Hanoi is Vietnam's capital and the largest city in Northern Vietnam, with a population of over eight million people. With so many places to see and things to do, it can be difficult for visitors to plan their visit without first getting an idea of the different aspects of the city and the best way to get around.

Hanoi has a well-developed public transportation system, but it also has plenty of taxis and private vehicles for hire to get around Vietnam's modern and traditional culture capital.

Hanoi is also an amazing base for overnight trips to famous destinations such as the mountain town of Sapa, and the UNESCO Heritage Site of Halong Bay.

This article will describe how to take advantage of these options and explore Hanoi like a local!

Hanoi
The iconic red bridge in Hanoi, Vietnam // Photo by Melinda Nagy / Shutterstock

Types of transportation used in Hanoi

  • Planes - Vietnam has a good network of domestic flights, with several carriers providing regular and frequent services between other cities and provinces and Hanoi.
  • Trains - A train network connects Hanoi to other cities.
  • Buses - bus travel is a popular and affordable way to get to Hanoi, with bus services available from most major towns and cities.
  • Coaches - There are a number of long-distance coaches which provide a comfortable and affordable way to travel from Hanoi to Vietnam's other places.
  • Motorbikes - Hiring a motorbike is a great way to explore Hanoi on your own schedule.
  • Cars - Car rental with a private driver is available in most of Vietnam's big cities, especially Hanoi
  • Taxis - In most urban areas, you can get a metered taxi or a private hire taxi. In either type of taxi, you need to negotiate the fee with the taxi drivers.
  • Grab/Gojek/Be: Renting a ride with Grab, Gojek, or Be, is the best and most convenient way to travel around Hanoi. Just like Uber, the price is on the app so you never have to worry about having to pay more than you should!
The building is known as Hàm Cá Mập (Shark Jaw)
The street of Shark Jaw Hoan Kiem // Photo by NguyenQuocThang / Shutterstock

How To Get To Hanoi

Getting to Hanoi by Plane

Hanoi international airport allows fairly easy and cheap air travel to Hanoi. The airport is very modern and offers great facilities duty-free shopping, restaurants, duty-free international shopping stores, high-quality airport food stalls, etc.

Best Vietnamese plane ticket booking sites

Vietnam airlines - As the only Government-owned airline, Vietnam Airlines flights are likely to be the most reliable. International and domestic tickets are available to arrive at Hanoi Noi Bai airport.

Viet jet air - Viet jet is Vietnam's first low-cost airline and offers some of the cheapest flights.

Jetstar Pacific - Jetstar is a subsidiary of Qantas, one of Australia's largest airlines, and operate within Vietnam too.

Bamboo Airlines - A private airline that offers budget flights domestically and from abroad to Hanoi.

Airplane airbus A320 of Bamboo Airways flying
Airplane airbus A320 of Bamboo Airways flying // Photo by Huy Thoai / Shutterstock

Plane ticket prices to Hanoi

Travelling domestically by plane is very cost-effective with most routes priced up to only $50-100 for a one-way ticket.

Getting to Hanoi by train

Train travel can be used to arrive in Hanoi from major cities such as Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnamese trains are generally reliable and comfortable.

Hanoi train station

The Hanoi train station is the main railway station in Hanoi, Vietnam. It is located at 120 Lê Duẩn; Hoàn Kiếm District. The station serves both the North-South Railway and the East-West Railway.

Train travel in Vietnam is very popular with tourists and locals alike. There are three different classes of travel - soft sleeper, hard sleeper and sitting - as well as a variety of food options available onboard,.

Best Hanoi train ticket booking sites

Bao Lau - an efficient website that details seat and sleeper-berth availability. Bao Lau also accepts international cards with a 40,000d ($2) commission per ticket. E-tickets are emailed to you.

DSVN - The official booking site for train tickets on domestic routes. Tickets can be bought via payment gateway, e-wallet, banking app, or reserved online and paid for with cash in a train station.

