South & Southeast Asia
Ha Noi Hostels
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Ba Dinh District
Dong Da District
Hai Ba Trung District
Hoan Kiem District
Hoan Kiem District / Hang Buom
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.
Other Nearby Cities
(13 Km / 8 mi.)
(88 Km / 54 mi.)
(89 Km / 55 mi.)
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(191 Km / 118 mi.)
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HI - Hanoi Backpackers - Hanoi Hostel
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...
Hanoi Old Quarter Guesthouse
"Hanoi Old Quarter Guesthouse is a small guesthouse conveniently located in the Old Quarter of Hanoi. The rooms are a good size, clean, and well maintained. Our personal favourite is the room on the fifth floor, but on our last visit we were given a fourth-floor room with a large balcony. Traditional Vietnamese Breakfast of bread or noodles is included, and staff will offer seconds at no charge if you are feeling hungry. The Location It...
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 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
"Excellent hotel! Good price, very clean, quite friendly and safe. Everyone as a family member. Food and drinks are very good. Free coffee and tea anytime of day!" … "Happy moments in this small hostel where anybody tries to help you anytime. I come from France and I'm very satisfied for all services and good atmosphere. Please do not forget to go to Ha Long Bay. Recommendation for your holidays in Hanoi!" … "The Hotel is...
Rising Dragon Hostel
Hoan Kiem District
"… plus the modern shopping mall of Hanoi, Trang Tien Plaza. Try one of the nearby salons, specializing in a variety of massage techniques, hair styling, as well as manicures and pedicures. Soak in the culture: The streets surrounding our hotel are filled with French colonial architecture, history and art museums, handicraft shops, speciality restaurants with local cuisine, and art galleries displaying the best original art of...
Hanoi City Hostel
Hoan Kiem District
"… in modern style with the ELEVATOR. All rooms are well-equipped with: satellite TV, mini bar, air-conditioning, fan, bathroom with bathtub and hot water 24 hours. The price is really reasonable, you can stay in a private, comfortable room. We are sure you will have an unforgettable holiday in Hanoi. More ever, our friendly staff, well speaking English always willing to help you with any travel request and recommend to you the good...
"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
"Amazing! You wont find better. - Such awesome owners, 100% ready for a laugh, theyve put everything into the design of this place. It's clean, new, and so comfortable. You'll want to be stuck here for a few days. They'll help sort you out with your trip to Halong bay and even let you keep your bags there. I loved this place, the food was great and the TV was ace. Massive and stocked with goodies. I loved my stay here." … "Easily the...
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!" … "… changed-daily breakfast. The coffee 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...
Central Backpackers Hostel
"Central Backpackers Hostel is nothing special, but nevertheless fulfills the role of a safe and reasonably clean place to sleep. The Location As the name suggests, the hostel is located in central Hanoi, a short walk from Hoan Kiem Lake and the water puppet theatre. Also convenient for those arriving by air, it is a very short walk from where the airport minibus drops passengers off and is very easy to find from there. The hostel...
"Very well run - I stayed at this hostel for two nights after arriving in Vietnam. Mike and his staff were extremely friendly and eager to help me with all my enquiries. They also went out of their way with their hospitality, and the free drinks on the rooftop bar in the evening are a great way to meet people. The hostel doesn't seem like a party place and is pretty chilled out, which suited me fine. The price is obviously exceptional, the...
Hanoi Backpackers Palace / Moonshine Hotel
"… Hanoi Free: Store luggage during period time you travel. Free taxi of minibus pick up at airport for group booking (from 10 to 25 people) So after booking, please let us know of your flight details via our email, so we can arrange your transport. We are looking forward to seeing you at Moonshine Palace Hotel in Hanoi. * All rooms have modern facilities for your convenience. - Large comfortable beds with high quality linen -...
Hanoi Youth Hostel
"… , 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...
"… coffee & tea making facility, complimentary daily fresh fruits and flowers, free use of private computers with High speed internet connection or Wifi are both inside the rooms and the lobby. Great value for those who wish to enjoy this impressive city, Hanoi. * PROMOTION: - Extra bed is available @ USD15, including breakfast - Stay 3 consecutive nights in a Deluxe room or Junior Suite in Aug. & Sept. 2010, you are entitled to 1...
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...
Hanoi View2 Hotel
"… and European style designed with aim to provide the best of first class amenities and hospitality for both business and leisure travelers. All rooms are tastefully decorated with the most luxurious and modern expenditure: AC, minibar, bathtub with hot shower, LCD TV with international channels, Internet…………. Presently we are delighted to provide any tour information's in the all regions of Viet Nam, beside that we could offer...
