South & Southeast Asia
Ha Noi Hostels
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Ba Dinh District
Dong Da District
Hoam Kiem District
Hoan Kiem District
Hoan Kiem District, Old Center
Long Bien District
Ga Lạc Ðạo
Within 2 Km / 1 mi.
Within 5 Km / 3 mi.
Within 10 Km / 6 mi.
Within 20 Km / 12 mi.
The capital city of Vietnam, Hanoi, is a vibrant, overwhelming melting-pot of a city. Though at times it can be claustrophobic and wild, this beautiful city has pockets of calm amidst the chaos. The city is divided into several quarters, at the heart of which is Han Kiem Lake, where many hours can be spent relaxing. The roads are an ever-moving organism - thousands of motorbikes dart around one another, ignoring traffic signals, dodging pedestrians, and endlessly beeping their horns. Crossing the road takes a deep breath and a confident walk; just go for it or you'll still be waiting for a break in the traffic hours later.
Most of the hostels in Hanoi are situated in the Old Quarter, where many westerners and locals have opened independent resting places, cafes, bars, and travel agencies. It's easy to book trips to the nearby Hai Long Bay or Sa Pa from any number of these. While the city is always very busy there are many thousands of rooms so booking your Hanoi hostel in advance is not a necessity.
Hanoi is a historic city with many excellent museums, as well as the must-visit Water Puppets Theatre. You'll never be short of things to do here and may enjoy it so much that you'll find it difficult to leave.
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Tay Ho Guom Hotel / Democracy Hotel / LakeSide Hostel
Hoan Kiem District
"The best place to stay in Ha Noi. - Good location, staff very friendly and helpful, They can help you to book Halong bay tours, Hoa Lu - Tam Coc and Sapa tour with the best value and quality." … "OUR HOTEL IS WELL-EQUIPPED WITH AIRCONDITIONER, , SATELITE TV, IDD TELEPHONE , FRIDGE ,BATHTUB INSIDE, WINDOWS LOOKING DOWN STREET, HOT & COLD WATER.... CUSTIOMERS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BRING EXPLOSIVE THINGS,ADDICTED MEDICINE , ANIMALS,...OR DO...
Hanoi Backpackers Hostel - Original
Hoan Kiem District
"HI - Hanoi Backpackers - Hanoi Hostel is a classic backpackers' hostel, with the same atmosphere and clientele you might find in the Western hemisphere. It is a bit different from the omnipresent guesthouses you find in Vietnam, as it is more social and less quiet. The Location The hostel is located in the old quarter of Hanoi, which is the best area for both sightseeing and getting around easily. It located far from the airport...
Hanoi Rendezvous Hotel
Hoan Kiem District
"Hanoi Rendezvous Hotel is inexpensive, comfortable, and located in a bustling part of the Old Quarter that makes a good base for exploring Hanoi. They also function as a travel agency, offering reasonably-priced trips through Sapa, Mai Chau, Halong Bay, and Hanoi itself. The Location The hostel is relatively easy to find, not far from the train station and on a well-marked street. The hostel staff advise against taking a taxi from the...
Lucky Star or Little Hanoi Diamond Hotel
Hoan Kiem District
"… bars. It is just outside your Lucky Star hotel door. Our customers are going to be nicely surprised by the real professional quality of our rooms, our large range of services and our staff. The latter, is able to speak currently English and western languages in order to take care of you and to make your stay as pleasant as possible, in a safety environment. Whether you are looking for peaceful, comfortable accommodation, or a...
Little Hanoi Hostel
Hoan Kiem District
"Little Hanoi Hostel is, like many hostels in Vietnam, part of a much larger hotel (Little Hanoi Hotel, of course). It has one six-bed dorm room, but can turn other rooms into shared, "dorm-style" rooms as well. The Location Little Hanoi Hostel is located in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, within walking distance to Hoan Kiem Lake and a lot of bars, restaurants, and shopping. It is about two kilometers from the main train station and is...
Hanoi Star Hotel
Hoan Kiem district
"Average service - Firstly, it is located at the great location at Hang Bac Street and easily accessible to some of the Hanoi's attractions. "Great Locations!" The attitudes of the staff is poor. They lied to me and failed to fulfill what they had promised earlier. Incidents like failure to arrange the air port pick-up service even though they had confirmed the arrangement. I had waited at the airport for a half-hour until I got a taxi by...
