Welcome to historical Hanoi. Located in the North of the country, Vietnam’s capital city is known for its scooter-packed streets, charming French-colonial architecture, exquisite temples, and rich food culture. This enchanting city also offers luxurious accommodation and experiences at a budget price. What more could you ask for?
Low-cost carrier airlines such as Scoot and AirAsia provide the cheapest return flights to Hanoi and are available from as little as $400AUD departing from Perth, Melbourne, and Sydney. These flights have a stop in Kuala Lumpur.
The following airlines fly daily to Hanoi from Australia with a stop en route:
Vietnam Air is the only airline with direct flights to Hanoi, departing only from Sydney every Monday and Wednesday.
Peak tourism season is over two periods of time, from March to May and from October to December. The weather is pleasant in these months and you may find cheaper flights during this time too.
The remaining months of the year are considered off-peak season, with many hotels and boat cruises offering discounts as a result. Keep in mind from December to March it can be quite cold, while from July to September it is hot and humid with a high chance of showers.
All international flights arrive at Noi Bai international airport, located 35km from the heart of Hanoi. There are several transport options available from the airport:
Shuttle bus: The shuttle bus is a very affordable option, with prices of about $3AUD. The shuttles depart every hour and takes between 40 to 60 minutes.
Taxi: A taxi is the fastest way to get to Hanoi, with a trip time of about 30 minutes. Be cautious as you approach the taxi stands and avoid people who approach to “help” you, as taxis in Hanoi tend to attract dishonest vendors. Take a taxi with a fixed airport rate, about $25AUD, and have the address of your accommodation ready to show the driver.
Airport transfer: For peace of mind, have your hotel’s official airport transfer collect you from the airport. Your driver will collect you from the arrivals hall, simply look for a placard with your name. Although this might be the most expensive option, it is also the easiest.
Public buses: Taking the bus is by far the cheapest option, as a ticket should only cost about $0.50AUD. The buses operate from 5AM to 10PM, and the journey will take about 45 minutes. Look for route numbers 86, 7, and 17 for buses running between the airport and Hanoi. Keep in mind that the buses may be quite crowded.
Hanoi is simply oozing with charm, and no trip to this colonial Indochinese city would be complete without checking out the following places:
Old Quarter: The tapering streets of the Old Quarter will take you back in time, as far as 1,000 years ago, where each street was specialised by one specific trade. These days, the old quarter is an excellent place to base your stay, as it is within walking distance from many attractions such as the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, Dong Xuan Market, and the ancient Bach Ma Temple.
Hoan Kiem Lake: Enjoy a peaceful respite from the bustling city in this beautiful park where you'll see locals jogging and practising Tai Chi. Walk across the ornate red footbridge to Ngoc Son temple, a pagoda that dates back to the 18th century.
French Quarter: The French Quarter houses most of the city’s government buildings and affluent residential neighbourhoods. It’s where you can find gourmet French restaurants alongside galleries, bookshops, and boutique stores. Get your museum fix in this district at the Vietnamese Women’s Museum, the historic Hoa Lo Prison, and the National Museum of Vietnamese History. Don’t miss the Trang Tien Plaza, an upmarket French colonial shopping complex or the elegant Hanoi Opera House that dates back to 1911.
The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long: This was the ancient capital of Hanoi for eight centuries. Now this landmark is a UNESCO world heritage site of historical and cultural importance.
Spend a day getting lost in the narrow, one-way, side streets of Hanoi. Dodge the traffic and squeeze through the crowd of locals, while taking the time to stop and enjoy these essential Vietnamese dishes: