This page contains some tips and information I would recommend to visitors who come to Hanoi.
- This webpage can help you build a list of places you should visit when arriving to Hanoi and other places in Vietnam.
- The webpage also contains information about visa requirements for entering Vietnam. In particular, if you are invited by VIASM, you should also look at this page.
- You should prepare some cash in Vietnamese Dong (VND). You can withdraw cash from several ATMs accepting international cards (Visa, MasterCard, JCB, American Express, etc.) or exchange money via some currency exchange vendors inside the airport or around the city. (The 20,000 VND and 500,000 VND banknotes have similar colors. It is better to double-check before you pay.)
- Be careful, keep your money, your passports, your cards, your smartphones, and other important and valuable personal belongings close to you in public places, especially crowded ones.
- You should buy a Vietnamese prepaid SIM card to keep you connected everywhere in Vietnam (Roaming is usually expensive). It is easy to buy one at the airport. Some online shops are selling eSIM. (You can look them up online. I never used any of these shops.)
- The cheapest way to move around the city is by bus (I think).
- You can use Google Maps, Tìm Buýt, or BusMap to find the bus routes.
- You should get on the bus via the front door and get off via the back door. (Sometimes, people use both doors for both getting on and off.)
- After getting on, a collector will ask you to buy a bus ticket, and the price is usually from 7,000 to 15,000 VND for buses inside Hanoi and from 25,000 VND to 50,000 VND for buses heading to nearby provinces. Most buses are operating by Transerco and you need to pay for the ticket by cash. (If possible, you should pay with the banknotes of small denominations like 1,000 VND, 2,000 VND, 5,000 VND, 10,000 VND, or 20,000 VND.) On buses operating by VinBus, you can also pay by credit/debit cards. (I am not sure whether the cards issued in foreign countries can be used.) Remember to keep your purchased ticket during your ride.
- Usually, at a bus stop, you will easily find the information (bus number, first stop, last stop) about the buses passing through that stop (in Vietnamese, of course). (If you are not sure which bus stop is correct, use Google Maps to find and check your routes.)
- You can use Grab or Be not only for moving around (ride-hailing services, similar to Uber) but also for ordering foods and groceries, mobile top-up, and some other services. As far as I know, Grab accepts international cards and Be accepts Apple Pay. These services can also be used when moving between the airport and your hotel, or moving around the city if you don’t want to use buses. A new service is Xanh SM and you can pay by cash.
- You can also enjoy Hanoi Metro. Currently, I think only line 2A from Cat Linh to Ha Dong is active and the price for a ticket is from 8,000 VND to 15,000 VND, depending on your travel distance.
- The standard power voltage in Vietnam is 110/220V, and the frequency is 50Hz. Common power plugs types are A, C (which also works with E and F), and D.
- Vietnam does not have tipping culture and tips are not expected.