Is getting a taxi from the airport to the Old Quater in Hanoi and wandering around checking out room options a reasonable choice? Its what I did in Laos, and I enjoyed myself. The only reason I'm uncertain is because of the potential hassles of the taxi.... from everything I read sounds like taxi trips in Vietnam are no fun. Where would be a good place to get the driver to drop me off? Shall I just name a random hotel, or landmark? Thanks
#1 enday has been a member since 12/9/2012. Posts: 30
If you arrive in daylight hours, you can take the Vietnam Airlines shuttle to their offices just south of the Old Quarter - much safer than a random taxi. If you arrive later, I would insist on Mai Linh Group cabs. Head for Hoan Kiem Lake - center of town in the Old Quarter.
If you tell us your budget, we might suggest a few places, but Hanoi is far far more complex and one hell of a lot bigger than Vientiane or Luang Prabang with literally hundreds of small hotels. This year, the travel business is pretty poor, and that means it's a buyer's market. For 2 star, I suggest the Holiday Gold Hotel on Hang Manh. For 3 star, it would be extremely hard to beat the Art Hotel on Hang Dieu. I stayed at both places on my trip this month (both were excellent, friendly, well located and value-packed!)
If you are low budget, has some choice for you in Hanoi Old quarter such as Backpacker hotel. If not, you can choose Golden lake in Hang Hanh, it's 3 stars but not far from Hanoi Old Quarter, especialy, if are lucky, you can stay in Hoan kiem lake view room.
Thanks Daawgon, the shuttle bus sounds ideal, I get to Hanoi mid morning. Yes, i figured this exercise in accommodation hunting would be pretty different to Laos, Im looking forward to it, but I dont eant to spend too much time on it. My budget is up to $20 a night, could probably stretch that to a bit more if it seems really necessary ... I *need* a window in my room, I need non-smoking and I like a bit of character! Suggestions welcome
#4 enday has been a member since 12/9/2012. Posts: 30
From the Vietnam Airlines' shuttle drop off, turn left (the way the traffic's going as it's a oneway street), cross the main road and walk straight up to Nha Chung. After 5 - 10 minutes' walk you'll come to the Cathedral - there are lots of budget hotels along Au Trieu (which runs alongside the cathedral - turn left) and in the alleyways behind. I can't recommend any specifically in this area though. To get to Hanh Manh, which Daawgon mentions, keep going straight (the road turns into Ly Quoc Su) and then cross over Hang Gai onto Hanh Manh.. For Hang Hanh, turn right opposite the cathedral then left, right, left. All within a 15 minute walk from the bus drop off. Or try Little Hanoi Hostel 2, by Hoan Kiem Lake. The list could go on! But as Daawgon says, there are hundreds of hotels and it's quiet at the moment, so as long as you don't have your heart set on a particular place you should have no problem walking round to find somewhere.
I have stayed in the Especen Hotel in the Cathedral area - this is a very basic, but clean hotel. I was last there about 3 years ago in the $25. family room that comes with a very large balcony (currently around $30.) Look at the Especen's website because it not only illustrates it's rooms quite well, but if you go to it's FAQ page, you will find links to some prettty good local maps as well.
Thanks for the advice, I really appreciate it :)
#8 enday has been a member since 12/9/2012. Posts: 30