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World Travel Guide > Guides > Asia > Vietnam > Hanoi

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Getting around Hanoi

Public transport

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

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.

Driving

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.

Car hire

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).

Bicycle hire

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.

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Featured Hotels

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Hoa Binh Hotel

A consistently popular choice on the Hanoi hotel scene, the Hoa Binh is a renovated colonial hotel dating from 1926. Located within walking distance of Hoan Kiem Lake, it boasts more than 100 rooms, all large and comfortable with good facilities for a 3-star hotel. There are also French and Vietnamese restaurants.

Hilton Hanoi Opera

A stunning colonial-style hotel, the Hilton is built next to the Opera House (hence its name) in the French Quarter. The rooms are large and chic with a hint of Vietnamese style. A short walk from the Old Quarter, the open-air bar of the hotel's Ba Mien restaurant is a popular nightspot.

Essence d’Orient Hotel & Spa

As the newly extended wing of the Essence Hotel & Spa this stylish comfortable property in the heart of the Old Quarter offers excellent value. Despite being positioned a few steps from the popular Beer Corner its spacious rooms are quiet. The staff are professional and friendly while the restaurant is exceptional.

La Dolce Vita

Located in the Old Quarter, La Dolce Vita is a good base from which to explore the city at an excellent price. The rooms are large, bright and comfortable, decorated in traditional Vietnamese style and with good facilities. The hotel's restaurant and lobby bar serve Vietnamese and Western food.

Zéphyr Hotel

Located right by Hoan Kiem Lake, and within walking distance of the Old Quarter, this classy hotel offers good value. The rooms are smart and well-maintained, while the restaurant serves both Vietnamese and Western cuisine. The rooftop bar, with panoramic views across the city, is a great place for a drink.

Flower Garden Hotel

This stylish hotel on the edge of the Old Quarter has large, well-lit rooms decorated in Vietnamese style. There are two restaurants serving Western and a fusion of Asian food, one being on the top floor with great views across the city. There’s also a fitness centre and spa, including a sauna and Jacuzzi.