On New Realms Travel Blog

Things to know before coming to Hanoi, Vietnam

Temple-of-Literature-Hanoi

When we decided to start our backpacking trip in Asia, the first country we wanted to stop by was Thailand. But the process of obtaining a visa for Vietnam was much easier. So here we are, landing in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam.

Hanoi-park-structure-Vietnam

Things to know before coming to Hanoi, Vietnam

Here are some things we looked for before traveling to Vietnam, as well as the ones we learned once we arrived.

About Hanoi

Hanoi-street

Vietnam is one of the most developed countries from SE Asia. Its capital, Hanoi, it’s a city with 8 million people. Being under French domination for years, the architecture of the buildings is a mix between European and Asian styles. The traffic is insane or to quote someone, it’s an organized chaos. πŸ˜€

How to get Vietnamese Tourist Visa

There are different options to get a tourist visa to enter Vietnam but we chose to apply for the electronic one. It took us max 30 min to apply and 3 days to wait for the confirmation. No visit to the Embassy, no waiting lines πŸ™‚
So, what to do:
1. Prepare your passport;
2. Scan a passport photo or just make one with your mobile keeping the requested size;
3. Keep your card next to you to pay the visa fee: $25/person;
4. Visit the Vietnamese government website here;
5. Choose the e-visa option;
6. Fill the requested details, upload the documents and pay the tax;
7. Submit and wait for the answer.
We received an email in 3 days with our visas. Fast and easy, right?

***When we arrived in the airport we could skip the huge waiting line created for the visas. We went straight to the security check points with our passport and printed visa. πŸ™‚

How to arrive to Hanoi

Being the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi can be reached by bus, train or plane. The national train operator is Vietnam Railways and you can check their website here.

Noi Bai international airport is located 30 km far from the city and it has 2 terminals. Terminal 1 is used for domestic flights and Terminal 2 for international ones.

We came from Doha so we arrived in Terminal 2. At the exit point there are plenty of taxi drivers (remember that Asia is cheap so make sure you pay the right price). What it is not very well mentioned is that you can also take a public bus to reach Hanoi, which is what we did.

NoiBai-Hanoi-bus17

But this bus leaves from Terminal 1. Therefore, we took a free bus from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1 (5 minutes) and from there we looked for bus 17 that dropped us in the old city center of Hanoi. The trip was about 1 hour and we paid VND 9000/ person (less than €0.40/ person).

*** VND = Vietnamese dong

Exchange/ withdraw money

Before heading to Hanoi make sure you have enough cash (Vietnamese dong) for transport and maybe small shopping. When getting out of the airport there are about 10 shops that offer currency exchange as well as ATMs. Check the best exchange rate for you before proceeding forward.

The rate we found the best that day was €1 = VND 25085.

SIM CARD and DATA

If you don’t have a nice roaming option from your homey mobile operator make sure you buy a local SIM. Most of the hotels have WIFI but sometimes is for nothing. The speed connection is very low.

So, as a backup we bought a DATA sim from the airport (Vietnamese post office). We paid VND 150000 (about €6) for 9GB (MOBIFONE).

Accommodation in Hanoi

Don’t even think of not finding something nice here. And for all budget types.

Accommodation-Hanoi

What I suggest you is to book for 2 nights and then looking around for nicer or better located options. In case you really like the hotel or maybe the price, that you can make an exception πŸ˜›

Food in Hanoi

If you are not really stuck with the European food then I can assure you that Vietnamese cuisine is delicious.

Food-Hanoi
Stir-fried noodles with vegetables

So guys, these are the things we thought might be useful for you if you intend to visit Hanoi, Vietnam. If there is something else you would like to know, give us a message. πŸ™‚

Happy travels!

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