If you dont want to pay much for the taxi from airport/centre or centre/airport. Just use the shuttle bus of Vietnam airlines.
They depart before flights 2 hours at 2 Quang Trung st. Opposite the Vietnam airlines office. Price around 2 $
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.
You can take Bus 17 to reach Long Bien. Long Bien is just at the side of Old Quarters and the end of the bus ride from the airport. It takes about an hour to reach Long Bien but it will cost you about 5000VND. The interval for each bus is about 15mins. When you stepped out of the airport, turn to your left and walk till you reach a parking area for bus and wait under the expressway. Spot the locals gathering there and you will find the waiting spot.(There is no bus stand.) Be careful of the taxi-drivers. They tried to stop the passer-bys from telling me where the waiting spot was.
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.
Hanoi bus is the biggest public transportation company in Hanoi.
Just find Bus Stop sign in the streets, prepare 3,000 vnd, jump on the bus, the driver's mate will find you & get the money :) Be sure you get on the right bus, just check where you wanna go cited on the Board or ask anyone around there :)
Easy and cheap!
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.
You can take the airport transfer provided by Vietnam Airlines. It will cost you about USD2 for the driver to send you to Vietnam Airlines office in town. If your hotel is on the way, you just need to pay another USD1 for him to drop you at the hotel's door step.
Bus is the cheapest and quite comfortable transport in Hanoi, especially when you want to go around Hanoi for sight seeing.
But in old quarter, the bus can not cover much because the road is quite small.
Right now, most of maps in Hanoi doesn't have bus route so it’s not easy for foreigner to find out the bus information, but you can see the bus information in Hanoibus website
Below the bus routes:
There are plenty of public busses. From the airport take the number 7 and go to Cau Giay, where you find busses to all corners of the city. Should be about 40 minutes. The 17 to Long Bien and the 7 leave both at the right side of the terminal. A bus map you can obtain free also at Cau Giay and at 16 Cao Ba Quat, or better look up the website www.tramoc.com.vn, there you find an interactive bus map.
There are no good busses in the old quarter, so you better walk.
I booked my open (sleeper) bus ticket with Sinh Cafe (the real one) in Hanoi for my whole trip since they are the most reputable company in Vietnam. Since then there is also Hanh Cafe which popularity has grown tramendously and is also the most stiff competitor of Sinh Cafe having built branches across Vietnam. They charge a marginally cheaper price than Sinh Cafe. Worth check out.
The only problem about the sleeper bus is that it has a very tight leg space. Anyone who is taller than 5'7" will have a problem. I am 6'1" and so my ride from Hanoi to Hue for 14 hours wasn't very pleasant but then later found out that I can actually book the seats on the top bunker at the back row (specifically seat number 38) and that gave me loads more leg room.
Try getting around Hanoi by bus. Its only VND3000-5000 per ride.
The most useful is bus no.9 that goes to Ho Chin Minh Museum every 15 min or so (but be sure to say 'Ho Chin Minh' to the bus driver to confirm you're taking the correct bus). You can take the bus from Boho station at Hoen Kiem Lake, opposite the Tourist Information Centre.
Some useful sites:
- bus routes
- HanoiBus' homepage
- for interactive bus map
(last date took the mini-van - July 4, 2006)
Cheapest way to reach the airport is to take the Vietnam Airlines mini-van.
2 US dollars/head
Location: Quang Trung near Hoan Kiem Lake
Departure time- 5:50 p.m.
Arrival time - 7:10 p.m.
Once out Noi Bai airport arrival hall, walk across the first lane to the quite spacious center pavement. Turn right and walk around 50 meters towards the parked mini buses. On the way you will pass 2 different airport taxi companies with sign board stating the taxi fare as USD15/way to Hanoi city. Walk further down and you will see at least 2 quite worn down mini bus (Ford Transit). It is supposed to be only for Vietnam Airline passengers but the driver rarely ask to see the boarding pass. Further down the road, you will be able to take the local airport bus.
From my observation, the mini bus is not owned by Vietnam Airline but more privately managed by individual or small company who has contract & privilege to supply such service. The fare is around USD2 or VND35K/pax. The final destination will be Vietnam Airline office downtown near French Quarters. Travelling time is around an hour due to bad traffic jams at all time. The driver will only move when the mini bus is filled up with 17 passengers (3 rows of 4 passengers each, a row of 3 passengers near the door and another 2 passengers in front seat with driver). Quite packed but what do you expect for just USD2 fare ?
I had no problems to use public bus to get around town if I only knew the right bus number and where I needed to go. For example bus no. 14 took me close to the Museum of Ethology. You go on the bus and take a sit if there is a free space and the ticket person will come to you to sell you the ticket. Depends on the distance, but around the city center it was very cheap, for example to the museum they charged 7000VND which is something like 35c.