Hanoi Capital City- How to get there
Vietnam on arrival:
The 33 km ride into central Hanoi from Noi Bai airport takes 1 hour. An airport minibus service operates throughout the day. Tickets ($3) are on sale inside the airport building or on the bus, which drops you outside its main office on Hoan Kiem Lake. Airport taxis (04-8733333) now have a standard price of $10 for the ride into Hanoi. The taxis wait outside at the airport entrance. You can pay the fare in Dollars if you don't want to change money at the airport. There are some reception booths at the airport providing all travel service!
Note: no toll fee, road fee charged from airport to Hanoi and vice versa)
By road: Hanoi is 93km from Ninh Binh, 102km from Haiphong, 153km from Thanh Hoa, 175km from Halong, 474km from Dien Bien Phu, 658km from Hue, 763km from Danang, and 1,710km from Ho Chi Minh City.
By air: Noi Bai International Airport, over 35km from the city center, is one of the biggest airports of the country with various international and domestic routes. There are domestic flights from Hanoi to Danang, Dien Bien, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Nha Trang and international flights to many countries in over the world. Read more information at the website: www.vietnamairlines.com
By train: Hanoi Railway Station is Vietnam's main railway station. It is the starting point of five railway lines leading to almost every province in Vietnam.
Hanoi's train station is located 1km west of centre, on Le Duan Str. Trains from Ho Chi Minh City and the south or from China stop at the main station. However, trains from the east and north (Haiphong, Lang Son and Laocai) stop at the rear of the main station. You exit on a narrow street called Tran Quy Cap. Read more information at the Vietnam rail website: www.vr.com.vn
Hanoi's three public bus stations are located some way from the city centre, which means you have to catch a city bus, cyclo or xe om (motorcycle taxi) to get into the city. Long-distance buses from the south stop at Giap Bat station, services from the northeast (Haiphong, Bai Chay and Cao Bang) arrive at Gia Lam station and buses from the northwest (Son La, Mai Chau and Lao Cai) use Kim Ma station. Most tourist buses stop at the north end of Hoan Kiem Lake, near the Old Quarter.
Hanoi's central district is quite compact so walking is quite practical and the best way to explore the congested streets of the Old Quarter. You can take a cyclo ride or xe om for long trips.
Hanoi cyclos can take two people at a pinch. You can also hire a cyclo for the whole day, at around $1-2 per hour. Cyclos are banned from many roads in central Hanoi, notably around Hoan Kiem Lake, Dinh Tien Hoang and Le Thai To.
Xe Om - Om driver
Motorcycle taxis are the quickest and cheapest means of inner-city transport, but can be a little hair-raising at times. Xe om can be found almost anywhere in Hanoi. You should generally pay 50c for a ride across town. Longer journeys to the suburbs or Tay Ho (West Lake) will be slightly more.
Taxis wait outside the upmarket hotels and at the north end of Hoan Kiem Lake near the shopping center. Your hotel will be able to give you the telephone number of taxis services. Prices are metered in Dong, the meter reads in thousands so 25.00 on the meter means 25,000 Dong. Expect to pay $2 to $4 per trip.
Bicycle, Motorcycle and Car Rental
A bicycle is a fun way to get around Hanoi as well as being very practical. Prices are lowest in the Old Quarter and you can expect to pay around $1 per day, less for longer-term rentals. When leaving your bike on the street use one of the supervised bike parks.
Self-drive motorcycles are definitely worth considering if you are an experienced rider and will be going outside Hanoi. You can rent one through hotels or the travelers' cafes and the small tour agencies. Rental cost is around $6 to $8 per day.
All tour agencies will arrange car rental for day trips outside Hanoi. Prices average around $45 per day which includes the cost of the driver. Very few drivers speak English so you may also want to hire a guide for another $20 -25 a day.
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) - Getting There
Ho Chi Minh City is the main junction for trains, roads, water, and air transportation systems for domestic trips and for foreign destination.
- Upon arrival: The 7km ride into central Ho Chi Minh City from Tan Son Nhat airport takes 25-minutes and cost $4 by taxi. If you don't have much luggage you can also take one of the motorcycle taxis for around $3. You can pay the taxi fare in Dollars if you don't want to change money at the airport.
- Roads: Ho Chi Minh City is 1,730km from Hanoi, 99km from Tay Ninh, 30km from Bien Hoa (Dong Nai), 70km from My Tho, 125km from Vung Tau, 168km from Can Tho, 308km from Dalat, and 375km from Buon Ma Thuot. The City has National Highway 13 which connects Vietnam with the rest of Indochina.
- Train: Thong Nhat express train connects Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, vie many provinces in Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City's train station is located at Nguyen Thong in District 3. Trains from Hanoi and the north run from here. Visit the website for more information: www.vr.com.vn
- Air: Tan Son Nhat International Airport, 7km from center of city, is the biggest airport with many domestic and international routes. There are flights from Hanoi and Danang to Ho Chi Minh City and between the City to many regions as well a lot of countries on over the world. Visit the website for more information: www.vietnamairlines.com
Cholon bus station is the place to catch buses to Mytho and the towns in the Mekong Delta. Mien Tay station is about 10km west of the city centre is another place to catch buses to the Delta area and Ca Mau, Can Tho, Chau Doc, Long Xuyen and Rach Gia. For destinations north of Ho Chi Minh City you need to go to Mien Dong bus station in Binh Thahn District about 5km from the city centre.
Ho Chi Minh City is a large sprawling place so walking is not very practical except around District 1. For most trips you will need to take a taxi, cyclo or motorcycle taxi.
Cyclos are banned from 51 streets in central Ho Chi Minh City so you cannot always get to the exact address. However, most cyclo drivers will manage to get you close enough by using the side streets. Most trips will cost from 50c to $2 or you can hire a cyclo for about $1 to $1.50 per hour.
Motorcycle taxis are the quickest and cheapest means of inner-city transport, but can be a little hair-raising at times. Honda om can be found almost anywhere in Ho Chi Minh City.
Taxis wait outside the upmarket hotels and cruise around the city centre. Your hotel will be able to give you the telephone number of taxis services. Prices are metered in Dong, the meter reads in thousands so 25.00 on the meter means 25,000 Dong. Expect to pay $2 to $6 per trip.
Bicycle, Motorcycle and Car Rental
A bicycle is a fun way to get around the city as well as being very practical if a little slow. Expect to pay around $1 per day, less for longer-term rentals. When leaving your bike on the street use one of the supervised bike parks.
Self-drive motorcycles are definitely worth considering if you are an experienced rider and will be going outside the city. You can rent one through hotels or the travelers' cafes and the small tour agencies. Rental cost is around $6 to $8 per day.
All tour agencies will arrange car rental for day trips outside Ho Chi Minh City. Prices average around $30 per day which includes the cost of the driver.
If you want to see the city from Saigon river boats can be hired from $7 to $20 per hour depending on the size.