Getting around Hanoi
The public bus system in Hanoi is cheap but confusing, and few short-term visitors to Hanoi attempt it. There are around 70 bus routes operated by several different bus operators, but information for all routes can be found on the website of the Hanoi Urban Transport Management and Operation Centre (http://tramoc.com.vn). Monthly passes are available.
Taxis are the best way to travel around Hanoi. Restaurants, bars and hotels are quite happy to summon a taxi, otherwise vehicles can be hailed on the street. Visitors are advised to check that the meter is turned on. Reliable taxi companies are Airport Taxi (tel: +84 4 3886 6666) and Hanoi Taxi (tel: +84 4 3853 5353).
Motorcycle Taxis (Xe Om) is another cheap and popular way to get around Hanoi. As they aren't fitted with meters, do bargain hard before hopping onto one.
Most visitors to Hanoi are quite traumatised when they encounter the traffic for the first time. The streets are crammed with bicycles and motorbikes, which dart between the growing number of cars. Happily, visitors are only allowed to hire cars with drivers.
It is not possible to hire a car to drive yourself but you can hire one with a driver from tour operators such as Exo Travel (tel: +84 4 3828 2150; www.exotravel.com), Vidotour (tel: +84 4 3734 5429; www.vidotourtravel.com), and Buffalo Tours (tel: +84 4 3926 3425; www.buffalotours.com).
In a city that is home to thousands of bicycles, you can hire a bicycle for a day or longer period from a number of outlets on Hang Bac Street in the Old Quarter. Good-quality bicycles and helmets are available to hire from Marco Polo Travel (tel: +84 4 3997 5136; www.bikingvietnam.com) at 49 Nguyen Khoai.