Transportation in Hanoi isn’t particularly foreigner friendly, but as taxis are very cheap, there’s not really a need to take public transportation when visiting anyways. In this transportation guide, we’ll explain what you need to know about getting around in town.
Many cities in South East Asia have a rather average transportation system. When it comes to public transportation, Vietnam is particularly problematic. There’s not a single metro system and no tram system either. In Hanoi, the only proper means of public transportation are buses. At least, there are a few commuter trains as well as a long distance train, which goes from the North to the South.
If you are thinking about public transportation in Hanoi, buses might be your first choice. You’ll see lots of colorful buses in the city, the ones with the red roof are the official ones. Sadly, there’s no timetable or anything, which makes taking a bus very difficult.
Routes aren’t posted anywhere online or at the stations either, which makes taking a bus an experience, especially as drivers hardly speak English. Prices are low, but taking a bus in Hanoi is not really an option for tourists.
My to go way for getting around in Hanoi would be taxis. Those are available throughout the city and are all metered. However, you should make sure that the meter is actually on, so you don’t end up overpaying. Taking taxis in Hanoi is really cheap, in fact there are not many cities, which are cheaper in the regard.
At the same time, it can take quite a while to get from A to B with a taxi as traffic can be a nightmare. Especially in the city center, the so-called Cyclos – a rickshaw of sorts – are the better option. These are very cheap, but you should be sure to prenegotiate the prices.
A great alternative to taking a taxi in Hanoi is choosing ride hailing apps like Grab or Uber. Not only are the rides even cheaper, but there’s also no need to negotiate prices as those are determined by the app. If you use this way of transportation, be sure to buy a SIM card at the airport upon arrival.