the exchange rate is $1 US = VND 20,700 (Please check rate from VIETCOMBANK: http://www.vietcombank.com.vn/en/Exchange%20Rate.asp
Currency exchange and ATMs
Major foreign currencies are exchangeable at major banks, at your hotel and at ATM machines. ATM machines (such as HSBC and ANZ) are available and a good way to get VND
While credit cards are accepted at major hotels, they are not widely used for shopping or other transactions and a surcharge of 2-4% may be applied to each transaction.
Although relatively, Hanoi is not crime free. Theft and personal violence is a reality in any large city and normally safety precautions are necessary. Be aware of your environment and minimize the amount of cash, credit cards, jewelry and other valuables and you carry with you, particularly in crowded markets and when traveling on public transportation.
Traffic is heavy and chaotic in Hanoi with many motorbikes and few traffic lights.
When crossing streets start walking at a slow pace and continue at the same pace until you reach the other side. Drivers will judge your speed and go around you. Do not go backward or turn around quickly. These actions may confuse drivers and can cause accidents.
Warning and Tip for travelers in Hanoi
1. Taxi airport scams.
While at the airport, hotel staff is hanging up the pick up sign with our guest’s name, then some taxi drivers try to copy each name and write in his paper, and then quickly stand far in front of our staff.
2. On the way, he says that Trung Nam Hai Hotel are booked out so he will take you straight away to other hotels called “sisters or friends of Trung Nam Hai Hotel”.
Please don’t believe in him. What you should do is to come into our hotel with correct address mentioned above to meet the front desk receptionist’s (Manager). and You will be fine
3. Trying to take your money every time you pass bridges and blame it is toll fees.
Don’t pay him anything as the toll fee is included in the price and should be paid when you are inside of our hotel (to make sure you pay the accurate amount as our previous guests have been paid instead of 250.000 VND to 2.500.000 VND => 10 times higher because of many number 0 confusion).
4. Taxi driver’s drop you off in front of our hotel and another person quickly run out from our hotel to you and say “TRUNG NAM HAI HOTEL is full please follow him to 2nd hotel”.
Please don’t believe in him, again you should go into the hotel to meet our staff at the front desk.
Problems Encountered By Visitors To Hanoi,Vietnam
Some written information below could be useful for travelers who visit Hanoi for the first time.
@ Problem 1: A worry of lack information about Vietnam before entering the country.
@ Solution 1: On Airlines that you are boarding, it is easy to find brochures, articles and books about Vietnam left in every seat pockets. These can also be found at the ground of airport check out point.
@ Problem 2: which transportation should be taken at the airport to the hotel and what should be the correct cost including toll fees?
@ Solution 2: Noi Bai Airport Taxi is a reliable company and cost 17 USD/private 4 seat Car (cost applied in 2012). You will pay until you go to the hotel that you booked to make sure you pay the correct amount.
@ Problem 3: The denomination VND has so many zero (0). Sometimes makes you confused, when you buy things. Local people pretend to help you with counting money. And they often take more for what you should pay for example, 10.000 VND they can take 100.000 VND
@ Solution 3: Check carefully the number zero in each notes . If you encounter trouble with local outside, donot hesitate to call hotel staff or policeman.
@ Problem 4: When you are walking on the street, many postcard sellers come to you and try to sell. It costs normally 8.000 VND, they end up taking 80.000 VND
@ Solution 4: Travelers should be encouraged to purchase cards, maps and other such items from bookshops rather than street vendors.
@ Problem 5: frequent visitors who find a hotel on their own but on the way back to the hotel, a person follow him/her to the hotel to claim for commission.
@Solution 5: Receptionist of the hotel will ask you whether you indeed need help from him/her.