Hanoi Airport Lies 35km North of the City
If Hanoi’s Noi Ban International Airport is your first arrival point in Vietnam don’t worry about what awaits you as you step into the public arrivals area. It is a modern, well organised airport from where you will have no problem transferring to the centre of Hanoi Vietnam’s most modern highway.
You should have arranged your Vietnam Visa before arriving at Hanoi airport. In addition, you’ll have to fill out an arrivals-departure card. On some incoming flights this card is distributed onboard otherwise you’ll need to get hold of one in the arrivals lounge before joining the queue to pass through immigration. Immigration is fairly strict so make sure you’ve filled in your details correctly the first time on the arrival-departure card otherwise you might find yourself returning to the back of the queue.
You can exchange money at an official desk in the airport if you don’t have any Dong but if you’re travelling into Hanoi by private car or taxi there’s no problem paying in Dollars as everyone knows the official exchange rate of $1US = 15,900 Dong (Jan. 2006) which doesn’t seem to vary anywhere.
Most Hanoi hotels will send a driver provided you stay a minimum of three nights. We had this agreement on our last visit but didn’t like the hotel so we paid the receptionist $10US and went elsewhere. There is an official taxi rank where you pay for a ticket into the city (again it’s about $10) and you are taken to the first taxi at the rank.
If you want something cheaper there’s a Vietnamese Airline minibus running between airport arrivals and the Vietnam Airlines office in the city centre on Pho Trang Thi (he’ll usually drop you in the Old Quarter for a tip). Just look for the signs once you’re in the public arrivals lounge.
Whichever form of transfer you choose from Hanoi airport into the centre it’s all very straightforward as there’s nobody hassling you in the airport so just get your bearings and head for the pre-paid taxi rank or the Vietnam Airlines bus.