"… Vietnam. We were built in 2004 and started began business this year! Being a budget hotel in the middle of the Old Quarter, surrounded by many restaurants, cafes, bars, shops and ATM, we are perfect for your backpacker budget! Discovery hotel has 6 very clean, quiet and well - equipped rooms with satellite TV, air conditioning, IDD phone, and refrigerator. There is Internet access in the reception and connects to all the rooms....
Hanoi Kangaroo Hostel
"Kangaroo Hotel? More like Squallaby Wallaby! Don't go there. Where do I start? We were accosted on the public bus ten kilometers outside of Hanoi and taken to " the lady's three hotels" with the promise of free breakfast, transfer to her hotel, and we were assured of finding a room for the night and were promised a wonderful time and all mod cons. At reception, around twelve people were "herded" into appropriate rooms as we were played off...
Hoan Kiem District
"I have stayed at the Bodega hotel now for nearly two months while I studied and traveled in Vietnam. My length of stay is a testament to the wonderful staff and spacious, comfortable rooms. Their motto is "Your family in Vietnam," and they mean it. They are very welcoming and helpful and made me feel right at home, answered all my questions and sent me on many adventures. After a month of staying here I was even invited to some of their...
Rising Dragon Hostel
Hoan Kiem District
"Great Spot - I really enjoyed my stay at Rising Dragon. The wifi, a/c, and hot water were all satisfactory and the breakfast was delicious. The communications with the place was great before arrival. The staff was always friendly and helpful, they even came outside and waved goodbye as I left for the airport. It's a great value, I highly recommend it." … "… journey. Join a boat tour to Halong Bay, a World Heritage Site,...
Hanoi City Hostel
Hoan Kiem District
"… ,bathroom with bathtub and hot water 24hrs More ever, our friendly staff are well English speaking always willing to help you with recommending to you the good service any travel request and to beyond your expectaions. Check out is up until 12 noon Credit cards are accepted and are subject to a 3% service charge Cancellation policy is 48 hours before the day of arrival. SERVICES: SE Asian Visas and Visa Extensions...
"Rooms are furnished with wooden shutters and all rooms have baconies or window overlooking to the busy streets of the Old Quarter. Experienced travellers will appreciate this International two star hotel which is proud of it's state-of-the-art facilities which provide almost comfort and convenience to the guest. All rooms feature private bathrooms and shower, hair dryer, cable TV, telephone, mini bar, working table,....FREE INTERNET ACCESS 24...
The Drift Backpackers Hostel
Hoan Kiem District
"Easily the best hostel I've stayed in. - I found out about this place by recommendation when I got into Hanoi by a couple of people that were staying there already. They seemed so excited about the place and I didn't really like the other backpackers I was staying at so I thought I'd check it out. Such an awesome place. The owners are three Aussies and they just opened the place at the end of June and are so nice and friendly. They really...
Hanoi Atlantic Hotel
"Awesome hostel! - Awesome hostel! Great atmosphere, twenty-four-hour reception, nice location, Staff were very friendly and helpful. Overall a great place!" … "… house is the perfect place to chill out over flavored beverages and cool drinks along with soft music as well as the admiring the beautiful scenery of Ha Noi' Old Quarter With the idea of taking the great advantage of information technology, we has...
Hanoi Aurora / Emerald Hotel
"Warmly welcome to Hanoi AURORA hotel is full services. The well trained staffs are on duty to address your needs – 24 hours a day. Whenever you want to go, whatever you want to do, We are there to help you. With Hanoi Aurora Hotel, you will likely to be satisfied with the services such as: free Internet -wifi in each room, hair dryer, iron, ironing board, complementary fruit and flower (daily), minibar, bath... , domestic tourism tours:...
Central Backpackers Hostel
"Central Backpackers Hostel is located in the heart of the Old Quarter and has a great vibe throughout. It's an intimate yet incredibly social hostel where you'll inevitably end up meeting new people -- the free beer helps, too. The Location The old quarter can be like a maze for the newcomer; unless arriving via taxi, it's best to locate Hoan Kiem Lake and venture from there. At the north end of the lake you will see a KFC on a five-way...
