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About Hanoi

Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam, boasting a population of over 750,000. More than a millennium old, its long and rich history has shaped it as a destination, and manifests all across the city in its enrapturing array of museums, monuments and temples, which blend with bustling commerce and lush natural beauty.

And for a limited time, cheap flights to Hanoi are now available; seize your chance to take a trip to this Southeast Asian wonder! Hanoi is home to Noi Bai International Airport (HAN), located just over 40 minutes by car from Hanoi’s city centre, and serving several international airlines, including Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, and South African Airways. Visitors may head into the city via a number of taxi services, via local bus, or via a minibus service provided by Vietnam Airlines.

Why visit Hanoi

hanoi history

Wonders of History

From the centuries-old architecture of the Old Quarter, to the Imperial Citadel that housed generations of royalty, Hanoi’s millennium-long history has been lovingly preserved.

hanoi culture

Culture on Display

Showcasing everything from prehistoric art, to traditional water puppetry, to 20th century war relics, Hanoi’s museums and theatres play a prominent role in lending the city its distinctive cultural vividness.

hanoi nature

Natural Beauty

Even in amidst the urban bustle, such lush havens as Hoan Kiem Lake and Ba Vi National Park provide a richly natural getaway.

General information

Essential details you need to know before your trip

Country Vietnam
Currency Dong
Exchange Rate 1 ZAR = 1699.94 VND
Language Vietnamese
Hub Airport Noi Bai International Airport
Airline Vietnam Airlines
Time Zone GMT +7
Travel Adaptor Type A, C, G

Best time to visit Hanoi

It may be Southeast Asia, but that doesn’t mean it can’t get chilly. December to February, Vietnam’s winter, generally hovers between 15°C and 20°C, but has been known, on occasion, to drop as low as 10°C. But assuming you remember to pack a jacket, it’s hardly an unpleasant time to visit the city – you’ll avoid the heavier surge of tourists and, assuming you’re there at the right time, you may well get the chance to witness the colour and vibrancy of the annual Tết Festival, a celebration of the Vietnamese New Year. Should you wish to be in Hanoi during the time of the thinnest crowds and the best accommodation details, June to August (summer) is low season; however, you’ll need to be prepared to face the heat and humidity for which the region is famous. Temperatures around this time generally hover between the upper 20s and lower 30s, and have been known to climb as high as 40°C; while the rain is also its thickest around this time. And of course, March to May (spring) and October to early December (mid-autumn to early winter) are when the weather is at its most pleasantly middling; but you’ll need to be ready to navigate your way through hefty crowds of tourists.

Weather & Climate in Hanoi

Average temperature (°C) & rainfall levels (mm) per month

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Low °C 15°C 15°C 18°C 21°C 24°C 25°C 26°C 26°C 25°C 22°C 19°C 15°C
High °C 19°C 19°C 23°C 26°C 31°C 32°C 32°C 32°C 31°C 28°C 24°C 21°C
Rainfall (mm) 10 30 50 100 150 190 210 200 160 100 60 30

Overview

In its enrapturing museums and gorgeous architecture, in its shops, homes, and in the daily lives of its people, the enrapturing history and culture of this 1000-year-old city is reflected upon every street corner, in amidst lush natural beauty. To explore Hanoi is to step through the centuries, and immerse oneself in a society built on a foundation of lovingly maintained artistic and cultural sensibility.

Visa & Customs

South Africans must obtain a valid visa to enter Vietnam. Enquiries may be made on the official website of the Vietnam embassy in South Africa, or at the embassy itself, located at 87 Brooks Street, Brooklyn, Pretoria. Applicants require an official visa application form (downloadable from the embassy website), as well as a passport with at least six months of remaining validity, a colour ID photo, and proof of flight booking and visa fee payment.

Health & Safety

The Centres for Disease Control recommends that travellers to Hanoi ensure that all of their routine vaccines – particularly tetanus – are up to date, and that, in addition, they ensure that they receive vaccinations against Hepatitis A and typhoid, both of which can potentially be spread through contaminated food and water. In addition, travellers with sensitive respiratory systems should be aware that Hanoi’s levels of air pollution are, in some areas, very high.

Tourists to Hanoi, generally speaking, rarely experience serious crime. However, as is the case in any capital, travellers should keep an eye on their valuables, particularly in crowded areas, and be sure to avoid secluded areas after dark. In addition, Hanoi traffic is heavy, and travellers should be greatly cautious when crossing the street.

Cost of Living

ITEM CAPE TOWN JOHANNESBURG HANOI
Meal, inexpensive restaurant R100.00 R100.00 R23.61
Domestic beer (0.5 litre draught) R25.00 R25.00 R11.80
Cappuccino (regular) R22.33 R22.38 R21.79
Taxi 1km (normal tariff) R10.00 R10.00 R7.08
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro) R37.50 R38.00 R14.75

Where to stay?

As with any trip, picking where you ought to stay in Hanoi has everything to do with what you most want out of your trip. The accommodation establishments in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, for instance, offer affordable fees, as well as easy access to some of the city’s most enchanting old architecture and its bustling street markets; while the nearby French Quarter represents the more high-class arm of the city, offering luxury accommodation and upmarket shopping in exchange for pricier fares. Ba Dinh District, meanwhile, offers easy access to most of the world-famous landmarks that most travellers come to Hanoi to see, though its prices tend to be more middling. Really, it all comes down to what you, personally, are looking for. The cost of staying at these establishments ranges from under R300 to over R 5000.

Getting Around

Travellers in Hanoi have access to a great variety of transportation services; being sure to pick the right ones, however, will likely be a lot easier on your wallet.

Taxi cabs can be flagged down on almost any Hanoi street corner, as can motorbike taxis (xe om) and cyclos (foot-powered carts). However, there are few fixed fares for such services, and scams are sadly frequent; travellers would be wise to negotiate a fee before setting out. The city’s bus services offer more fixed and affordable fares, but you’d be wise to study their routes before climbing aboard.

And of course, should you wish to make your own way through the city, many of its central attractions are quite close enough together to simply make your way on foot – it’s an invigorating experience, and a good way to avoid the traffic.

Main attractions in Hanoi

Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake

Temple of Literature

Temple of Literature

Ho Chi Mihn Mausoleum

Ho Chi Mihn Mausoleum

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