Hanoi Travel Guide

Hanoi is another major cosmopolitan city after Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) & is having the largest population after Ho Chi Minh. The city of Hanoi has its charm & the most famous place is the old quarters. Old quarters are flooded with tourists & is a shopping paradise. Old quarters is also the party center points with many clubs & pubs. Here is the guide to travel to Hanoi.


Beer Street

Visa:

As per the Vietnam tourism board, you require an invitation letter for entering Vietnam. I chose https://immigration.gov.vn/ for getting an invitation letter. You need to pay $25 for the letter & it takes max 3 days to get an letter from the embassy. The whole process is hassel free & can be done from the home.

How To Reach Hanoi:

Hanoi has the airport Noi Bai; which is connected directly or indirectly to the major cities. Recently Vietjet started direct flights to Hanoi from Mumbai, Delhi & Kolkata, which has significantly reduced the prices of the flights & time. One can book a cheap flight to Vietnam from India in under 15K INR if the offers are available. However, such prices come with the disclaimer of luggage. Usually, only 7kg is allowed in the cabin at such cheap prices.

Things To Do In Hanoi:

Hanoi is a cosmopolitan city & like any other city, there are only a few things to do in cities. However, the most common things that almost everyone does are as follows:
1. Halong Bay : By far the most attractive & most visited the place while staying in Hanoi is Halong Bay. Located roughly 2.5 hours drive from Hanoi, this place is worth a visit. The unique limestone rocks formed over thousands of years by water is one of the rare experiences one can do. Book a day tour, 1 night, or 2-night tour depending on the interest.
Halong Bay
2. Old Quarters: : Old Quarters are the go-to place in Hanoi. The narrow streets will give a glimpse of the Vietnamese lifestyle. People sitting on small stools across the lanes eating & drinking will please the eyes. Explore the streets on foot & cherish the living style of Vietnamese people.
Train Street Hanoi
3. Train Street:Lately, the train street has become famous for insta pics & reels. People sat either way of the train & experience a train passing by within an arm's distance. Check train timings with locals & arrive at the location a good half an hour earlier to grab the best seats.
4. Shopping:Vietnamese has a large variety of clothes & souvenirs at a very decent price. Thus, one can have a good time shopping for some stuff from here. Bags, jackets, sports wears, shoes, etc are worth buying here.
5. Hoan Kiem Lake:The pristine lake is a good hangout place in Hanoi. The lake perimeter is approx 1.7 Kms. People usually walk around the same & relax.
6. St. Joseph’s Cathedral:The impression of Notre Dam is one of the first structures built by the French. The place can be walked up to & is worthy of a pic. Visit during the night to enjoy the structure.
St Joseph Church Hanoi
7. Museums & Temples:Vietnam witnessed a brutal war a few decades back & still is reeling from the same. All the history is captured in the museum & worth a visit. Anyone interested in learning about the history of Vietnam can visit, "The National Museum Of Vietnamese History".

Is Hanoi Safe To Travel Solo:

Hanoi is extremely safe. Yet, the only thing one must be aware of is the snatching of mobile. So be mindful of the surroundings & prompt in actions.

How To Do Hanoi In Budget:

Hanoi is dearer compared to some of the other touristic places & it is possible to complete the city on a budget.

Accommodation:

The best way to reduce some costs is to book a hostel. There are plenty of good options available to choose from & most of the hostels will provide free beer hours & free walking tours. I stayed in Central backpackers hostel In Hanoi, which is one of the best in the business. A dorm bed for a day will cost around Rs 500.

Food:

There are many options available to eat & many places where one can enjoy Bahn Mi (a common sandwich). Bahn Mi was my go-to dish & is easily available. One can expect to spend 100 to 150 Rs eating on the street for one time meal. For the foodies, the option of Indian restaurants is aplenty.

Commutation:

Old quarters can be covered on the foot. However, if one is too tired of walking, the option of hiring Grab drivers is also available, they charge marginal but can be very effective in commuting. Also, metered taxis are available which start from 18,000 VND (approx Rs 60).

The expenses in Hanoi is pretty manageable, if a person wants; he or she can spend a day in Rs 2500. Considering, one will not spend lavishly on meals & drinks.

All the photos are clicked either by an iphone or GoPro.

Handy Resources:

Below are the few resources you should check before making an itinerary.

Agoda: Best place to book hotels of your liking. Agoda provides the best solution & great offer while booking a hotel.

Skyscanner: Skyscanner compares various sites & sort the flights based on the rates. A great way to check flight cost. Although the only drawback is that rates are flexible. Hence, the cost might change while you are making the payment.

Jetradar: Jetradar is a comparing site which is just like Skyscanner. But, is much more accurate & much more handy in use.

Booking: Best place to book hostel rooms. There are plenty of options available & with so many properties booking becomes much easier.

Couchsurfing: Best place to find free accommodation. It is as easy as filtering people & messaging. If you will get lucky you will find free accommodation in local resident house.

Travel Insurance: There are numerous options available to get one. So, you can choose anything which suits your requirement. Make sure you read the terms & conditions before buying one.