Hanoi Gold Spring Hotel
"… you will enjoy the days inunforgettable Hanoi Gold Spring Hotel Boasting 30 well equipped and luxury rooms with windows. Hanoi Gold Spring Hotel brings you a wide selection of room types: Standard, Deluxe, Suite and Family which vary depending on your budget. More over, Wifi system is set up to every corner.There is a spacious and open air area for smokers with sofa and is separated from reception counter. Non smoker has one...
"Hanoi Hostel is one of the best hostels we have visited in Vietnam. The price is unbeatable, especially with happy hour, a substantial breakfast, and coffee and tea available all day. The Location Hanoi Hostel is conveniently located in the Old Quarter of Hanoi. The surrounding neighborhood has everything you could want -- excellent restaurants, and lots of markets and shopping. It is an easy walk to the central part of Hanoi and an...
Royal Palace Hotel Hanoi
Hoan Kiem District
"… air-conditioning, mini-bar, luxurious bathroom with bath-Jacuzzi or bath-tub, hair dryers, you own private computer with free high speed internet access and Wifi. In addition all rooms have coffee and tea making facilities, Safety deposit box and 8 special rooms have city views and large balconies. Royal Palace Hotel is great choice for all discerning tourists & business travelers. Come to our hotel you will be very satisfied with...
Little Hanoi Hostel Le Thai To
"… meal options at very reasonable prices. For the convenience of our guests, we also offer tourism services on demand and our knowledgeable staff can provide no-obligation information on tour options and make booking arrangements for Halong Bay, Sapa, Hoalu, Tamcoc, the Perfume Pagoda, City tours, Mai Chau, Hoa Binh or customized private tours to most regional destinations. Our staff can also help our guests with flight, train and...
Hanoi Backpackers Hostel - Downtown
"… Restaurant & Bar on the ground floor serves tasty comfort foods at reasonable prices and screens all the major live sport on 3 large screen TVs. Happy Hour starts at 5pm and regular drink specials will look after your back pocket. Our knowledgeable Information Desk Team will help you with any travel inquiries and are there to offer advice to help you make the most of your time in Vietnam. We book bus, train & plane...
Hanoi Youth Hostel
Hoan Kiem District
"… , restaurants . The hostel is clean and contemporary with friendly english speaking staffs . There is free beer available between 5 pm - 6 pm , free tea all day , with free coffee 7 am - 8 am . There is here free wifi , internet and 24 hour reception . Tours of the World heritage site Halong Bay are available from reception as well open tour , bus and train tickets. Getting there open bus stops about 5 minutes away. From the...
Hoan Kiem district
"… A ir-conditooner with individual control. * IDD telephone. * Daily Newspapers. * Colour TV with Sattelite channels Safety Deposit Box. * Modern bathroom (bathtub and shower). * Hair Dryer... Guest Facilities: * Restaurant Service. * Travel Tours Arrangements * Flight / Train reconfirmation and Tickets Booking Services. * Bike , Motorcycle, Car Rental Service * Foreign Currency and Credit Card Exchange * Visa Service * Safety...
May De Ville Backpackers Hostel
"What a suprise - Wasn't expecting much from this hostel, but it totally blew me away. Super clean rooms, really friendly staff, and facilities that made it feel more like a posh hotel than a hostel. The free breakfast was even very good. And only six bucks per night -- im not sure how they make any money!" … "… with friends and family. Do Not fancy another night on the town? Staying in at the May De Ville Backpackers is...
Hanoi Hostel on Hang Vai
Hoan Kiem District
"… night, including breakfast, tea & coffee throughout the day With 24-hour reception (no curfew) and our well-trained staff you will have access to all the information and advice you need to travel in Hanoi, Vietnam Hostel Services: Travel Shop - great deals on tours & travel Visa Services (SE Asian Visas and Visa Extensions) Domestic and International Flights Train and Bus Tickets Bicycle/Motorcycle Rentals Airport...
