With ample bars, restaurants, shops and café’s in Hanoi, it seems odd to us Westerners that the streets get quiet around 10pm; that is, if you don’t know where to look.
Government restrictions mean venues are unable to legally stay open late, however, if you’re up for a party, the nightlife in Hanoi can be very lively; found under roller doors, down hidden streets naked to the tourist eye.
Bars are always fully stocked, selling not only varied alcoholic drinks, but cigarettes are readily available also. Taxis, and Moto-taxis wait to take you to your hotel if your legs are too heavy to walk home. Just be aware of prices as it’s common to be charged more at night time.
Hanoi, no doubt, is a bargain hunter’s paradise, the streets are awash with compact shops selling all manner of items.
Generally one whole street will be dedicated to shops / stalls selling the exact same thing. Therefore, there’s no need to rush into buying. Haggle, walk away, wave your hands in the air at their ridiculously expensive prices, keep walking and asking till the price gets lower and lower – tourists are often charged around four times the local price.
Remember to have fun, and at all times show respect when bargaining, it is culture here to do so, and should be enjoyable for both the seller and buyer.
Vietnamese Dong – VND
Most places accept USD, however, if you are receiving change, it will be in the local currency.
Exchange rates are around 20,000 – 23,000 per 1USD.
Some shops and restaurants accept Credit Cards, but carry a bank fee.
Credit/Debit Card and ATMs
While Credit and Debit Cards are easily used in Hanoi City, foreign cards can be an issue outside the City. Best to have plenty of cash before heading out to remote areas. In the cities ATM’s are frequently available. Of course all banks have their own charges and fees and international withdrawals can add up quite quickly. Also it is the best to notify your bank that you are heading overseas so they don’t suspect fraud and put a cancel on any of your cards.
Upon arrival, we will provide you with a list of all Banks / ATMs including addresses, business hours, fees and charges.
Hanoi has typical North Vietnam climate, with a cold and dry winter (when temperatures can drop to as low as 6°C – 7°C) and a hot and extremely humid summer (temperatures can climb up to a maximum of 35°C). Spring is characterized with light drizzles while the summers bring heavy rain.
The best time to visit Hanoi is around September to November or from March to April for their milder temperatures and pleasant weather.
Vietnamese cooking is varied, extremely tasty and usually complimented with fresh herbs. It is a mixture of Vietnamese, Chinese and French traditions, with a plethora of regional specialties. As in all countries of the region, rice or noodles usually provide the basis of a meal. Not surprisingly, fish is plentiful.
- Breakfast is generally noodle soup locally known as Pho
- French-style baguettes are available throughout
- Nem (spring rolls – pork mixed with noodles, eggs and mushrooms wrapped rice paper, fried and served hot)
- Banh Chung (Glutinous rice, pork and onions wrapped in large leaves and cooked for up to 48 hours, to be eaten cold at any time)
- Vietnamese dishes are not complete without Nuoc Mam, a fermented fish sauce
- Green tea is refreshing and available everywhere.
- The French culinary legacy embraces rich, fresh, filter coffer, usually brewed on the table in front of the customer
- Bia hoi, a local draught beer available at street stalls everywhere. It is not only cheap, but free of additives. Other beer worth a go Bia Hanoi and Halida
- Rice wine is also a favorite throughout the country. It is generally extremely potent.
Tipping is now quite customary, especially in tourist areas. Upscale restaurants and hotels may add a 5 to 10% services charge to the bill. In this case tipping is not required. But generally out and about there is no need to tip unless you were really impressed with the service.
It’s always a good idea to take out the relevant health insurance prior to traveling and SE Asia is no exception. Check with your doctor before you come over and make sure you get the right jabs.