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Hanoi

Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in hanoi

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Hoan Kiem Lake and the center of Hanoi, 1999Hoan Kiem Lake and the center of Hanoi, 1999
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Hoan Kiem Lake and the center of Hanoi, 1999

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is a fascinating blend of east and west, with Chinese influence from centuries of dominance, and French design from its colonial past. It is largely unspoiled by modern architecture of the 1970s and 80s, and is now going through a modernization that is making it a rising star in Southeast Asia.

Hoan Kiem Lake, HanoiHoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi
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Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi

hanoi Travel Guide :

Hanoi

Understand

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam, and the home base of the Communist government during the Vietnam War, or the war for independence. Because of this, the city hosts many government institutions, museums and memorials.

Hanoi has retained much of its older colonial charm because it was in conflict during most of the worldwide modern architecture movement. For that reason, few buildings in the city center area are higher than five stories.

Hanoi

Get in

Hanoi

By plane

Vietnam has two air carriers - Vietnam Airlines and the newer and smaller Pacific Airlines. Most folks will arrive at the international airport Noi Bai 35 km (45-60min) north of the city. You can hire taxis into the downtown Hanoi or hop on a shuttle-bus. Either transport might drop you in front of a hotel of their choice so the driver can collect a commission from the owner. If you insist on being taken to another place they should ususally give in.

You can take public buses number 07 and 17 to the city center from Noi Bai airport. They cost 5000 VDN and will take about 1 hour. Bus number 07 crosses Thang Long bridge and takes you to Daewoo hotel on the western part of Hanoi. Bus number 17 crosses Chuong Duong bridge and takes you close to the old quarter.

Shuttle-buses to the Airport depart opposite the Vietnam Airlines Office on Quang Trung (see below). Tickets cost ~US$2 and are sold in the building in front of which the vans are parked.

Taxis from the city centre to Noi Bai Airport cost a fixed price of about 10 US$

At Noi Bai Airport you will have to pay a service charge of 14 US$ if you are on an international flight.

Any travel-agent will book flights for you, but usually will charge a service fee. Given the english-speaking, friendly and capable personnel of the airline offices, you might just as well book directly there:

  • Vietnam Airlines, 25 Tràng Thi (corner of Quang Trung , Tel (84-4)9349660, Fax (84-4)9349620
  • Pacific Airlines, Tel (84-4) 9550550
Hanoi

By train

Trains arrive at the main Hanoi train station (Ga Hang Co, 120 Le Duan, T 825 3949) daily from cities in the south including Hue and Nha Trang. The Reunification Express goes all the way to Ho Chi Minh City though there is very little 'express' about it.

There are train services to the north-west (including Kunming in China and Lao CaiLao Cai from where you reach Sapa). To board trains bound for these destinations, you have to enter the railway station compound through the "backdoor" at Tran Quy Cap station. Just tell your driver which destination your train is heading to.

However, tickets for all destinations are sold in the main station, though there are two counter halls, north and south, serving the respective destinations. Buy your tickets as early as possible, since especially sleeper-tickets can be sold out several days in advance. If you can't get a ticket anymore, try a travel-agent who still might have stocks.

Hanoi

By car

you can take the open bus with the good price at Hochiminh city,Phan Thiet , Nhatrang ,Hue ,Danang,...the tousist city in vietnam ,the price from 25 $ down to 8 $ ,depend on where you your stay , easy with plenty of open tour from saigon enjoy your vietnam trip

Hanoi

By boat

Hanoi

Get around

Taxicabs are the most popular way to get around long distances, though the cyclos, or pedicabs, are a cheap and fun way to get around for shorter distances. A warning about taxicabs is that fares are not consistent. There are several different cab companies, and each has different starting fares and per kilometer rates. For lone travellers, rides on the back of motorcycles are popular too.

Beware of a scam among taxicabs picking up passengers at the airport: some taxi drivers are given kickbacks by certain hotels in return for bringing customers to them, and will either claim that your hotel is closed or full or simply bring you to the wrong hotel and play dumb on arrival. If this happens to you, be firm and insist on being taken to your actual destination. (Having the hotel's name and address written down clearly on paper with the proper Vietnamese diacritical marks can help here.) Under no circumstances allow the hotel's bellhops to remove your luggage from the taxi until you are sure you're at the right hotel: the taxi driver might well zoom off while you are busy trying to get your luggage back! Airport cabs are all a flat US$10 fare.

Some meter taxi owners in Hanoi will attempt to negotiate a flat fee in advance rather than use the meter: unless you are familiar with distances and fares in the city it is probably much safer to insist on an on-meter ride. If the driver refuses to use the meter, pretending to pick up your bags and go in search of another cab will almost certainly change his mind: don't sweat it, it's all part of the expected negotiation protocol.

