Sunday, September 19, 2010

I have visited Hanoi numerous times but I can't get used to the city yet. Many things remain confusing to me so I thought I may just write some of my experiences here in case someone happen to stumble upon this blog to learn more about dealing with Hanoi trip for first timer.

1) Hanoi airport
1.1) Arriving
In the international airport, there are two baggage belts, check where your baggages will be issued from the TV screen hanging on the ceiling. The cart to wheel your luggage is available for free. You may or may not have to give the officials your custom white card. It all depends on the guy who watches over the booth near the exit from the baggage areas. Just in case, fill them up.

1.2) Money changer
Go around various money changers to compare exchange rate. It may differ nearly 10% among those service providers. I was told that the rate is better in town but I have not had chance to compare so pick your choice.

1.3) Taxi
Taxi trips can be one of the most exasperating experiences in Vietnam in general. Do not try to get taxi from tout. Upon exiting the airport, look around and you will see simple marking indicating Noibai Taxi or Airport Taxi. Go to the stand (most likely there will be plenty of other people there as well) and ask for taxi. You can choose to pay fix rate or by meter. I am not sure what is better yet, even after numerous trips! For this current trip to the famous Hoan Kiem lake area from airport, I chalked up 300,000 VND by airport taxi. I had a feeling that I was had but I am not sure how to check. That is the problem. However, that is still better than the 30 USD rate quoted by some private taxi stands within the airport which translates to 570,000 VND. Taxi flag down rate ranges between 9,000 to 15,000 VND. In town, try your best to get Mailinh or Vinasun taxis. They are considered the most honest ones.

2) Amenities
2.1) Shopping
It is not that easy to find supermarket in Hanoi. Appears to me that many relies on traditional market or small mini market. There are some supermarkets in the big shopping malls but the prices are slightly expensive.

2.2) Hotel
There are quite a number of decent hotels with the rate of 50 USD a night and above. I am sure you know more than I do.

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