Little Hanoi Hostel 2
"… and Asian meal options at very reasonable prices. For the convenience of our guests, we also offer tourism services on demand and our knowledgeable staff can provide no-obligation information on tour options and make booking arrangements for Halong Bay, Sapa, Hoalu, Tamcoc, the Perfume Pagoda, City tours, Mai Chau, Hoa Binh or customized private tours to most regional destinations, flight, train and bus bookings as well as visa...
Friendly Backpackers Hostel
"… international dishes. Accommodation Overlooking the city, all rooms are fitted with air conditioning. Dormitory rooms have lockers and shared bathroom facilities. The private rooms have a cable TV, minibar and a private bathroom with a shower. Surroundings Friendly Backpackers Hostel is a 10-minute walk from Dong Xuan Market. It is 2 km from Hanoi Train Station and 3 km from Ba Dinh Square and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Noi...
Golden Time Hostel
"… our rooms are clean , comfortable and include an air conditioning units, private bathroom inside, cable television,wifi internet, and a refrigerator. We have single, double, twin and triple rooms to choose from. All our price includes breakfast. Our friendly staff can provide tourist assistance and travel services for your convenience. The choice is clear, come stay with us and have a great time in Hanoi. PROMOTION :...
Hanoi Amanda Hotel
"… restaurant. Local and international dishes are also available. In-room dining is possible with room service. Airport transfers can be arranged at an extra charge. Kindly email or phone us to provide your flight time and flight number . BEST DEALS FOR YOU : •Room rate in included 40% discount for all room types . •Get 10% discount for all package tours provided by us . •Free airport pick up for at least 7 nights booking for...
Hanoi Lucky Queen / Ancient Town Hotel
"… phone. Free: Tourist map of Hanoi Free: Store luggage during period time you travel. Special, special!: Amazing continental breakfast for all kind of room with : 2eggs, bacon, ham,..tea, coffee... Free minibus pick up at airport for group booking from 10 to 20 people(Private room only, not valid for Dorm booking ) So after booking, please let us know of your flight details via our email, so we can arrange your transport. We are...
Hanoi Tony's Hostel
"… it is very convenient for Tourist and Businessman to stay at hotel, to go shopping and to take advantage of the multi-restaurants such as Vietnamese, French, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Italian, Indian, European and vegetarian ones. The most special one is that Hanoi Tony's Hotel is opening Bars counter, serving cocktails, wines and soft drinks . Furthermore, From our hotel, it just takes less 5 minutes to walk to Hoan Kiem Lake,...
Splendid Star Suite Hotel
"… to contribute to your memorable vacation about Hanoi. Dual split-type air-conditioning Restaurant and Cafe service Artfully furnished & equipped rooms Noise-free rooms with soundproof glass windows In-room computer with free internet access Wifi & broadband internet access throughout the building LCD wall mounted cable TV Shower and Sauna Scanner, printer & Photocopier Extra bed & Baby cots available Daily English newspaper Daily...
Atrium Hanoi Hotel
Hoan Kiem District
"With its long history and overlapping cultures, the Old Quarter in Hanoi is one of Vietnam's most diverse destinations. Located at the heart of this significant landmark, Hanoi Boutique Hotel 2 proudly shares its unique nature. Our hotel fuses French-Colonial and Indo-Chinese influences with our brand of hospitality to give you a stay that's unlike any other. Here, amid all the cultural blends outside, you'll enjoy the familiar pleasures...
World Backpackers Hostel
"… Personal lockers. Our price includes Breakfast, Internet (Wifi), all day tea/ coffee, towel, tax and helpful staff with friendly and best advice. The best things about Hanoi International Hostel are the crazy travellers, super friendly staff, comfy beds, Free Breakfast, Free Internet (Wifi), good advice and most of all is FREE BEER!!! We look forward to meeting you and remember Happy Hour start at 5.pm every day!!! Our reception...
Green Diamond Hotel
"… the tours and travel at our reception and suggest you many useful information, please do not hesitate to ask. Green Diamond hotel has many kind of private rooms that suit for you - Single room: with 1 comfortable double bed and private bathroom and air conditional - Double/Twin rooms come with a double bed or 2 single beds - Triple rooms come with 3 single bed or 1 double bed + 1 single bed - Quad room comes with 1 double bed and...