Hanoi

See

Hanoi

Museums

  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. The city down south may have his name, but only Hanoi has the man himself. No cameras, talking, short pants, or other signs of disrespect allowed while viewing. Closed afternoons, Mondays, and Fridays. Besides the grand Ba Dinh Square, there are several other historic buildings in the vicinity, including the charming One-Pillar Pagoda.
  • Fine Arts Museum (B?o Tàng M? Thu?t), 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc St.
  • Temple of Literature (V?n Mi?u), on Quoc Tu Giam St., south of the Mausoleum. The Temple of Literature was founded in 1070 and established as the country's first university six years later. The courtyard features numerous stone tablets, each mounted on the back of a tortoise, with the names of graduates.
  • Army Museum (B?o Tàng Quân ??i), Dien Bien Phu St. Vietnam's military history extends back some two millennia, and this museum covers it. On display outside are the ubiquitous MiG-21 jet fighter and T-54 tank.
  • Air Force Museum (B?o Tàng Không Quân), Truong Chinh St. (Southwest of center, take a taxi). There's a decent outdoor collection of Soviet-built MiG fighters, a huge Mi-6 helicopter, and other aircraft; unfortunately they've been exposed to the elements for some time and local kids climb over them.
Hanoi

Parks

  • Hoan Kiem Lake is a pleasant park in the center of town. It's the local residents' favorite leisure spot and a great place to watch locals doing early-morning tai chi. Hoan Kiem means "returned sword", and the name comes from a legend in which King Le Loi had a magical sword which he used to drive back the Chinese. While boating on the lake one day, he encountered a giant turtle, who grabbed the sword and carried it down to the depths, returning it to the gods from whom it had come. The giant turtles still reportedly inhabit the lake, and were last seen in 1998.
  • Ho Tay, or "West Lake", is northwest of the city, and has become a popular site for gaudy villas owned by the well-to-do.
Hanoi

Wartime sites

  • Hoa Lo Prison ("The Hanoi Hilton"), Hai Ba Trung St. Originally built by the French and later used to hold captured U.S. airmen, little remains of the structure besides the "Maison Centrale" gate and a small museum. Most of it has made way for a new high-rise building, though it's not the new, real Hilton hotel -- even for Vietnam that would be a bit too ironic.
  • B-52 Lake. Until December 19, 1972, this was just a small brackish pond just off Hoang Hoa Tam Street, about 1km west of the mausoleum. On that day, in a twisted retelling of the Hoan Kiem legend (see above), Vietnamese anti-aircraft guns (possibly with help of flying turtles) retook the enemy's eight-engined, 100-ton sword and sent it, too, to the shallow bottom of the lake, where it remains today.
  • Downed Aircraft Memorial. Along Thanh Nien Street on Truc Bac lake there is a stone plaque commemorating the shooting down of a U.S. Navy (not "USAF" as depicted) aircraft in 1967. Peruse the Vietnamese script and you can pick out the name of John McCain, one of the airmen.
Hanoi

Do

Hanoi

Learn

Hanoi

Work

Hanoi

Buy

Hanoi is a shoppers paradise for silk, lacquerware, wood, custom tailoring and other Asian inspired design. The bargains are among the best in Asia, being even better than other well-known shopping havens such as Bangkok, Thailand.

The Old Quarter, north of Hoan Kiem Lake, is where artisans and craftsmen have set up shop for generations, and each street is named after the item traditionally sold there.

In the quarter between Hoan Kiem Lake and the Cathedral you'll find numerous shops selling the same selection but of better quality. Vendors know about that, so prices are higher than in the Old Quarter. The same applies to several shops selling overpriced propaganda-related artifacts like original paintings or posters, t-shirts and coffee-mugs. Shops can sometimes arrange shipment to overseas destinations, and even with the added costs you'll still have a bargain.

There are two major shopping malls in Hanoi, Trang tien Plaza and the new-built Vincom City Towers. Both located in the Hoan Kiem District.

Hanoi

Eat

A local delicacy in the Hanoi area is dog meat (Vietnamese: th?t chó), which is especially popular in the winter. There are a number of restaurants along the Red River that specialize in it. Another exotic regional taste is ca cuong, an extract from the belostomatid, or giant water bug. Just a few drops are added to noodles for the unique aroma.

On Tô Tich, a small street connecting Hang Quat and Hang Gai, you can help yourself to a refreshing Sinh T? at one of the stalls (~VND7000).

