I walk around hanoi old quarter to buy a hanoi map with bus routes. It was raining heavily and I was in a disposable raincoat walking under the rain.
The biggest bookshop in Hanoi, Thang Long bookshop and most of the post offices in hanoi dont sell the map with bus route. In fact the most possible reason is there are too many motodop(moto taxi) in hanoi, people seldom take bus.
Finally I got one on small book store in a small pavement squeezed between buildings. That time they was packing up, the day is turning dark and the weather is around 17 degree celcius. Wind blew strongly. I want to bargain but the lady refused to sell in lower price. She said this is the only one hanoi map with bus route, and it left only one. Finally, I take it with 40,000D.
Just because i dont want to take moto taxi, I bought the map. After that I found that the map is not really useful because the bus system in hanoi is not very comprehensive. Especially in old quarter with 36 old streets, it covers not even 20% of the streets.
We used Sinh Cafe for all our transport and found them to be excellent. Some of the mini buses used in the north were a little bit tight but I think that is because the roads are not as good as down south. Further down south we were travelling on large coaches with at times only 10 of us on the bus so there was plenty of room especially on the overnight bus.
Sonh Cafe have an open ticket Hanoi-Hue-Hoi An-Nha Trang-Dalat-Saigon hop on and off stay as long as you like at each stop for $US29. At each place they stop at a hotle if you don't want to stay there you just find somewhere else to stay. Most of the hotels looked clean and were usually starting from about $US5 pp/pn. They also organise day trips and short trips to various places ie Halong Bay or Sapa.
It is reportedly possible to go to and from Hanoi's Noi Bai airport using buses 7 or 17. Also, you can take number 9, 18, or 23 and tour around the city in a circle, returning to your point o origin without backtracking, all for for only 2,500 dong, about 15 cents. The buses are nice enough, in fact some of them are the same models used in Paris.
The cheapest way of getting around Hanoi and all of Vietnam is by bus. The bus systems are well developed in Vietnam, but i'm only referring to the system, not the buses themselves (poor condition and there can be stop dead traffic, or like that when you stuck behind people on bikes al the way to HCMC). The publis bus system is so cheap and you can basicly buy a ticket from Hanoi to HCMC for about 10-20 USD. There are also tourist buses for travelers to see all of Vietnam. These buses are in good condition and are meant for tourists (and are owned by travel companies). They are a bit, but not by much, more expencive. They stop throughout all of Vietnam, you can spend a week traveling by bus spending a day in each major city. Prices vary but from HCMC to Hanoi is around 20-30 USD.
(last date took the mini-bus - April 24, 2007)
Hanoi to Haiphong
included in the package tour going Halong Bay from Hanoi