South & Southeast Asia
Ha Noi Hostels
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Ba Dinh District
Dong Da District
Hanoi Old Quarter
Hoam Kiem 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.
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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
"… and baggage storage; • High speed internet and email; • Free fresh fruit and welcome fresh juice (for deluxe and executive rooms); • Airport Transfer: $15/way for 4 seat car; $25/way for a mini-van. In all rooms there are: individually controlled air-conditioning, color TV with satellite channels, IDD phone, refrigerator, coffee/tea making facilities, hair dryer, mini bar, private bathroom with bathtub cold and hot water, 24 hours...
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
"it is a comfortable hotel, with friendly people. The rooms are big enough, it's clean. The tour operator, Tam, is a very kind man who helps you to organize good tours around Ha Noi (Halong Bay, Sa Pa). I recommend this hotel to other tourists from Europe and Spain especially." … "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...
Rising Dragon Hostel
Hoan Kiem District
"… 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 Vietnam. Take a cyclo ride through the streets...
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!" … "… The City View Restaurant on the penthouse of hotel dedicated to serve you an array of international cuisines including Asian, Vietnamese and western platters and especially, the breakfast start from early morning to midday with the changed-daily breakfast. The...
Hanoi Gecko2 Hotel
"… easy access to all that this famous area has to offer. ATMs are nearby, as are shopping centers, supermarkets, banks, post office, museums, and outdoor markets. Amenities: Our full-service hotel provides the most modern features in the Old Quarter. Installed in each and every room are the most modern air conditioners available anywhere, plus safes programmed by each guest with their own password, laptop computers with free...
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
"… Mausoleum, the Museum of Vietnamese Art and some other tourist attractions...There are 22 luxurious, well - furniture rooms in Asian stylist design with elevator to rooms. All rooms have view to Hanoi old quarter, Long Bien - Chuong Duong bridge and the Red River. It brings you an open and romantic atmosphere. You can comfortably watching the busy life of Hanoi city in your quiet room through larger sound proof window.We proud of...
"Friendly, Efficient and Helpful - double room and en suite very clean and comfortable. Location good. Breakfast included which was nice. The building inside is beautiful and the decor felt very colonial. Felt very safe. Staff very friendly, spoke excellent English and very helpful. Booked us rail tickets, gave advice on where to go and looked after our rucksacks on the last day. We would recommend you arrange all your taxis through them as we...
Royal Palace Hotel Hanoi
Hoan Kiem District
"… require. Our hotel is serviced by an elevator and all rooms have wooden floors, windows and are equipped with wood furniture in modern and luxurious style. Also all our rooms have IDD telephones, LG 32" HD LCD TV, DVD player, modern 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 wi-fi. In addition all rooms have coffee and...
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 -...
Little Hanoi Hostel Le Thai To
"… Binh or customized private tours to most regional destinations. Our staff can also help our guests with flight, train and bus bookings as well as visa extensions. We provide airport pickup upon request 315,000 vnd( 15 U$)/ private 4 seats car(provided relevant flight details) Thank you for your trust and continued support. We want to help make your stay in Hanoi as pleasant and worry-free as possible! PROMOTION! *Free...
Hanoi Backpackers Hostel - Downtown
"… 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 tickets, as well as day activities and overnight tours. Our famous 3 day Ha Long Bay and Castaways Island tour departs daily and must be booked in advance. Our free daily walking tour of Hanoi's Old Quarter, is a great...
Hanoi Youth Hostel
"… 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 train station : 5 minute taxi or a 15-20 minute walk . From the airport it is a 40 minute taxi journey to the old town Friendly,funny and young staffs Free Hanoi beer Free Vietnameses wine Free wifi Free tea Free City maps Cheap calls Bar happy Hr 24 Hr reception Money Exchange No Smoking...
Rainbow / Hoan Kiem Grand Hotel
"… Wifi & broadband internet access throughout the building - LCD cable TV - Shower and Bathtub - Scanner, Color printer & Photocopier - Extra bed & Baby cots available - Daily English newspaper - Daily housekeeping - 24-hour security, reception & IT support - Room service (6h - 20h) - Turndown service - Laundry & Dry cleaning - Baggage storage free of charge - Message, postal & courier services - Safety deposit box in room and in...