12go.Asia - As an international provider of all travel services, 12go offer price comparison and online ticketing for a number of train journey services in Vietnam.

Hanoi train ticket prices

Train travel from Ho Chi Minh City is more expensive than air travel, though the experience of a few days on a train is unforgettable. A ticket for the Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi train costs $90 depending on the train type and provider. While tickets from Danang cost up to $40

How To Get Around In Hanoi

From Noi Bai International Airport To Hanoi's Old Quarter

If you go to Hanoi by plane, before getting to Hanoi, you need to first land at Noi Bai International Airport, which is about 40 minutes drive from the Hanoi city center.

To get from Noi Bai Airport to Hanoi city, travelers can take a bus, minibus, taxi, or hotel airport transfer.

Inside the terminal, you may be approached by "caring" individuals who ask if you require a taxi. You should kindly decline and hire a cab from the authorized location. Another alternative is to download the Grab app to summon either a taxi or a hired car to pick you up at the arrivals area.

Scooter rental (Moped)

The most common Hanoi transportation is "xe máy" - scooters, as anyone visiting the city would undoubtedly notice. Recent statistics show that there are approximately 6.1 million scooters in Hanoi. It is the quickest and most affordable method to travel throughout the city.

Take note: you'll need to get a local driving license before you can rent a motorbike or a car in Vietnam: visit the Hanoi Department of Public Works and Transportation to get one. Driving without a license is illegal but this is a law that is not always enforced.

Scooter for rent
Scooter for rent // Photo by DAMRONG RATTANAPONG / Shutterstock

Best Hanoi motorbike rental companies

RentABike

RentABike is a family-run business that specialises in long-term rentals to expats living in Hanoi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City.

They provide a variety of automatic and semi-automatic Yamaha and Honda scooters in the 100cc-135cc range, with the most affordable costing $7 per day for driving around town.

The average price of a long-term rental in Hanoi is between $40 and $85 per month if you intend on staying in and around the city (they also have branches in Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City).

Address: 15a Ng. 12 Đ. Đặng Thai Mai, Quảng An, Tây Hồ, Hà Nội

Tigit Motorbikes

With offices in HCM, Danang, Hanoi, and Dalat, Tigit offers simple pick-up and drop-off bike rental services between cities.

It's expected to be somewhere between $5 and $7 a day and to leave a deposit and/or your passport.

For expats looking to rent a motorbike/scooter on a monthly basis for living and working in Vietnam. You can check the following monthly rental page, the price should be from $50-$100 a month.

Address: 75 alley 173 hoang hoa tham street, Ngoc Ha ward, Ba Dinh district

Hanoi motorbike tour packages

Tour companies such as vietnammotorbiketoursclub.com help you explore Vietnam at your own pace. Motorbike tour prices depend on the size of the group but can cost anywhere from $100 to $500 per person per day including food and accommodation.

Bus

Hanoi public bus system in Hanoi is frequent and extensive, with air-conditioned buses operating from 6am to around 11pm on all routes. These buses are great for exploring short distances, though calling a taxi is often easier.

Most of the public transport are similar in design, so it should be easy for you to find your way - just look for the destination name written on or next to the front windscreen. Hanoi buses are decked out in red, white and yellow, so it should be easy to notice them!

There are also many bus routes heading from Hanoi to neighboring provinces (Lang Son, Bac Kan, Cao Bang, Quang Ninh) and to other major cities (HCM, Da Nang, Quy Nhon). Though we do not recommend using local buses to travel long distances unless you book a sleeper bus.

Luggage of a traveller
Luggage of a traveller at bus stop with the bus on background // Photo by Vietnam Stock Images / Shutterstock

Important bus routes in Hanoi:

#07 and #17

The Noi Bai International Airport, which is the primary gateway to Vietnam's North, serves as a transportation interchange for buses traveling to other parts of the country.

The #7 bus will travel across the Thang Long Bridge and go to Cau Giay, whereas the #17 buses will pass through Chuong Duong Bridge to Hoan Kiem lake - one of Hanoi's most famous attractions in the old quarter.

