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Hanoi Getting Around

Visitors often rent a car when they arrive at the airport in Hanoi. This is an inexpensive option and considered to be efficient. However, travelers should be aware that, in general, renting a car in Hanoi means renting a driver. Car rental companies assign drivers as guides to assist visitors in getting around the area. This is standard procedure and should be considered an excellent method of getting around and getting information about the area at the same time.

Visitors should also know that, upon getting in to downtown Hanoi, it is relatively easy to get around on foot, so not much money will likely need to be spent on internal travel and visitors should feel free to splurge on tours when they get the chance. Bicycling is another option for getting around and can be used not only within the city but also on the nature trails of Hanoi. However, visitors should know that bicycle rentals do not come with helmet rentals so they may have to consider purchasing a helmet for their stay there in order to protect themselves while riding.

Visitors might be confused about crossing the road by foot in Hanoi. Traffic is chaotic, with motorbikes generally, though not exclusively, driving on the right. When it comes to junctions with traffic lights, red lights are treated as optional by a lot of motorbikes, so be as wary crossing the road at junctions as anywhere else. Don’t bother waiting for a gap in the traffic as there never is any. Do what the locals do – wait for a big enough gap to step into the flow of traffic and then keep edging forward at as constant a speed as possible without stepping in front of anything that would need to swerve too much or brake to sharply to avoid hitting you. There is one basic rule for traffic in Vietnam – “Don’t hit anything”. Besides that, pretty much anything goes, though the system seems to work quite well and accidents are relatively rare.

To rent a motorcycle
Your hotel can easily rent a motorcycle for you. They may ask you keep your passport.

Taxis, Cyclos and Xe Oms
Another common way of getting round is to rent by the journey. Taxis can be flagged down on the larger, busier roads, and some (though not all) are metered. Xe Oms (motorcycle taxis) are everywhere – at least at every street corner in Hanoi. Finally there are the Cyclos, a special kind of bike with a seat at the front, attached to the handlebar column. These are offerred regularly to tourists.

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