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 a large LCD TV, air conditioning, a luxury en suite shower and a personal laptop, so guests can use the internet...
Lucky Hotel 142
"Lucky hotel is located in an ideal location - on Tran Duy Hung street linking the Lang Hoa Lac road, located in the developing sector of economy, trade and services of Ha Noi City. With a convenient traffic, it only takes 35 minutes to get to and from the Noi Bai International airport by bus / taxi, the hotel is surrounded by urban areas: Trung Hoa Nhan Chinh, My Dinh ; Big C shopping center, My Dinh National Conference center, My Dinh...
Little Hanoi Hostel 2
"… We want to help make your stay in Hanoi as pleasant and worry-free as possible! PROMOTION: *FREE AIRPORT PICK UP FOR ALL THE PRIVATE ROOM BOOKINGS FROM 2 NIGHTS UP ( not for Dorm bed). *Free breakfast! *Free Welcome drinks! *Free Vietnamese fruit, tea and fresh flower everyday up to your room! Guests may choose between single, double or twin rooms or a newly renovated 4 person dorm, all with classic wooden furniture, their own...
Hanoi International Hostel
"… A/C and mini-bar. Room cost included tax, services charge, breakfast and internet. Termine & Condition: - Breakfast is included in the room rate & served at indoor restaurant - Check-in time is at 14.00. Earlier check-in is allowed with no surcharge, provided that the room is available. - Check-out time is at 12.00 noon - Payments made by Master, Visa or Traveler's Cheque is surcharged 3% - Promotion rate must be...
Friendly Backpackers Hostel
"… as a range of places where are suitable for your taste and hobby : Vietnamese restaurants, souvenir and clothe shops. Also, you will have a chance discover a real life of local residents as well as see a different image of Hanoi city from others “ Hanoi - City for peace” . One of the best things about our hostel is that it is genuinely friendly unlike other big hostel. Locating centrally in Hanoi Old’s quarter,Just only a...
"… wooden flooring, air-conditioned rooms feature cable TV, a personal safe and a minibar. Private bathrooms come with a hairdryer. The daily breakfast can be enjoyed in the dining area. Room service is available. Guests can go for a massage, use the business centre, or make travel arrangements at the tour desk. Staff at the 24-hour front desk can assist with airport shuttle, transport rental and luggage storage services. Fitted...
Hoan Kiem Hostel
"… the famous Hoan Kiem Lake (Lake of Sword Restored), Hoan Kiem Hostel is one of the best middle-range hotels in town with convenient access to many famous tourist sites such as Hanoi Opera House, Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, Hanoi Old Quarter, Catholic Church. There are different rooms available from Single Room to Family Room to match the guests' needs. The comprehensive facilities will make the stay easier and more...
"… It takes only a few minutes; walking to the most famous landscapes and historic spots in Hanoi such as: Hoan Kiem Lake (only 5 minutes), Dong Xuan market, shopping areas, and Hang Hanh for relaxing coffee breaks and excellent food and nightlife.Five storeys, with fourteen rooms equipped with :haidryer,body lotion air-condition, bathroom with shower and bathtub, TV screen with Satellite and Cable channels. Especially you can get...
Asia Palace 1 hotel
"… hotel is nestled in a large street peaceful place which offers you a perfect retreat from the vibrant and buzzing city live. Shopping and entertainment venues as well as bars and restaurants are on the doorstep. Just a few minutes walk away is the Hoan Kiem Lake, and a little further more to the Dong Xuan market, the Literature Temple, the Vietnam Historical Museum, the Museum of Vietnamese Art and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Whether...
Camellia Hanoi Hotel
"… as eating and entertainment options all very close by. CAMELLIA HA NOI Hotel has 7 floors, accessed by an elevator and all our rooms are spacious and well-furnished rooms. CAMELLIA HA NOI Hotel offers you much more than a 2 star hotel. All the rooms in the hotel have wooden floors with big windows and are equipped with IDD telephone, air-conditioning, cable TV, refrigerator, comfortable bathroom (bath and hot shower), hair-dryer,...
"… old city, Hanoi Charming Hotel offers 36 beautiful and spacious rooms with nice view of hanoi old street. Hanoi Charming Hotel is equipped with all amenities that you expect such as air-conditioning, 2 international standard Elevator, Internet ADSL, cable television, mini bar and more. The Hanoi Charming Hotel also features a restaurant serving Asian, Western and traditional Vietnam food in a cozy atmosphere. Other hotel facilities...
