Guide to Hanoi Public Transportation

Vietnam Visa | February 26, 2019

Guide to Hanoi Public Transportation

Are you planning a trip to the capital of Vietnam? Hanoi is a remarkable city loaded with historical architecture and a rich cultural blend of Southeast Asian, French, and Chinese influences. This fascinating and exciting city is a hotspot for travelers, but knowing how to get around the city is crucial for an enjoyable and memorable trip.

Once you’ve successfully obtained your travel visa for Vietnam, we strongly recommend you start planning your Hanoi transportation from one destination to the next. The narrow streets of this vibrant city are widely considered to be chaotic and even dangerous if you’re not paying close attention to your surroundings. The roads are congested with merchants selling goods, stop-and-go buses, large trucks, cars, and perhaps more motorcycles and bicycles than you’ve ever seen in one place.

Traffic lights are relatively new to Hanoi, and you’ll find that many drivers take the traffic light signals as more of a suggestion than a rule. Bikes and motorcycles weave through bumper to bumper traffic, sometimes even moving against the grain in the opposite direction.

All this means that in Hanoi public transport is recommended for foreign travelers. Use our guide to the Hanoi public transport system so you can spend more time enjoying the sites and less time trying to get to them.

The Bus

Riding a bus in Hanoi is a great way to experience the city like a local with the locals. The price is very affordable and the many bus stops that line the streets make this a convenient and simple option for getting around Vietnam. Buses typically run from 5:00am to 9:00pm, so if you’re looking for a taste of local nightlife, you’ll need to arrange for a different ride back to your hotel. It should also be mentioned that most buses will be very crowded, if not completely full, during the following times of the day:

  • 6:30 am to 8:00 am
  • 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm

The Traditional Taxi

Taking a taxi cab in Hanoi is the best way to get around for groups and families who’d like to ride together. Because the capital of Vietnam attracts a high volume of tourists, the taxi drivers in the city are reasonably friendly and often charge a very fair price for the ride. Some drivers charge by the mile using a meter, while others prefer to negotiate the pay.

If you plan to travel by taxi, make sure to carry small bills. It’s not uncommon for taxi drivers to claim they don’t have change, so if you don’t want to tip way more than the customary amount, it’s up to you to carry small bills.

Bicycle Taxis

If you’ve never taken a bicycle taxi (otherwise known as a Cyclo) then you may want to add it to your agenda simply for the unique experience of being peddled through the exciting streets of Hanoi. The cost of a Cyclo is negotiated before the ride and although this mode of transportation is often slower than the traditional taxi cab, it’s also a very safe way to get around as you’re less likely to get in a high-speed accident.

Motorcycle Taxi

A motorcycle taxi is locally referred to as a Xe Om (pronounced seh-ohm). While the ride is bound to be unique and exhilarating, you should know that this is by far the most dangerous way to get around the city. More often than not, you will not be provided with a helmet to wear while your driver weaves in and out of moving traffic at high speeds. Xe om drivers can be identified by a green pith helmet.

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