When you visit a new city you will be prepared to walk, walk and walk. Walking a city is usually the best way to ensure you see everything. From beautiful buildings, shops to cafes and restaurants, there is nothing like strolling the streets of somewhere new.
Hanoi is a great city for walking, although on the days where your legs are tired it can be a daunting task to find the best way to explore the city.
As the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi is a city full of traffic and it is still in need of better public transport options. The streets and roads are often congested with scooters and bicycles.
However, we have put together our recommendations on what to do on the days when your legs need a much needed rest.
1. Catch a Cyclo - These manned three wheeled bicycles can be great fun and if the weather is fine are a fabulous way to get from one place to another. Dating back to the French colonial era, Cyclo’s are a tradition in Hanoi. Although they can get stuck in the plethora of traffic around Hanoi they are cheap and are easily hailed for when you are in need of a well earned rest from walking.
2. Motorbike Taxi - This has to be the most common form of transportation in Hanoi. Bikes easily move in around the congested streets and can be an exhilarating way to start your day. Many can be booked in advance and some even offer tours of the city too. Known locally as ‘Xe Om’ you will find all the locals using a motorbike taxi as their preferred transport option.
3. Electric Bus - When we say bus, think more small golf buggy. The narrow streets only allow for smaller vehicles. This great eco friendly transport option covers 14 stops from the old quarter to Hoan Kiem Lake and works via a ‘hop on hop off’ system. If you choose to stay on for the entire ride it takes around an hour and you can even listen to commentary on the area in English too.
If you choose to catch a taxi or motorbike taxi always ask your tour operator to book for you, sometimes tourists are over charged and the short trip can work out very expensive.
Hotel concierge are also a good place to start if you are ever unsure of what you should expect to pay.
Organising a day tour on a scooter can often work out more cost effective. A day rate can be agreed and you get to choose all the places you wish to see.
Often drivers will take you to places only the locals know about and you get experience places many other tourists do not have the pleasure of finding!
However you choose to explore Hanoi, you can be assured it is a city full of diversity and amazing places waiting to be discovered.