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James Sutton

Travelled to 9 countries / regions

Written 10 briefs
Was in Hanoi in September 2018

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Asia > Vietnam > Hanoi > Useful Info
Submitted on Oct 18, 2018 Useful Info

Best ways to get around Hanoi

  • I found the best way to get around Hanoi as a tourist was to use the Grab app, which is a Singapore-based company similar to Uber and Lyft
  • Best option is Grab Bike, where you ride on the back of a scooter. This option is frankly what I used most often because 1) wait time is usually less than 1-2 minutes because there are SO MANY scooters in Hanoi, 2) drive time is also shorter because scooters end up not getting stuck in traffic as much as cars during rush hour, and 3) it's cheap as hell, you can get across town for less than $2 (15000-25000 VND is the range of most rides I took). They provide you with a helmet, and the drivers are pretty skilled I never felt unsafe
  • Grab car is 1.5-2 times more expensive than Grab Bike but still very cheap all things considered, and is best for getting to and from the airport or if you have a lot of stuff on you. Be prepared to wait 5-10 minutes for the car to get to you
  • To use the Grab app, you should download it and set it up on your phone before you leave your country. The app requires text message-based phone number verification. It doesn't do email-based registration like other western apps
  • Other transportation tips for Hanoi
  • Walking is fine if you're just sticking around the Old Quarter / French Quarter area, which has a lot of the tourist sights anyway
  • But as a pedestrian you need to be very alert when crossing streets. During my 5 days in Hanoi I had 3-4 times when one of the scooters almost rammed into me when they were making turns at an intersection. Some of them ignored red light as well
  • Don't try to rent a car. Traffic in Hanoi is pure chaos. Scooters everywhere, trying to squeeze through every gap between cars, cutting cars off, running red lights, etc. Cars drive aggressively too
  • I saw a lot of foreigners driving scooters in Hanoi, so that's also an option if you're living there longer term. But I wouldn't recommend it if you're only in town for a few days. The traffic really is overwhelming for new arrivals and takes a steep learning curve to get used to