I don't know the distance to those two places but I guess anywhere is 'walkable' really - it just depends on how determined you are to save a few dollars.
But honestly, if this is the attitude that you are arriving in Vietnam with, you might struggle to find yourself enjoying your time there. How do you know that you will be ripped off? And if you are 'ripped off' - how much will it be - $2 or 3??
Taking a cyclo through the streets of Hanoi is all part of the fun and adventure. To avoid stuff like that because of the fear of something that may not even happen, well... you may as well stay at home.
Go and enjoy yourself. Yes, the driver might drive to overcharge. But walk away and find another driver that is more reasonable. And it it costs a few dollars more, so what?? (Besides, you are more likely to get run over if you walk).
My purpose was not because of fear of being ripped off but personally I think that walking is the best way to see and feel a city. I did it in Hanoi and it was beautiful, you see a little street, you take, just going with the flow! As busylizzy says, any distance is possible.
#3 Indoluso has been a member since 22/12/2009. Posts: 133
Yes, Central Hanoi is fairly compact and very walkable. I also avoid transport most of the time, since I really think this is one town that's truly fun to walk. City maps are free at the Information Center below City View Cafe, and really, getting lost here is great fun. The only problem with walking, is that often at evening rush hour, it's impossible to cross some intersections due to the motorbike traffic. I'll be there in another 3 weeks to try it again.
#4 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,111
I'm definitely in favour of walking around the city, don't get me wrong! I put a lot of mileage on my shoes as I explored Hanoi. And there is nothing like the buzz of trying to cross a road there for the first time! My point is - don't let the fear of being ripped off be the reason why!
We took a cyclo to go to one a war museum and it was also a fun means of travel. Cheesy, but fun. It's all part of the experience.
Absolutely agree on the walking - although if you're here in summer it gets excessively hot! I also think taking a cyclo is a good way to see Old Quarter - it means you can enjoy looking around and taking photos without worrying about being run over! Although it's very cheesy of course! I can't give you a definitive price for this but you should aim for around 60,000 for up to an hour but be prepared to go up a bit on this.
You can walk from Hoan Kiem (top of the lake) to Ho Chi Minh Museum in about 1/2 hour but you'll probably want to take it a bit slower.
You won't get "ripped off " as such by cyclos and motorbikes as you agree a price up front so yes, they will try to charge you as much as they think they can get away with (and why not!) but as long as you're happy to pay that, everyone's happy. As a guide, to get a motorbike taxi from Old Quarter to HCM Museum shouldn't cost you more than 30,000 ($1.5).
You can walk to a lot of places in Hanoi and it is an enjoyable way to see the city. Around 4pm when kids get picked up from school the traffic gets really frantic and getting back to your hotel can be difficult (footpaths are often too cluttered to walk on so if you can't walk on the street ...).
You might like to catch buses if you want to go a bit further (like the ethnographic museum- no 14 bus from the top of the lake). You can get a bus map from the kiosk at the top of Ho An Kim lake. There's a list of the streets the bus will travel on on the back of the map so it's easy to follow your journey and see where you are. The return journey isn't always along the same streets. Most buses cost 3000vnd.
I used to catch bike taxis but the traffic in Hanoi is so bad now I don't feel safe. Cyclos can be pretty frightening in heavy traffic too as you are out front, with the driver safely behind you. I prefer to keep cyclo rides for quieter places, like Hue.
#7 violets has been a member since 6/7/2009. Posts: 151