Hanoi, Vietnam: Trip Summary

Flights & Visa

  • Flew in Scoot, return by VietJet air. The payment did not go through VietJet air booking system, booked through cheaptickets.sg
  • Visa is required for Indian passport holders. The process is fully online and took 3 days for the e-visa to be approved. Applied here and paid 25 USD / person
  • No proof for accommodation or return tickets was asked at entry immigration.


  • Hanoi Pearl hotel in old quarter, near Hoan Kiem lake. Large enough room with 1 double + 1 single bed overlooking the street and a decent spread of breakfast.


  • All of the restaurants listed below are in and around the old quarter and have good options for Vegetarians
  • MET Vietnamese Restaurant, outlet #1 & #2 for lunch & dinner (5/5)
  • King Roti for matcha, vanilla, coffee cocoa-filled buns (4/5)
  • Pizza 4P’s for dinner (4/5)
  • Corner Food for light & quick meal. Fried rice was good, noodles was just ok. (4/5)
  • Chayfood for vegan pho (5/5)
  • Banh Mi 25 for the baguette sandwich (2/5)


  • It is such a big deal that it deserves its own section! Coffee is served with a glass of water on the side.
  • Note Coffee, sticky notes everywhere. Everyone can leave a note (4/5)
  • Cong Ca Phe, communist themed coffee shop. We enjoyed the coconut coffee. Level 2, opposite church (5/5)
  • Hidden Alley, true to its name (5/5)

Places of interest

  • Ninh Binh day trip, booked a private tour with guide Toan through WithLocals.com.
    • Started at 8am and returned by 5pm.
    • 500 steps to reach the mesmerising Hang Mua Viewpoint with Mountain Goats
    • Fascinating to watch mountain goats on rocks high up
    • Exotic lunch at a restaurant that is hard to go without Toan
    • Magical boat ride around the lime stone rocks and caves at Van Long. No tourists unlike Tam Coc and Trang An. Caught a glimpse of the endangered Delccour’s Langurs.
  • Toan is a simple talkative friendly guy. Besides the tour, he accompanied us to the supermarket and helped us choose Vietnamese cooking sauces. If not for him, we would not have discovered Cong Ca Phe. He has a small network of tour guides in Saigon & Siam Reap. Reach him directly through his website.
  • Ha Long bay day trip, booked directly through Jade Sails Cruises.
    • Started at 7am and returned by 8pm.
    • Pick up from hotel and drop in a Ford Transit fitted with individual massage-enabled seats with stops in places with clean toilets. Itinerary was followed to the dot except the floating village was missing.
    • The crew ensured special attention for vegetarian food requests. Lucky with < 50% occupancy.
    • 1 or 2 night cruise are more popular among tourists. Decision of a day trip worked well, no hassles of multiple rounds of packing / unpacking without diluting the experience of sitting back and enjoying the unique landscape.
  • In Hanoi city, we walked through French quarter, Hoan Kiem lake, Ba Dinh Square, Tran Quoc pagoda in west lake, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hanoi.
  • Train street is a quirky and fun experience. Due to a recent accident, traditional entry is blocked with 1 stick-welding policeman. Many fun things to observe- pets, kids, tourists, locals, negotiation with the police man
  • Thang Long water puppet show in Vietnamese language, 1000 year old performing art form. Nice experience but got boring after some time. English audio guide helped to get a better context.

Local Transport

  • Except for once, we used Grab for all local rides. Rides of 2-3kms cost between 50,000 to 80,000 VND. Grab also worked well for the ride from airport to hotel for 380,000 VND

Currency (for Singapore residents only)

  • Instarem’s Amaze virtual credit card continues to work well for foreign currency transactions with forex charges much lower than ~3% fees by credit cards
  • For cash, Changi Travel Exchange. Paid in SGD online a day in advance & picked up VND from Terminal 3 between door 3 & 4. Hassle-free & better rates than the other airport money changers run by banks

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