Hanoi Travel Information

1. Hanoi Nightlife:
The nightlife in Hanoi is an active nightlife generally divided in to two subcategories.  There are the quieter bars which are generally enjoyed by a slightly older and mellower crowd.  There may be live entertainment at these bars but it is generally played at a level which allows for conversation in the bar.  The other side of the nightlife is made up of the bustling clubs of the area, clubs which have at least one dance floor and DJ-based music or live bands playing so loud that dancing takes the place of conversation. For those interested in the quieter bars, whether for the entire evening or just for starting out the night, the top pick is the Funky Monkey, which is active enough to draw in an all ages crowd all throughout the night but quiet enough to allow visitors to mingle with locals.  Other popular bars in Hanoi include Da Gino, Emperor Pub and the Met.
For those travelers interested in the more active nightlife, the top pick is Apocalypse Now.  During weekdays, visitors can play free games of pool, but on weekend nights, all that takes place here is dancing, dancing, and more dancing.  This is a late night place where time can get lost because there are no windows here and the setting is designed to recreate the feel of the old bunkers of the Vietnam War.  It may not sound attractive, but this is the place where all of the trendier visitors generally go.  Other top club picks include Club Q and the Spark Club.
2. Hanoi Architecture:
There are two main things you'll probably notice about the architecture in Hanoi.  Firstly there's the foreign influences, particularly from the French colonial period, and secondly, that many houses and buildings in Vietnam seem seem to be very tall and narrow.  The reason for this is the way people are/were taxed on property - by the width of the front of the building. This is especially apparent in the Old Quarter of Hanoi (36 Pho Phuong) where people buy houses with very narrow frontages so that they minimise their tax burden while having a place to display their merchandise to passers by. These buidlings are reffered to as "tube houses" and Ho Chi Minh mausoleum,often include courtyards partway through to improve air flow. Other interesting architectural  landmarks include government buildings such as the History Museum, Hanoi Opera House, National Bank, the Foreign Ministry, and the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, Saint Josheph Cathral...
Furture architecture and expanding: Hanoi has just expanded it area to the west (include the old Ha Tay province, part of Vinh Phuc) and will encourage resident to move there. Currently french style old apartment will be replaced by new modern Korean and Saint Josheph Cathral hanoiJapanese style building. A very large project of building the red-river city is also in research.
3. Hanoi Getting Around:
Visitors often opt to rent a car when they arrive at the airport in Hanoi.  This is an inexpensive option and considered to be efficient.  However, travelers unused to foreign travel should be aware that, in general, renting a car in Hanoi means renting a driver.  Car rental companies assign drivers as guides to assist visitors in getting around the area.  This is standard procedure and should be considered an excellent method of getting around and getting information about the area at the same time.  Visitors interested in getting themselves around without a driver often rent motorcycles or mopeds instead of cars.
Visitors should also know that, upon getting in to downtown Hanoi, it is relatively easy to get around on foot, so not much money will likely need to be spent on internal travel and visitors should feel free to splurge on tours when they get the chance.  Bicycling is another option for getting around and can be used not only within the city but also on the nature trails of Hanoi.  However, visitors should know that bicycle rentals do not come with helmet rentals so they may have to consider purchasing a helmet for their stay there in order to protect themselves while riding.
Visitors might be confused about crossing the road by foot in Hanoi.  Traffic is chaotic, with motorbikes generally, though not exclusively, driving on the right.  When it comes to junctions with traffic lights, red lights are treated as optional by a lot of motorbikes, so be as wary crossing the road at junctions as anywhere else.  Don't bother waiting for a gap in the traffic as there never is any.  Do what the locals do - wait for a big enough gap to step into the flow of traffic and then keep edging forward at as constant a speed as possible without stepping in front of anything that would need to swerve too much or brake to sharply to avoid hitting you.  There is one basic rule for traffic in Vietnam - "Don't hit anything".  Besides that, pretty much anything goes, though the system seems to work quite well.  The bus system in Hanoi is a possibility for travelers but it is sometimes considered a safety risk and is generally considered uncomfortable.
From hanoi, you can go to Halong bay, Sapa, Mai chau, Hai phong port ....
To rent a motorcycle
Your hotel can easily rent a motorcycle for you. They may ask you keep your passport. The rate is roughly 10 US$/per 24 hours.
Taxis, Cyclos and Xe Oms
Another common way of getting round is to rent by the journey.  Taxis can be flagged down on the larger, busier roads, and some (though not all) are metered.  Xe Oms (motorcycle taxis) are everywhere - at least at every street corner in Hanoi.  Finally there are the Cyclos, a special kind of bike with a seat at the front, attached to the handlebar column.  These are offerred regularly to tourists, and are a similar price to taxis.
4. Hanoi Weather & When to Go:
Visitors head to Hanoi during all different times of the year, but the most busy tourist season is during the summer months.  This is interesting, because it is generally also considered to be the time of the worst weather in Hanoi.  It is not only hot, but it rains a lot during this time of year and so it gets quite humid.  Visitors who can avoid the major tourist months actually might find that not only are the crowds thinner and the streets easier to negotiate but the weather is also nicer.
The average winter high temperature in Hanoi is approximately sixty five degrees and it rarely rains from November through February, so this is a good time for travelers to consider visiting the area.  There is also a large celebration in the area at the beginning of the year which many tourists enjoy.  From February on, the rainy season begins, hitting its peak in about April but continuing through the summer.  Summer high temperatures are generally in the nineties with thick humidity.

5. Useful words & Phrases:

Vietnamese English
Sin Chow Hello
Kwhere Khom How are you?
Toy Kwhere, Come on I'm fine, Thank you
Come on Thank you
Ten la zee What is your name?
Ten toy la ... My name is ...
Bao new toy How old are you?
Toy ... too ee I'M ... year old
Bao new How much
Muk kwar It's too expensive!
Kom No
Da Yes
Sin loy I'm Sorry
Kom can No need

6. Plug Types:

Voltage: 220V
Frequency: 50HZ
Religion: Buddhist
Time Zone: UTC + 7 Hours

7. Sightseeing in Hanoi City:
a full day city tour of Vietnam's capital. Hanoi is a unique city with tree-lined boulevards, French colonial architecture, peaceful lakes and oriental temples. The city tour includes such sights as Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and his house on stilts, the One Pillar Pagoda, the Temple of Literature, the Quan Thanh Temple and the Tran Quoc Pagoda on the edge of West Lake. After lunch in town continue to the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology and end the afternoon with a visit to the Lake of the Restored Sword and a cyclo tour of the Hanoi Old Quarter. Dinner on your own and overnight in Hanoi.

Tran Quoc Pagoda

 

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