Hanoi Posh Hotel
Hoan Kiem district
"Welcome to Hanoi Posh Hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter, Vietnam. Our hotel has 31 new and beautiful rooms. It takes only 3 minutes walk to Hoan Kiem Lake. Every room has A/C, cable T.V (lots of movie channels), mini-bar, wardrobe, dressing table, tea-coffee table, private bath room with attached bath-tub. Free breakfast, tea, coffee, 24hr Internet and complementary bottled water and snacks. Free airport pick up for 2 night stay. So, please come and...
Hoan Kiem district
"… reside for both business and leisure travellers visiting Hanoi. Located in Hang Bong Street , the most crowded and oldest business centre in the area of Old Quarter , KoTo Hotel is very convenient and accounts for its tourist-attractiveness and especially KoTo hotel is centrally located in Ha Noi Old Quarter with Hoan Kiem Lake , Ngoc Son Temple , Water Puppet Theatre all are just 5 minutes walk away. KoTo Hotel makes it the...
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!" … "… eggs cooked any style. Free WiFi on every floor and computers in the lobby to keep you connected with friends and...
Hanoi Hostel on Hang Vai
Hoan Kiem District
"… one of the cheapest accommodations in Hanoi. Bed starts from 5USD per 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...
Hoan Kiem Grand Hostel
"… breakfast and coffee - Noise-free rooms with soundproof glass windows - Free internet access - Wifi & broadband internet access throughout the building - Cable TV - Shower and Bathtub - Scanner, Color printer & Photocopier - Daily English newspaper on request - Daily housekeeping - 24-hour security, reception & IT support - Room service (24/24) - Laundry & Dry cleaning - Baggage storage free of charge - Message, postal & courier...
Little Hanoi Hostel 2
"… 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 extensions. We provide airport pick up service 315,000 vnd/ private 4 seats car when you provide us your flight detail in advance for booking just one night or Dorm bed. Thank you for your trust and...
Friendly Backpackers Hostel
"… 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. With many tourist attractions nearby: Hoan Kiem Lake, Vietnamese Historic Museum, Night market as well 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...
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
"… us . •Free airport pick up for at least 7 nights booking for private room when you provide us your flight time and number in advance. •Free city map , Free travel information ! •Free breakfast , Free wifi . •Free Welcome drinks! •Free Vietnamese fruit, tea ,coffee and fresh flower everyday up to your room! BEST SERVICE IN HANOI : For the convenience of our guests, we also offer tourism services on all your demands . You can...
Hanoi Lucky Queen / Ancient Town Hotel
"… Hostel works with reputable agencies to create reliable and eco-friendly tours for its clients, striving to provide the best quality for the lowest prices in Vietnam. * Special promotion: Free: 5% discount on laundry service. Free: 5 minutes local 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,...
Hanoi Tony's Hostel
"… Hanoi Opera House ... Other famous historical landscapes such as the Temple of Literature, One Pillar Pagoda, the Museum of Vietnamese Art can be reached by very convenient transportations. Being at 56 Ngo Huyen street, Hanoi Tony's Hotel is both quiet and peaceful for guests to relax. Moreover, it is very convenient for Tourist and Businessman to stay at hotel, to go shopping and to take advantage of the multi-restaurants such...
Splendid Star Suite Hotel
"… of our prior hotels, aiming at satisfying customers best. Splendid Star Suite is an excellent blend of modern architecture and tasteful design; also all rooms come with a balcony or a large window with large space, so you can see a extremely beautiful panorama of the church as well as the life of Hanoi people. Rooms are equipped with sound-proof glass so as to provide a quiet and relaxed space to escape from the hustle and...
World Backpackers Hostel
"… in side the room; restaurant in the building serving Western and Vietnamese food makes it so convenient for the guests! * Note important: - All rates are inclusive of 5% service charge and 10% tax - 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...
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." … "… Quarter is the base for experiencing the intriguingly crazy beautiful culture, with not to be missed breathtaking destinations...
Hanoi Funky Monkeys Backpackers
"… here, you will get a great place in the very center of the delightfully busy Old Quarter of Hanoi. Come with us to get the best service as you explore and discover our beautiful country. We guarantee that you will be happy and will get to know more traditions of the Vietnamese people with us. With 35 beds to sleep, you will have plenty of opportunities to meet fellow travelers from many different countries. Included in the...
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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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