Hi Ancient Town Hostel
Hoan Kiem District
"… at the heart of Old Quarter Hanoi, and only a 5 minute walk to Hoan Kiem Lake. It is surrounded by local cafés, shops, restaurants, markets, bars, art galleries... A Hostel with mix Dorm and Private Room…. I saw what was missing for budget minded travelers, put on my cape and renovated Ancient Town Hostel and jam packed it with all the stuff you want! There are all types of rooms to choose from: singles, doubles, twins, triples,...
Hoan Kiem Hostel
"… centers, sight seeing venues & entertainment. The hotel offers the best convenience to explore the beauty of boutique Hanoi . With 18 spacious luxurious guest rooms, fully renovated with an exquisite mix of antiques and up to date furniture and fixtures, the Hoan Kiem Hostel provides the ultimate accommodation and comfort,and stunning city’s life. It allows you to capture fantastic images and also have quiet rest at best time....
Street Backpackers Hostel
"… street most tourists in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, come with us to get the best service that you are on a journey to discover our small country, we guarantee that you will be happy and know more traditions of the Vietnamese people in the us, with 35 beds to sleep in motels we will meet all travelers with many different countries. The guest could enjoy a holiday with many fun features traditional style of Vietnamese men and with...
Hanoi M Hostel
"I loved my stay here - hey gave a great value for trip to Halong bay and ticket to sapa as well, hostel located near hoan kiem lake, easily to go out at night and come back anytime, some nice bars could be recommend by staff, can ask for some questions for weather, money and some place to eat." … "… style bathrooms, and comfy beds. All rooms feature air conditioning, mini bar, and an LCD television, with free wifi throughout,...
Hello Vietnam Hotel
"… and will be happy to help you enjoy your stay....What is included in your room rateAn enormous breakfast to start a new day.All day coffee and tea maker.24 hour free internet access.Hanoi tourist maps.Free 10 minutes international PC phoneSummer Promotion valid until 30th December 2007.Free pick up at the airport, railway station and bus station with Toyota Land Cruiser (To help you avoid being over-charged by local taxi driver) So...
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Hanoi Travel Tips & Suggestions
It's great there -- I spent a nice holiday with my boyfriend.
I absolutely loved the friendly Vietnamese people and the sights. A young Vietnamese lady invited me home to eat traditional food and meet her family. Find a motor bike taxi, pay him $15 to $20 U.S. and you are gone for a ride for the day. A cold beer is hard to find. There are lots of day (and two- and three-day) trips available for Ha Long Bay.
— John Smith
I went to Hanoi in mid-September this year and had a week there. There are some good, nice, and friendly people there but there are some bad, dishonest, and rude people in Hanoi. When I first arrived in Hanoi N.Bai Airport, no taxi pick-up at the airport even though I had prearranged with the hotel. After this and some other incidents, I had lost faith in this hotel and I decided to check out the next day. I learnt the rules of the game here. I went to the Old Quarter to search for a new accommodation. What I did is, I demanded to view the hotel's rooms first before I checked in. I did not want to trust the web page or statements made by the hotel's staff. Finally, I got a very good hotel. Regarding the daily tours I signed up for including Halong Bay, Perfume Pagoda, and city tour, you have to check the prices first and you may discover that in every tour agency there is variation in prices. The tourist guides I met were quite friendly and helpful except one tourist guide (Halong Bay) -- he shouted at a tourist and almost ended in a fight. How can a tourist guide lose his temper? Customers are always right but in that kind of environment, I think this principle does not work at all. The scenery was good, wonderful, and fantastic! When you want to buy things in Old Quarters, bargain first and if you pretend to walk away, they will reduce the price. Do not eat the food at the five foot way or the road side as I enquired about the price of a plate of the rice noodle, they wanted to charge me USD 2 but the same food stuff is also served at the air-conditioned restaurant at more or less the same rate. Why should you take a risk to eat at the roadside? I know scams are everywhere in Vietnam and you can't avoid them. As some traders are good in telling lies, rip you off and we must stay firm and reject these practices. If they are rude, do not buy from them and walk away -- that is it! There are some honest traders too.