Hanoi

Budget

Hanoi

Mid-range

  • Cha Ca La Vong (14 Cha Ca St., also 107 Nguyen Truong To St.) - This establishment is so famous, the street is named after it, instead of the other way around. There's only one dish on the menu, fried fish, but they've been serving it for five generations.
  • Little Hanoi 2 very good for western breakfast and sandwiches
  • Tamarind Cafe vegetarian dishes and alot of fresh juices- Ma May 80, Old Quater
  • Mocca Cafe
  • Little Hanoi vietnamese food
Hanoi

Splurges

The Press club restaurant

Hanoi

Drink

Bia H?i is abundant in the streets of the Old Quarter. At the crossing of Ta Hien and Luong Ngoc Quyen three ventures fill up with travellers in the evenings, but you just have to take it to some sidestreets to get more local atmosphere.

  • Green Lake (Ho Guom Xanh) 32 Le Thai To. Crowded bar with weekly performances by popular local singers. A place for the definitive vietnamese entertainment scene.
  • Culi Cafe 40 L??ng Ng?c Quy?n, (84-04)9262241, culicafe@wideeyedtours.com, http://www.wideeyedtours.com. If you have come to Vietnam to feel as if you haven't left your hometown or just need a break from Bia Hoi, this Kiwi-run Bar might be an option. There's an air-conditioned lounge upstairs and occasionally sports are being screened in the bar downstairs.
(Information as of 2 July 2005)
  • Bar Barracuda To 4A, Phuc Tan, (04)9323244, hanoi_barracuda@hotmail.com is reportedly the most fashionable hang-out for expats in town. They offer live-music, a beer garden, sports bar and dancing area.
(Information as of 2 July 2005)
  • Le Maquis is a small bar on the norther end of Ta Hien. It's more like a loud rock-music binge and smoke pub than a stylish lounge, but there's usually a happy crowd until late and the place has an authentic feel.
(Information as of 2 July 2005)
Hanoi

Sleep

Hanoi hotel scams

Though most of the staff is helpful and trustworthy, there are some black sheep around. Touts will try to lure you into a hotel. If you decide to go, be sure to have them pay the transport, and don't hesitate to leave if you do not like the place. Also do not believe anybody if they tell you that the hotel you wanted to go to is "full". They just want to take you to the place that pays commission to them. Shop around town to have an understanding of prices before arranging tickets or tours through the hotel's own agency, for overcharging is common and excessive. Be aware that unscrupulous hotels will happily promise deals that are poorly explained till you have already paid for the room - for example 'daily free water and fruit' that is only free on the first day. Thien Tan Hotel in the Old Quarter indulges in this scam. Government-run hotels sometimes only tell you about an extra "tax" that is added to the room-price when you are about to settle the bill at the end of your departure.

Hanoi

Budget

  • Ocean Star Hotel, 43 Bat Su Street, T: 844-9232111, oceanstarhotel@hotmail.com , http://www.backpackershotel.com.vn is in a street in the Old Quarter and just opened in january 2006. It offers friendly rooms from US$6 to US$20 with TV, fan, air-con, hot shower and breakfast. Internet access is included as well. It not only serves as an hotel but also a tour opeartor.
(Information as of 11th January 2006)
  • Van Xuan 2 Hotel, 46 Luong Ngộc Quyến, T: 844-8256948, F:-8246475, vanxuan2@yahoo.com, http://www.vanxuanhotels.com is in a street in the Old Town that thanks to a curb doesn't see as much through-traffic and thus is more quiet than others. It offers friendly rooms from US$6 to US$15 with TV, fan, air-con, hot shower and optional breakfast. Internet access is included in some room fares. The friendly staff can help with arranging tours and other touristical needs.
(Information as of 2 July 2005)
Hanoi

Mid-range

  • Dan Chu Hotel, 29 Trang Tien (near Hoan Kiem Lake), T:8 254 937 F:8 266 786, danchu@hn.vnn.vn, http://www.danchuhotel.com. Classical French architecture from the late 1800s. US$40 for standard room to US$90 for signature suite.
Hanoi

Splurge

Hanoi

Contact

Hanoi

Phone

Vietnam code +84 Hanoi code: 4 The local number alway have sequence of seven numbers. There are many mobile network with diference code: vinaphone: 91 mobilefone: 90 Viettel: 98 sphone: 95

Hanoi

Internet

There are numerous internet-cafes all over the city. If you look around, you should be able to find rates as low as 3000 VND/h.

(Information as of 2 July 2005)
Hanoi

Stay safe

Hanoi

Get out

  • The Perfume Pagoda is a Buddhist pilgrimage site about 60km southwest of Hanoi. An excursion involves a boat trip, hiking up a mountain, and visiting various temples and grottoes. A visit takes a full day. Tours can usually be arranged at hotels.

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