Cheap flights to Hanoi are available from Sydney and Melbourne International airports. Flights from these departure points will typically include a transfer through Kuala Lumpur, Guangzhou or if travelling on Thai Airways, Bangkok. AirAsia offers cheap flights exiting the Gold Coast, stopping in Kuala Lumpur. A direct flight from Kuala Lumpur to Hanoi has an average flight time of around three hours. Cheap flights are available from Perth International Airport and may include a stopover in either Bangkok or Singapore. Flights exiting Brisbane may include a transfer through Kuala Lumpur when travelling on Malaysia Airlines. On the ground, bus services depart just outside the terminal with service number 7 and service 17 connecting passengers to Hanoi and whilst the tickets are cheap, the bus is a little slow. The Airport Minibus is another cheap option offering an airport to accommodation door service. Although the trip is shared it is a great option if the fixed price taxi service doesn’t suit.
The traffic in Vietnam is pure pandemonium so planning and attentiveness are key to a successfully executed trip. Hoan Kiem District (downtown Hanoi) is relatively easy to navigate on foot – follow suit and stay alert when crossing the road. Motorcycle taxis (Xe Oms) are cheap, convenient and the drivers are experts in the local layout. Have the address of your destinations on hand to show the driver for an easy communication exchange. Bicycle hire is available and competing with the traffic at a slower pace is quite an experience. Cyclos are a great novelty for tourists but for time-efficient, cost-effective travel, hire a car with a private driver. The local knowledge, direction and convenience are unrivalled and this service will help to make the most of your trip to Hanoi.
Vietnam has immortalized much of its rich history. Visit the Museum of Vietnamese Women, History Museum and Vietnam Museum of Ethnology. One Pillar Pagoda is worth a quick visit and is right near the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Ba Dinh Square. The Vietnam Military History Museum and Hoa Lo Prison offer local insights into the Vietnam War. The artist-created Thanh Chuong Viet Palace is picturesque and serene or instead, mould your own creativity with a pottery class at Bat Trang Ceramic Village. Visit the Fine arts Museum, St Joseph’s Cathedral and Ngoc Sow Temple. See some gorgeous monkey’s at the Endangered Primate Rescue Centre in Cuc Phong National Park. Spend a cheap afternoon picnicking by the water at Ho Tay, Hoan Kiem Lake or watching puppetry performed in waist-deep water at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre. Round off your trip with a visit to Ho Chi Minh’s Residence. The beauty and elegance here is surpassed only by the sheer act of defiance that saw Ho Chi Minh choose this location over palatial gluttony.
Head to Trang Tien Plaza for mall style shopping with cheap buys and big brand names. Avoid the middle of the day when visiting Dong Xuan Market or the market at Cho 19-12 where you can try whole roasted dog. Enjoy a casual drink at Lan Chin or cocktails at Sunset Bar. Party at wild-west themed Seventeen Saloon, Dragonfly and Loop, or dance the night away at Funky Buddha. Pho is a traditional Vietnamese dish of meat, rice, noodles and herbs cooked in a broth. Try Pho Thin or Pho Gia Truyen in the Old Quarter for a great introduction to Pho. For fine dining, visit Seasons of Hanoi or book ahead for an exquisite customised tasting menu at Bobby Chin. Imaginative vegetarian dishes are on offer at Tamarind Café, twice cooked pork belly at Pots ‘n Pans and roasted pigeon at Dan Ngoc.