#33 or #02

These local buses will bring you to the area near Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and from those areas, you can wander along the tree-filled boulevards like Dien Bien Phu or Le Hong Phong, before heading to the Ho Chi Minh Complex.

Hanoi taxi services

Taxis are quite popular in Hanoi, but also quite expensive when compared to other options.

Some taxis don't have a meter and the price is usually higher. If you have to choose those, remember to negotiate the price with the driver before getting in, and when you attempt Hanoi's chaotic traffic during rush hour, it is usually worth double-checking that you are not being ripped off once you arrive at your destination!

Getting a Hanoi cab is very easy as there are many around the city streets at popular tourist sites like Hoan Kiem Lake, The Old Quarter, Hanoi Train station (Ga Hanoi), Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and The Literature Temple.

Reputable taxis can be booked from any hotel front desk and transportation terminals.

Reputable taxi companies in Hanoi

1. Mai Linh Taxi

More expensive than other taxi services as it's also one of the most reputable taxi companies for their quality, Mai Linh Taxi drivers are available any time you want around Hoan Kiem lake. The color of the cars are green and the taxi costs from 13-17k VND per kilometer (around $0.70)

A Mai Linh Hyundai i10 green taxi cab
A Mai Linh Hyundai i10 green taxi cab on a street of Hanoi // Photo by Piranhi / Shutterstock 

2. Taxi Group

The 2nd on the list is Taxi Group. Their fleet is painted in white, the drivers are quite friendly with customers, and the price is not too expensive for a 7 seat car. 

You can easily find them in Hanoi's city center as they mainly operate there. Or, you can call them (024 3851 5151).

Hanoi's Online Ride-hailing Services

Taxis, both car, and motorbike varieties are easy to book from apps. Using a credit card or cash, you simply download the app, enter your pick-up location and drop-off location, wait for your driver to arrive, and get from A to B without worrying about a meter.

Drivers of motorcycle taxis usually wait around popular parts of the city, particularly nearby hotels, shopping streets, and tourist attractions, so if you are at those places, you don't have to wait long.

Here are some of the most popular services and apps.

Grab

Grab Bike and Grab Car is a motorcycle taxi and private car booking service that uses modern technology to offer much better rates than traditional taxis, as well as food delivery services. These motorcycle taxis can be found everywhere, from the Old Quarter to the West lake.

Grab driver
Grab driver on the streets of Vietnam // Photo by filedIMAGE / Shutterstock

Gojek

Gojek is an Indonesian-based company that has recently expanded into Vietnam to compete with Grab. It is a motorbike taxi service but also offers other services such as food delivery.

Travelling around Hanoi by cyclos (Hanoi's bicycle rickshaws)

Motorbike taxis are popular in Vietnam, but there are novelty versions of them available too. These include bicycle taxis, pousse-pousse (bicycles pulled along by locals), and cyclo (a bike with a sidecar that is push pedaled).

Some tourists prefer walking, but the perspective you get from a cyclo ride is worth seeing — plus it’s far easier to look around the Old Quarter's narrow streets and take photos if you’re not watching where you’re walking the whole time.

Where can you get a cyclo? The simple answer is everywhere there are tourists. Most cyclo drivers speak English so you don't need to worry. A reasonable price is 100,000 VND for one person for one hour (You may need to bargain with the cyclo driver to get a reasonable price). 

Cyclo (pedicab) driver wears conical hat on Hanoi street
Cyclo (pedicab) driver wears conical hat on Hanoi street // Photo by Viet Nam Stock Image / Shutterstock

Traveling To Hanoi Is A Trip You Won't Regret

Hanoi is not just the capital city of Vietnam, it's the gateway to countless experiences ranging from discovering cultural heritages to setting off on a number of amazing Hanoi day trips.

If you are keen to start your Vietnamese adventure, the first step is to read our guide to the best places in Vietnam before you go!