"… television, in room safe, bathroom and shower, hair-dryer, Refrigerator and complimentary tea/coffee making facilities, local English newspaper. Wireless Broadband Internet access is available at the lobby area, hotel restaurants. With the idea of taking the great advantages of the information technology we have designed this website with ambition to provide useful informations to assist any single tourist in finding the best way to...
Ha Noi Atlantic Hotel
"… man in finding the best way to stay in Viet Nam. We would like to as sure you that all of our high quality services are provided with the most competitive prices. We are always available 24 hours, 7 days a week to be willing to give you tireless assistances and necessary information, which you should know before leaving for your trip.On the occasion of our hotel resuming open after having closed for 2 months for full renovation and...
"… Hanoi. You will also can enjoy traditional Vietnamese food, especially you will be served by charming girls with traditional dresses in Hang My's restaurant. Designed with romantic architecture and full of sun light. Hang My hotel offers state - off - art facilities and ultimate in comfort and convenience: elevator, wife internet access, city view. A team of staff trained professionally to satisfy travelers perfectly. Other...
Hanoi Boutique Hotel
"Hanoi is famous for its hustle and bustle, with busy avenues, tons of motorbikes, and ubiquitous street vendors. Make sure your hotel provides an oasis of peace and still locates you in the middle of it all! Hanoi Boutique Hotel is a new warm and comfortable Vietnam style, designed to cater to discerning travelers who want a modern touch to their Vietnam experience. The management and staff have worked to make this historic building...
Hanoi Deluxe Hostel
"… hair-dryer and private bathrooms with shower cabin. Within walking distance of the Old Quarter, the Hanoi Deluxe Hotel is various attractions such as, Hoan Kiem Lake, Water Puppet Theater and alongside a thriving outdoor market. Along Bat Su street (china bowls), you will find cafes, an award-winning spa, pharmacies and various shops and stores carrying clothing, handicrafts, and other amazing finds! With friendly and...
"… of the most beautiful and luxurious hotel in the center of Ha Noi capital which will offer you comfortable accommodation with Eastern traditional decoration. Located in the heart of Hanoi, within walking distance of the central business district, Hoan Kiem lake, Ngoc Son temple, Thang Long water puppet theatre, Dong Xuan market (night market on the weekend), Hanoi Opera Theatre,Ho Chi Minh Complex , Ho Chi Minh Museum , Ba Dinh...
Hanoi Guest House
"… - You will be provided an enormous breakfast to start a new day. - 24hrs free internet access. - After visitting the 36 oldquarter strs, you may feel tired., just make for yourself a cup of tea, coffee or juice.Surely that will make you feel better. - Free a room for Guests while waiting for the next trip to sapa or down south of vietnam but need a place to freshen up and store luggage. - Especially, this is the ideal place that you...
"… beds into mixed dorm & female dorm. All rooms are well decorated and complete with air-condition, bathroom with bath-tub and shower and wifi in room. Hang around our Vera Cruz bar which is sure to add some flavor to your stay in Hanoi. You will enjoy your time drinking the local beer , tasting the homemade cocktail, while watching television or surfing on the internet Restaurant on the top floor serves both Western and...
Hanoi Lucky I Hotel
"… with private bathroom, hot shower, hairdryer,&[#]160;bathtub, air conditioner, cable television, working table, night lamp,&[#]160;Private Computer with ADSL internet connection inside each room (free of charge), mini-bar, wooden floor&[#]160;and IDD telephone in all the rooms. The hotel also offers many other kinds of services, like laundry service and flight, train and bus ticket booking, tour booking, motobike...
Hanoi Lucky III Hotel
"… private bathroom, hot shower, hairdryer, bathtub, air conditioner, cable television, working table, night lamp, Private Computer with ADSL internet connection inside each room (free of charge), mini-bar, wooden floor, balcony, dressing table, working table and IDD telephone in all the rooms. The hotel also offers many other kinds of services, like laundry service and flight, train and bus ticket booking, tour booking, motobike and...
Hanoi Mikes Hotel
"… Trang Ceramic Village, Van Phuc silk...Halong Bay, one of the world Heritage and wonders is just about three hours driving away; Perfume Pagoda that is considered as one of the famous pagoda in Vietnam, and even the romantic Sapa... all are just a few hours away. Enjoying your time with Mike's hotel, you are not only served with friendly and professional staffs but also with spacious and well infrastructures. 25 rooms with...
And 223 more listings...
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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