Vietnam has risen in popularity in the last decade, with many choosing to spend time travelling this unique country.
Whether you are looking to visit for a couple of days, or backpack around the country, here is our guide when starting in Hanoi.
Where is Hanoi?
Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam in South East Asia. Hanoi is in the northern region of Vietnam, on the Red River Delta. It is the second largest city in the Vietnam with a population estimated at around 7.7million.
How do I get to Hanoi from South Africa?
Flight time from South Africa to Hanoi is approximately 16 hours from Johannesburg or 19 hours from Cape Town. At the time of writing, there are no direct flights. Fingers crossed there is soon! Flights will often stop at Dubai, Doha, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Noi Bai Airport conveniently located just 10 minutes outside the city.
When is the best time to visit Hanoi?
The weather in Hanoi can be a little unpredictable and you shouldn’t expect to wear shorts and t-shirts all year round. The winter can get very chilly, and the summer very hot.
In the winter, around December to February, temperatures dip to around 10 degrees. This may not sound all that cold, but with the humidity, wind chill factor and lack of building insulations and heating, it can feel very cold indeed. That said, during this time rainfall is lower, skies are bright and a quitter time a of year in terms of tourists.
Temperatures are usually above 20 degrees Celsius during the months of April and May. This is a great time to visit as you are not dripping with sweat, but it is nice and warm. Drizzle may be present, so be prepared for that.
June to August are the hottest months at over 30 degrees Celsius with a high humidity. It can get quite uncomfortable. There will also be big downpours of rain.
October and November is similar to April and May, so another great time to get away.
Where to stay
Luckily for visitors, most of the attractions that you would like to visit are in one area, the Old Quarter. Here you will find markets, hotels, bars, restaurants, shopping and more.
The area of Tay Ho is where the expats live and where you will find fancy restaurants and foreign food.
The city is full of hostels for those who are packing in Vietnam, but you can also get some cheap prices on hotels and AirBnB.
How to get around?
Mopeds and motorbikes are very popular in Hanoi, but they are also very dangerous.
There are lots of local taxi’s, but many tourists report how they have been ripped off and instead recommend services like Uber as they are often cheaper and more reliable.
You can get around many places by foot, including exploring the Old Quarter. Crossing the road can be tricky due to the number of motorbikes and mopes so be extremely careful.
What to do in Hanoi?
The Old Quarter – Walk around the hectic streets of the Old Quarter and explore all the tiny shops!
Shopping – Make sure you have time to do a good bit of shopping! Buy yourself some new linen, wander the market stalls, pick yourself up some handmade crafts. There is so much on offer you will be stuck on what to take home with you! Also eat some fresh fruit (tip – only eat fruit you have peeled yourself).
Weekend night market – On the weekends you will find the busy market with lots of tiny vendors side by side. Here you will be able to find a mix of everything. Be wary of designer items, they are likely to be fake. Also make sure you haggle on the price!
Ta Hien Street – this street is also known as Beer Street and the main place to party, any night of the week!
Museums – from Vietnamese tribal history to an old prison, Vietnam has lots of history to explore and learn, so we recommend you visit some of their wonderful museums.
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