We arranged with our hotel to make the initial application for a Visa Upon Arrival which was more like an ivitation to go to Viet Nam. Together with this we took with us on the flight from Hong Kong to Hanoi two photo's and the visa application forms which can be downloaded on line
Looking at the situation we were lucky as first of all, this was a short flight so the aircraft was not large and something like 100 people were on board many of whom were Vietnamese. Because of this there were only less than a dozen of us who needed to get the Visa upon arrival. In any event it took at least 15 minutes before the first Visa became available which luckily was ours, so clearly if there was a large aircraft in, you could wait a considerable time at the Visa Office before getting to Customs & Immigration.
With the new Terminal at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi, the visa service is slightly less daunting than previously, but the signage in the arrival hall needs attention for the VOA section. It is easy to find, but there is only one 8 x 5 sign on the three roped off sections which shows where to go to deposit your documents, This is the far right hand section facing the visa office. They will take your passports and generally within 15 mins will call you electronically to collect and give them the cash which they require in US$ and as at March 2015 works out at $95 per person for a multi entry visa
For our next trip we will certainly try arrange the visa in Canada even though we could be without our passport for a few weeks
I used Vietnam Airlines to my flights to Laos and back. The ticket purchasing was easy doing on-line booking and all the procedures, check-in & boarding was run smoothly and easy. Also the flight to Laos and back was smooth as expected on a good weather conditions. I can surely recommend anyone planning visit to Laos to use flight options on the alternative 15 to 20 hours bus trip.
Most tourists will usually arrive to Vietnam by flight. In my case I was lucky, I could fly direct to Hanoi from my home location which was very convenience to start my Vietnam trip. However, Hanoi airport is one of the poorest in Vietnam, even if they build some new building for it, air-condition was very poor, I almost dehydrated just by sitting and waiting for my flight, it felt more like old train station and modern airport. Also language delivery was very slow to arrive.
Hanoi airport is suprisingly small and very easy to get around.
For a city of this size it's really undersized and the vietnamese goverment is currently building a new airport in Hanoi, but that will take some time to finish.
But at least it's very easy to find your way around with only one terminal and very little hassle.
It's a fairly good airport to fly from i think even if the check in counters can be a little crowded at times cause the airport is not big enough for the amount of people it carries..
In the transit area you have a few coffee shops and some souvenier shops but if you want a real feed then get it before you check in on the top of the airport as they have a food court there.
All in all Hanoi airport is an ok airport to fly from without being anything special at all.
It takes about 2 hours from landing time to arrival to your hotel.
You have 4 choices to transfer from airport to Hanoi central:
• Easy way is by taxi (VND 250,000 or about $15): please be very quick to call a taxi once you finished passport control procedures & get your luggage if your flight arrived so late. Some bad taxi driver may tell that "Your hotel is full tonight" then take you to other bad hotel to get commission, so please ask the driver take you to exactly address of your hotel.
• Cheap way is by 15-seat mini bus of Vietnam Airlines ($2/person) to Vietnam Airlines Head Office at No. 1 Quang Trung Street, then walk to your hotel.
• Cheapest way is by public bus (no luggage & before 21:00 only): first you get bus No. 7 (yellow & red color) VND 5,000 from Noi Bai airport to Cau Giay, then change into bus No. 9 (VND 3,000) from Cau Giay to Bo Ho (Hoan Kiem lake in Hanoi central), then walk to your hotel. The total costs for both bus trips would be VND 8,000 (or 50 US cents).
• Some hotel offer free airport pickup service if you stay more than three night. In fact, they included pickup charge to your room charge.
Air asia provides flight Bangkok-Hanoi everyday ---price for round trip is 5,100 baht (already included tax surcharge) Booking via the internet and no seat number. Our flight delayed only 30 minutes --- can acceptable :P
On the way back from Hanoi people who got lucky seat won a price from the airline --- one guy in our flight asked to sing a song too LOL
Noi Bai International Airport is a spanking new facility that is situated 28 miles (45km) north of Hanoi. Hell yes, compared to the old shack they call an airport, this place is pretty modern. Hell, it's even bigger than Tan Son Nhat in HCMC. Well, maybe that's why the airport tax is higher. Lots of airport minibuses and metered taxis are available outside the arrival hall for transport to the city centre but it's better to arrange for a private driver to pick you up. The taxi drivers here are regular pirates.
Phan Thai Hotel arranged for us to be picked at the airport for US$10. The hotel manager had asked us previously whether we wanted a cab when we made an online booking for a room.
Ha Noi International Airport…IATA Airport Code HAN…is a relatively modern and fair sized airport that handles flights from about twenty five major international air carriers.
It’s located about 45 kms from the city center…I arrived here on a domestic flight with Vietnam Airlines…and departed on an international flight with the budget carrier Air Asia.
The facilities were ok I guess…the check in process was slow and long but I attribute that to the process of Air Asia…and not the airport itself. On arrival with Vietnam Airlines the baggage was pretty fast to the carousel and ready for pick up quickly.
There is the usual assortment of “souvenir” shops and Duty Free once you pass through security when you’re transiting out of Ha Noi..AND for all that might SMOKE there's a SMOKING ROOM on the upper level thats well signed...and easy to find.
