Hanoi need to know guide

Hanoi - getting there and away

22 Feb 2017

Advice and information for travellers about arriving and departing Hanoi including visas, flights, rail, road and airport information.


Vietnam's visa situation is in a state of rapid change. Check with your local Embassy and remember how long you are planning to travel and whether you need to come back into Vietnam. Most visas have strict duration limits and only allow a single entry.

International Flights

Hanoi’s Noi Bai airport is the country’s second busiest after Saigon in the south. It serves direct flights from most major Asian cities as well as long haul points from Europe and Australia. There are loads of options for getting here. The national carrier Vietnam Airlines naturally offers the most services. Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Thai Airways also offer double daily services.

Jetstar, Air Asia and Tiger Airways all offer low-cost flights into Hanoi from various South East Asian points. In recent years, local low cost carrier Vietjet has also become a force in the regional aviation.

There are daily flights from Hanoi to neighbouring Siem Reap and Phnom Penh in Cambodia as well as Luang Prabang and Vientiane in Laos.

Taxis and a shuttle bus service operate between Hanoi’s international terminal and the city centre.  It's also possible to hail Uber drivers. Taxis are now metered and cost around 360,000VND (around 17USD Feb. 2017). Shuttle buses are much cheaper and quality is OK. A slow local bus operates to the centre for around 10,000VND.

Domestic flights

Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific and the newer Vietjet operate multiple daily flights from Hanoi to major domestic points like Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Hue, Danang, Nha Trang, Dalat as well as Dien Bien Phu. Daily flights operate to most other population centres in the country as well.


Hanoi's French era railway station is right downtown. The unsightly Soviet style section in the middle was added after the original structure was damaged in the 1972 Christmas bombing by US B52s.  

Rail services operate south from Hanoi along the coast all the way to Saigon including major points Hue, Danang and Nha Trang.

The train from Hanoi is the most popular route for travel to Vietnam’s far northern mountains around Sapa. The journey to Lao Cai, the gateway to Sapa and the northern mountain country, is under 9 hours and there are many services operating - mainly in the evening. Trains are also a cheap and enjoyable way to travel to nearby places like Ninh Binh, Nam Dinh and Haiphong.

A relatively small number of hardy travellers take the train from Hanoi to the Chinese city of Nanning. These connect to Beijing and other points in China. As schedules and details change, check this out when you’re on the ground and keep in mind you need a visa to enter China.


From Hanoi, road travel to Halong Bay, Ninh Binh, Hoa Lu and Mai Chau is common. If you’re travelling from the south on an express bus, you may also make the long journey from Hue in central Vietnam to Hanoi by road.

Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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1 comment so far

I am travelling to Sapa in August - alighting off the train in Hanoi at 4.30 am. My flight to KL departs at 1300. Where can one go for a freshen up and change of clothes at that time of day

  • Christobel Spafford
  • Hanoi
  • Saturday, 02 May 2015 15:40