Noi Bai International Airport, simply known as Hanoi Airport, is the biggest airport in northern Vietnam serving the capital city of Hanoi. Officially opened in 2001, Hanoi Airport consists of two terminal buildings, with the new International Terminal 2 opened at the end of 2014. Terminal 1 operates only domestic flights, while the new Terminal 2 operates all international flights. Hanoi Airport is the hub of the national carrier, Vietnam Airlines, and serves over 13 million passengers every year. The airport has all the basic passenger amenities such as free wireless Internet, brand new airline lounges, ‘sleeping pods’ in Terminal 1 which can be pre-booked, and several food and shopping options. The currency used in Vietnam is the Vietnamese dong (VND).
Located approximately 45 km from the city center, travellers have several options when going to downtown Hanoi. Private buses, usually around 30,000 VND (HKD$11), are popular with the locals but will only leave once the bus is full. There are no fixed stops and the locals may not speak English, so your best bet is to have your hotel name and address written down and possible translated so they know where to drop you off. Jetstar and Vietnam Airlines both operate a coach transfer service for 20,000 to 30,000 VND, with the ride taking about 1 hour depending on the stops. Taxis in Vietnam are infamous for their hiked up prices, especially for foreigners, so another alternative would be to pre-book a private car or an airport pickup with your hotel. The cheapest option is the public bus – bus numbers 7 and 17 will travel from Hanoi Airport to the city and each ride costs just 5,000 VND. Once you reach the city, taxis are the easiest way to get around, but cyclos or pedicabs can be a cheap and quick way to travel around for short distances. Whichever way you travel, make sure that you keep an eye on the meter in case it is tampered, and always negotiate prices with drivers before getting in.
Hanoi, the capital and second largest city of Vietnam, has a cultural history that is a unique blend of East and West, combining traditional Sino-Vietnamese motifs with French flair. Its growing infrastructural boom and urbanization makes it one of the fastest growing cities in Southeast Asia but it has still retained its old-world charm. One of the most unique aspects of Vietnamese culture is its cuisine – why not join a food tasting tour to savour the full range of Vietnamese specialties and learn about local culture and culinary traditions? In addition, there are numerous architectural monuments harking back to its historical roots, such as the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Temple of Literature, or the Vietnamese Women’s Museum. Although a busy city, there are still opportunities to escape the hustle and bustle of city life by visiting one of their many parks, such as the Hoan Kiem Lake, Lenin Statue & Park, or the Ly Thai To Statue & Park. A perfect blend of tradition and modernity, Hanoi is a holiday destination for anyone!
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