Hanoi is a vibrant city filled with rich culture and endless activities, making it a famous stop for travelers around the world. With its population more than 7 million plus 10 million of tourists annually, getting around has never been easy. There are different modes of transportation you can choose while visiting the darling capital of Vietnam, depending on your budget, preference and schedule:

SCOOTER/MOTORBIKE

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Scooter life, photo from The Xtra Suitcase

When to use it: 5:00 am – 1:00 am everyday

Who can use it: License holders — backpackers and couples alike

Price range: Depending on distance and bargaining skills (usually from 11,000 VND to 25,000 VND for short distances)

This has to be the most common way to get around the city. It is the first thing and the last thing you’ll see on the road every day. Almost everybody owns it, may it be a local or a tourist. It is also the fastest way to reach a destination although it’s not for the weak-hearted! Just make sure you always wear a helmet and hold on tight. For travelers who will stay in Vietnam for a long time, you can also avail to own one of this for your own convenience.

 

BUS

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Bus 09, photo from Tramoc

When to use it: 5:00 am – 12:00 mn the next day

Who can use it: Backpackers, couples, friends, families

Price range: 7,000 VND for one-way trip; 80,000-100,000 VND for one-month pass

Bus is close second to the most common transportation in Hanoi but riding this is a bit tricky. For locals who need to go farther distances, this is a piece of cake. But for tourists who want to stick to their budget, this needs a little patience to get used to. City buses do not usually have an English counterpart on their signs and most of the time, the driver and conductor does not know how to speak English. But worry not! You just have to be prepared to get through riding a city bus. Just familiarize yourself to your bus stop and be aware where you are. Also, don’t forget to buy your ticket from the conductor upon entering the bus. You may also want to skip rush hours for your convenience.

 

TAXI

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Hanoi taxi, photo from Ketnoi Taxi

When to use it: 24 hours a day

Who can use it: Backpackers, couples, friends, families

Price range: Depends on distance, flag rate is 20,000 VND

It is a mark of a city when there are cabs around. Notorious but comfortable, this mode of transportation is for the lost and for the luggage-loving people. Be careful riding one though as some of the drivers might extort some money from you. Make sure you ride to a cab that has functioning metro or settle an amount first before getting in. Some reliable taxi companies are Hanoi Taxi, Mai Linh, Thanh Nga Taxi and Van Xuan. If you’re still doubtful, you may use Grab or Uber and score some promotions from their app.

 

ELECTRIC BUS

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Parked electric bus in Hoan Kiem Lake, photo from Tripadvisor

When to use it: 8:00 am-10:00 pm

Who can use it: Backpackers, couples, friends, families

Price range: Around 20,000 VND per person for 30 minutes

These golf cart-wannabes are a great way to explore the city while learning history at the same time. They can usually be found in northern Hoan Kiem Lake, roaming around filled with tourists flashing their cameras and smiles on their faces. It takes an hour for the full journey around the lake.

 

CYCLO

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Cyclo ride, photo from Hanoi Free City Tours

When to use it: 8:00 am-8:00 pm, sometimes even later

Who can use it: Backpackers, couples, friends, families

Price range: Depends on your bargaining skills, starts from 100, 000 VND

This is another  great way to see the city, especially when it’s your first day in Hanoi. A one-hour ride with a cyclo brings you to the city’s famous spots in a new perspective. Take this ride if you wish to avoid crazy traffic or if you just want to relax while taking good pictures. Again, be sure to bargain before riding one and put a smile on your face so the drivers will give you a good deal.

 

BIKE

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Locals in a bike, photo from The World Bank

When to use it: Every time

Who can use it: Backpackers

Price range: Depends on availability, usually free

Bikes are another common transportation for locals in Hanoi. Light and environment-friendly, this ride is an easy way to know if you’re a brave soul. Hanoi has crazy traffic rules and riding a bicycle here is a test of life (just kidding) but hey, just imagine the help you will give Mother Earth! Just be careful and be alert all the time to survive this mad ride. There’s a rare number of bike companies in Hanoi that will let you rent one for a day but usually hotels and hostels offer rentals so make sure you ask yours.

 

BY FOOT

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People milling around at night, photo from DTI News

When to use it: Every time

Who can use it: Everyone

Price range: FREE

Last but not the least, the most effective to get around the city without shedding money is, of course, walking! This is my favorite mode of transportation as I control my own time and pace. With this method, you will surely see the hidden sights and gems the city has to offer that cannot be reached by the machines mentioned above. Keep a map and off you go! Be careful crossing the streets, though!