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Taxis to central Hanoi can be hired at Noi Bai.

There are fixed price taxi stands right outside the exit, offering fares ranging from US$20-$25 into the city. These are provided by various taxi companies and are slightly more expensive than the tout taxis, but fixed price, so no hassles about the fare. Later into the night, there don't seem to be any physical taxi stands, however you can still negotiate directly with taxi drivers for fixed prices all the same. Some taxis will engage in negotiations while others will agree only to metered fares so shop around. Drivers in general may try to take you to a hotel of their choice or even a hotel pretending to be the one you named (your passenger door being opened by a person showing you your hotel name and correct address on a clipboard, insisting you should come in) as destination, to collect a commission, so be very specific about your destination ahead of time and on arrival if this happens, as they usually give in. To be sure, have the address ready and maybe print out a map beforehand: since every street in Hanoi has clearly visible street signs at both ends, you should be able to discern which street you are in.

Be careful of agreeing to running the taxi meter: the meters may be tampered with, and can run upwards of US$40-$60 or more to get to central Hanoi, and the upper limit is entirely out of your control. If you have changed money into dong at the airport you can, of course, pay in local currency.

Money Changers

Money changers are usually in most guest houses and banks, and they give bad rates. Don't exchange money from the black market people on the streets. The best place to exchange money is at Ha Trung road and Hang Bac where they give real good rates. Just walk into the gold shops or jewellery shops and ask them if they change money and ask to show their rates. Ask up to nearly 5 or more shops to see which shop gives the best rates. Best rates are at Ha Trung which is 15-25 mins walk West from Hoan Kiem lake. Look for Hang Da Market on the pedestrian map.Its a short street of Gold traders, and small sewing factories.Correct as at Feb 25th 2013.

Inside the Noi Bai airport arrival hall, there are several money changer booths of major local banks; unlike in many airports, their exchange rate is competitive (around +/-1% to mid-market for USD) and do not seem to differ from the rate in the city offices (which you won't find at Old Quarter anyway). Besides US dollar and euro, they will change currencies of major Asian countries; that may come handy if you come from (or was traveling in) these countries. Rate vary slightly between the banks, so you may like to shop around and to see what you will get.

ATMs

ATMs are everywhere and cash is king here. There is a transaction limit of 2,000,000 dong at many ATMs, but some allow larger withdrawals. ANZ, Techcombank and Citybank should allow them on Visa/MasterCard/Maestro. Be sure to check the fee they charge. Commonwealth Bank (not very many in the centre) does not charge a fee and you should be able to get at least VND5,000,000 on a Maestro debit card. ANZ on the western shore of the Hoan Kiem Lake in the Old Quarter, near the puppet theatre, only allows up to 5,000,000 dong (updated June 2014) with a 40,000 dong charge (which may be cheaper than the no-charge 5 million, as your home bank may charge per transaction as well, (eg NL-ABN Amro charge €2.25/transaction on current accounts, which makes a higher transaction more interesting).

Check exchange rates daily. Jewellery shops will consistently offer a better rate than banks or hotels.

Stay safe

The first thing visitors will notice is the city's crazy traffic. Like everywhere else in Vietnam, traffic in Hanoi is dominated by an incredible number of motorbikes, all of which seem to be making a mad, desperate dash for something just out of reach — all of the time. All the while blowing their horns incessantly. In other words, pedestrian traffic can be overwhelming for visitors, especially in the narrow streets around the Old Quarter. When you leave the curb, look not only both ways but left, right, back and front, and take each step slowly and patiently allowing them to pass because even an eye contact is not enough with the oncoming drivers and actually before you know it, someone is also on your back since there is no such thing as one-directional traffic in Vietnam. The key word here is slowly — don't rush. This way the drivers are aware of you, and can take you into account (along with all of the other motorbikes). It may look, and indeed is somewhat chaotic, but be patient and pay attention when you're crossing any street, large or small, and you should be fine.

You should look everywhere as you proceed. Holding out your arm toward the stream of vehicles as a "slow down, I am crossing" sign may be a good idea but not acknowledged most of the time. Don't stop suddenly when you see one coming a little fast or rush your steps when you are crossing. Just even your pace and walk slowly. The motorbikes will find their way to avoid you themselves.

Pickpockets are well organized and operate in groups, scams are around every corner, very aggressive hawkers grab tourists by the arm and won't let go unless they buy something, hotel staff members try to pick padlocks on travelers bags, thieves on motorbikes snatch bags from cafe tables, fake mechanics throw nails at tourists on motorbikes to cause flat tires and the police, probably the worst crooks of them all, are known to steal from people (both locals and tourists) and ask for a bribe to get the items back. There is also a dual price policy: tourists usually pay ten times more than locals; this price can increase even more if, in restaurants, you start eating before asking for the price of the meal.

Be vigilant when taking a taxi - driver jumps out at destination and dumps most of your bags out of the trunk. While you're busy putting rucksack on he has taken off with your other bags. Ask your hotel which taxi companies are reliable - stories abound of meters that run at an adjusted (much faster) rate.

Also keep all eyes on your belongings, especially in crowded area like Dong Xuan night market; expect female pickpockets and don't let them surround you.

If you carry a backpack or rucksack, do NOT carry it on your back especially in crowded areas with high tourist traffic eg Hoan Kiem Lake area. Pick pockets will open your bag behind you and help themselves to your belongings. Carry it in front of you instead.

Always ask the price first, and give the hawkers exact change if possible. Mobile hawkers (carrying food hung on poles across their shoulders) have been known to pocket the (significant) change and stuff more food than you had intended to buy into your hands, and than quickly take off, leaving the bewildered tourist by the road with his hands full of food he cannot finish.

 

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Giấy chứng nhận đăng ký kinh doanh số: 0104731205 do Sở kế hoạch và đầu tư TP Hà Nội cấp ngày 03/06/2010
Giấy phép lữ hành Quốc Tế số: 01-687/2014/TCDL-GP LHQT

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