This is a warning of a scam that we have just fallen victim to and i would like to bring it to the attention of future travellers. We are in Hanoi, Vietnam and have travelled up from Ho Chi Minh on the open bus ticket with An Phu. We had no problems with this and found the experience to be pleasant and affordable. At each destination of the journey the bus dropped us at an associate hotel where we were invited to look at the room options, but there was never any pressure to stay if we did not want to. That was until we got to Hanoi. We arrived at the Hanoi bus station at 8am after a 14 hour bus journey. We were greeted by people who said they were representatives of An Phu (the bus company) and that because the roads were in bad condition due to recent rain we were being taken by taxi to the old quarter. We were told that we had the option of looking at a hotel there. So myself, my boyfriend and 4 others got into a taxi and were taken to the jointly named and run Asia Queen Hotel/Old Darling Guesthouse of 16 Trung Yen Lane, Dinh Liet Str., Hanoi (www.hostel-in-vietnam.com). We were shown some different room options and told that the prices ranged from $12-20 including breakfast. We were also told that the Hotel was new, and the rooms did appear to have been recently rennovated (although some did not appear to be finished!) After some discussion with my boyfriend we decided that we wanted to look at other hotel options in the old Quarter as $10 was our budget for accommodation, and the hotel staff were not prepared to do a deal for $10 without breakfast. As we went to leave we were stopped by a different member of staff and offered a double room, without a window, for $10 per night including breakfast (a bread roll with Jam). We decided that this deal suited us and we booked in for 3 nights. The other couples left to look at other options. For the rest of the day we were bombarded by Tommy the Manager about all the tours he had on offer. We said that we were not interested in the tours as we had already been to Sapa and Halong Bay. The following morning when we came down for breakfast we were told that we would have to pack up our belongings as they needed to do some work on our room, and we would be moved to another room. So we did as we were asked but when we got to reception we were told that we were checking out because we had only booked one night and they had a big group coming in. When i attempted to explain they started shouting, and were very rude and aggressive. Eventually we managed to determine that they had offered us the $10 room price to stop us leaving the day before, but now wanted us out so that they could rent out the room at a higher price without fulfilling our previous booking. No other room was provided and when they said they would get us a room at another hotel, they wanted us to pay them a commission!! The laundry that we had given them the day before was returned unwashed, but we were still made to pay for the room and the laundry in full ($17). Any attempts to resolve the situation were unsuccessful and we were told that we were to shut up as we were rude and that they didn't want 'the likes of us staying there' by that i'm assuming they mean people that will stand up to them! Other guests tried to help on our behalf but were told that if they continued to interfere they too would be removed. After we left and eventually found a hotel that had an available room (as it was a Saturday), we were asked by the owner what was wrong (as by this time i had burst into tears due to the confrontation (embarassing as i am a 28!!) We were then told that apparently this is a common practice by the owners of these 2 and their other hotels around Hanoi. Apparently they invite tired travellers to look round their rooms, make them an offer to stop them leaving and going elsewhere, and then if you don't buy any tours off them they terminate your booking and demand you leave. This has even occured in the middle of the night (so i guess we were the lucky ones!) I wouldn't wish this experience on anyone, and i'd like to warn people of this scam. Although this Hotel said it was 'new' i think maybe its just had a name change! I have written to the bus company An Phu, just i case they were or were not aware of this practice. Thank you for your time. P.S: I'm just writing this as a warning, i don't need to be told that i 'overreacted' or 'its what i should expect in Asia' as prior to this we have had no such problems in the previous year nor our past 2 weeks in Vietnam! P.P.S: To Chandler, Thanks for the tip, we have decided to fly to Laos.
I have spent four weeks in Vietnam and have enjoyed it lot. I firmly believe that it's the travelers awareness and smarts that determine how often and how much he or she gets scammed. I have used public transportation as much as the tourist buses and have had basically no problems. I have spent time outside of the tourist trail and find it less scam-filled. When you are in a foreign country you have to adopt some of the local attitude. It's not like home, it's not going to be like home, and don't expect things to happen like they would at home. Be firm and don't give in to scams unless your life depends on it. If you do, you set the stage for it to happen to the next tourist. When in Vietnam, do as the Vietnamese do and take everything with a keen awareness of where you are -- country, politics, society, culture, language, religion.
