LUXE City Guides - Hanoi - - Front Page -

While big­ger and brasher Saigon shame­lessly flashes her as­sets, Hanoi’s blend of coffee house cul­ture, so­cial­ist art, Con­fu­cian val­ues, Bud­dhist tem­ples, French colo­nial ar­chi­tec­ture and tiny at­mo­spheric streets ro­mances and en­chants, though it’s not the quiet, tran­quil cap­i­tal of yore. Oh, and you’ll want to watch those mo­tor­bikes.


Tak­ing Hoan Kiem Lake as the cen­tre, the French Quar­ter lies to the south and south east, north is the bustling Old Quar­ter, resi nabe Tay Ho flanks West Lake to the north west, and west is Ba Dinh, home to Un­cle Ho. Off with you...

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Oct-Nov is cool and dry and the best time to visit; Dec-Feb can be chilly; Feb-Apr drizzly rain; May­Sep hot and hu­mid Tet (Lu­nar New Year) is mid-Jan to mid-Feb. Most shops close, but the lead up to it is colour­ful Noi Bai In­ter­na­tional Air­port to town: 45 mins-1 hr / VND320,000 to 350,000 de­pend­ing on the ve­hi­cle Have your ho­tel’s busi­ness card on you at all times as most cab­bies don’t speak English, and get your concierge to write ad­dresses down in Viet­namese Road safety and traf­fic law – dream on Cross­ing the road – step out like Moses, and be­hold, the red moped sea will part be­fore thee. Tarry not at the curb, lest thou grow old and in­con­ti­nent Have lots of small dong for taxis/bikes Dol­lar ver­sus dong, it’s all money, honey US$1 is ap­prox. VND21,000. You may be ap­proached by black mar­ket money chang­ers – buyer beware Quick­est way around town is by mo­tor­cy­cle, pay around VND20,000 per trip, de­pend­ing on dis­tance. Pop a hel­met on – it’s the law! Slow­est way round town is by two-seater cy­clo, nice for a nat­ter, pay around VND90,000/US$4-5 per hour Food, ser­vice and hos­pi­tal­ity can be in­con­sis­tent, but they are im­prov­ing, so be pa­tient, Patty Bear in mind that real an­tiques can be dif­fi­cult to ex­port – you’ll need all the proper pa­per­work Beware of light-fin­gered rogues, es­pe­cially around New Year – keep your hand on your dong Hawk­ers. Ig­nore them com­pletely. One syl­la­ble from you will un­leash a discourse on why you must buy Most places open for lunch and din­ner daily, or all day, but hours can change with­out no­tice, can be quiet week­days, and kitchens tend to close early In­ter­na­tional code for Hanoi is +84 4. Once there, dial 04 for lo­cal and 00 for in­ter­na­tional Po­lice 113, Am­bu­lance 115, but note very lim­ited English is spo­ken, if at all

The fol­low­ing Viet­namese phrases will come in handy...

Chow chee (to gals) / Chow anh (to guys): Hello / Ta-ta Cam on chee / Cam on anh: Thank­ing you kindly Oi zoi oi! : Oh my gawd!

...’kay let’s party

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