There are also two different restaurants that are available for full meals, although I only sat long enough for a coffee at the one. Funny or not, the restaurant that I had coffee at was the ONLY place that I can say I saw a cockroach in my entire four weeks traveling in Vietnam…so keep that in mind if you’re thinking of eating at either of the two.
I used a taxi arranged through my hotel to get to the airport on my departure and the cost from the Old Quarter was equivalent to $ 14.00 USA… the ride was adventurous to say the least, first driven through the dark streets of Ha Noi and eventually arriving onto the freeway that crosses the Red River eventually arriving at the airport…fast and furious, without traffic it took about forty five minutes..
A word of caution when arriving by air or train for that matter anywhere in Ha Noi or any other city in Vietnam.
As you leave the secured areas after collecting baggage YOU MUST present the portion of your baggage claim that stays with your ticket to an ATTENDANT that guards the exit. This is done to ensure that you have YOUR luggage…and YOU luggage ONLY…so DO NOT forget this or you will encounter some unnecessary hassles PROVING that the luggage you are exiting with is indeed YOURS!!!
There are taxis, public buses and mini buses available to get you into the city. Our arrival transit downtown was the same price as my exit transit…about $ USA 14.00.
You’ll find taxis just outside the Arrivals area. The same for buses, once you’re through the front doors look on your right…buses 7 and 17 will get you downtown and cost only about 30 cents USA equivalent.
Many Asian airlines have a rather dodgy reputation. I last flew Vietnam Airlines in 1993, and, yes, I said a few prayers on take-off. I was lucky enough to fly Vietnam Airlines again in 2008 and WOW ... what a difference. On the international leg from Sydney we had a brand spanking new Boeing 777. Spacious, comfortable, and great service from those lovely Vietnamese stewardesses. I also did a couple of domestic flights with Vietnam Airlines which were fine.
As a travel writer I've flown half a billion kilometres around the world and I would say go on, fly Vietnam airlines if they service your country. It puts you in the right mood for visiting a fantastic country.
Setting foot in the Hanoi Noi Bai Airport I was instantly reminded that I was in a Communist country. There is a definite military presence throughout. In fact we flew out of the Hanoi airport on our way to Ho Chi Mein City and had time to kill early in the morning. We were both exhausted and I leaned up against Marc to get a little rest and I was harshly reprimanded by a Communist official, so watch yourself. Getting through customs wasn’t as difficult as we thought, but make sure you have all you paperwork in order to expedite the process, as they are very strict. This airport offers no frills, but it was easy to find our taxi into the city. Also be aware that the airport is 28 miles (45 km) from the city and takes about 30 to 45 minutes by taxi. The public city bus does run to and from the airport but takes about an hour. It costs 5000 VND (about 30 cents US) and runs from 5am to 10pm daily. The minibuses cost 32000 VND ($2 US) but they only leave after the bus is entirely full. Taxis cost about $12 US.
(date written - March 18, 2007)
Booking number: HRRYDF
Flight number: FD 3703
Departure date: May 8, 2007
Departure time: 14:20
Arrival time: 16:00
Airfare: one-way ticket via Air Asia
Mode of payment: Master Card/Visa Card
Fare price : THB 1.00
Taxes: THB 1,100
Total fare: THB 1,101 (around 30.56 US $ as of March 17, 2007)
Allowed baggage: 15 kilos
Hand carry : 7 kilos
July 14, 2006
Hanoi - Bangkok via Air Asia
Departure date: July 14, 2006
Departure time: 9:30 p.m.
Actual departure time: 10:30 p.m. (late by one hour)
Arrival time - 12:15 a.m.
Airfare: one-way ticket via Air Asia
Mode of payment: Master Card/Visa Card
Fare price : THB
Total fare: THB (around US $ as of )
We took Tigerairways (TR309) from Hanoi (HAN) on 28 May 2006 at 18:50 and arrived Singapore (SIN) on the same day at 23:20.
We paid USD34.58 (USD6.50 for airfare and USD28.08 for taxes & fees) per person on a one-way flight because we flew to Danang and flew back from Singapore.
The Noi Bai International Airport is about 40km north of the city, and it is a compact and modern airport which you will arrive by air. Being small and relatively empty most of the time, the airport is easy to navigate and is quite fast at clearing customs. When you are leaving Hanoi, the airport transit area has lots of shops with handicrafts, food etc in case you need to grab some last minute souvenirs. Overall, I have a good impression of this airport. To get to the city from the airport, you can take the bus, taxi (about US$10-12) or arrange for your hotel to pick you up (more expensive but safer this way). If you are asking your hotel to pick you up, it is important to look for a card with your name on it in addition to the hotel's name.
Tiger Airways usually have promo fares for Singapore to Hanoi. I was able to get it at 50% off, booking 2 weeks before...
Flight schedule is very good as well, departing Friday 4pm (SG time) and return on Sunday 7pm (Hanoi time).
Most of the passenger that travel on Friday, will also be your co passenger on Sunday, but all of them carrying twice their original luggages, with new bags and matching conical hats..
Pls note, that after getting the boarding pass, you need to pay the departure tax of US 14.00 or equivalent in Vietnam dong.
If you run out of USD/ dong, go to lower level (arrival area) there are money changer available.
We flew from Hanoi to Danang with Vietnam Airlines. The flight was very smooth (Irish pilot) and we were very comfortable during the hour long flight.
The flight cost $US 60 and was organised through a local travel agent.
Would recommend flying if you are short on time.