We have just had a really enjoyable four weeks in Vietnam. I think you have to be careful in any country when dealing with people and money. Most Vietnamese people we met were very nice but we did have one trip that was mis-sold and a hotel who were very rude. I think you have to take a deep breath and chalk it up to experience. I think boycotting Vietnam takes it a bit far!
Learning just a little of the language goes a long way. We met awesome people that live here. As for getting ripped off, learn how to barter. They will bargain. Try it with them with them for better deals, its a tourist place and they always charge more at Disneyland -- this one's more for adults. Always remember you get what you pay for. It can be great if you have an idea of what you're doing!
Was in Hanoi for just 8 days and got ripped off almost every single day. The day tours are great but the vast difference in the prices offered and the claims made by the travel agents were so ridiculously different. We paid for a small group tour which was supposed to be no less than 13 turned out to be a bustling big group of over 30!
Got to agree with Chandler on the shames to be honest. Loved the sites and the bike tours were excellent but the locals in my opinion all seem to lie cheat or steal. Bus ride was same for us. Paid extra for "special airconditioned tourist bus" which turned out to be a local booze cruise with NO SEATS just crates, didn't even get out of the city after an hours delay when something fell of the back and we had to get off. When we decided we weren't going any further they got very physical and abusive with us aswell. Glad I met 3 other girls on the bus, managed to get a taxi and back into city. It was quiet scary though, surrounded by locals grabbing and shouting at us. Got hit a few times aswell as we wouldn't get back on bus! I think flying is the way to get out of here. Totally ruined an otherwise enjoyable 4 weeks in Vietnam.
Someone needs to update the "scams to watch out for" in the travel media. They are privy to the warning of tourists that taking a bus from Hanoi to Vientiane is highly NOT recommended and have circumvented it with their own dialogue, saying - this is a new, airconditioned bus that is the only one that takes you all the way from Hanoi to Vientiane (laos) NON-STOP. It's just like the other buses. It drops you in the middle of nowhere from 1-4 am, where you change to a second bus which takes you to a man's house that wants to charge you $20USD per person to take you to the border in his pickup. The 11 of us travellers, never having met each other, except the 3 couples, were all stuck together and said, "no, we paid to go to vientiane, take us there". After about 30 minutes of them pretending to suddenly not understand English, they took us to some remote location after the border crossing, far from our destination in some remote, dusty area, refused to go any further and after a 2 hour stand-off, we were able to hire another woman to take us (for more $$ of course - I think they all work together on this), to Vientiane. After about 1/2 the distance she demands payment (we told her we'll pay upon arrival, having already been burned). She argues with us for an hour, and we get a 4th ride finally to the city - about 30 hours of travel, including about 7 hours of waiting, arguing, being yelled at, having this woman physically grab the money from the Austrian couple and tried to tackle the Austrian man who pushed her, gently, but firmly away. This incited her husband and were it not for the fact we were 11, I honestly believe the seedy bystanders, who see this possibly everyday, would have jumped us. This typifies 1 of 6 violent interactions I experienced in vietnam in 2 weeks, not counting that every 3rd transaction I am shorted on the change and everyone seems to be shameless about screwing you. I believe the country should be boycotted so that there are consequences for their violent behavior and mistreatment of backpackers/tourists. PS, don't bother if they threaten to call the police, it's a bluff and the police won't come anyway - not even at your request... We called them once and visited 2 police stations to report one such assault and theft and they really don't care. If you MUST go to Vietnam, go over every detail of every transaction in advance... twice to be clear. And remember if it's in writing, it really doesn't matter anyway. PSS, this isn't just my experience - in addition to we 11, we met another bus load who'd arrived the day before us - another 10-12 who reflected our experience, and it's not uncommon to see the Vietnamese in Hanoi arguing with some tourist very aggressively - one such guy got a pair of shoes thrown at him in the street. I've tried to make this as factual and non-subjective/opinionated as to lend credibility... Good luck in your travels.
Absolutely loved the friendly Vietnamese people and the sights. A young Vietnamese lady invited me home to eat traditional food and meet her family. Find a motor bike taxi, pay him $15-$20 U.S. and you are gone for a ride for the day. A cold beer is hard to find. Lots of day (and 2 and 3 day) trips available.
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