Hanoi travel tips
You will need a Vietnam visa or approval letter for a visa on arrival to enter the country. For more information and to apply for a visa online, you can visit the Government of Vietnam's online information portal or the Australian Smart Traveller website. You can also contact the Embassy of Vietnam based in Canberra. You may be able to apply for a visa exemption certificate if you have a Vietnamese parent or partner.
Vietnam's currency is called the dong. Although it is subdivided into 10 haos or 100 xus, these units are no longer used due to their small value. Since 2014, retailers have generally not accepted coins, so make sure you have banknotes on hand. Get them from ATMs or at major banks. Credit card payments may be limited to big hotels and restaurants in Hanoi.
Vietnamese food is known for its fresh ingredients, varied textures, colourful presentation, and well-rounded flavours. Be sure to try the Hanoi specialities like banh cuon (rice-flour rolls stuffed with minced mushroom and pork) and cha ca (turmeric fish with dill). When eating from street food vendors, make sure their work area is clean. A lot of diners can be a good indication as to the quality of the food.
Tipping in Hanoi
You don't have to tip when you're in Hanoi. However, giving a small gratuity will be appreciated by the people who have served you. Tour guides, hotel housekeepers, massage therapists, and restaurant wait staff earn low wages. So if they provide you with excellent service, give them a small reward.
Hanoi electrical plugs and voltage
Hanoi mostly runs on 220V of electricity, which is lower than Australia's 240V. Most hotels will have sockets for two-pin or three-pin plugs with flat prongs. Some places in Vietnam will have 110V and sockets for round-pronged plugs. To be on the safe side, get a universal adapter that can accommodate these differences.
Language in Hanoi
Locals in the more touristy parts of Vietnam speak some English, especially those with a high school or college education. The elderly might know some French as well. However, it could be helpful if you learn some basic Vietnamese phrases such as xin chao (hello) and xin cam on (thank you).
Located 45km from the city centre, Hanoi Airport is the largest in Vietnam. Also known as Noi Bai, it has two terminals: an older one for domestic travel and an international terminal completed in 2014. Public taxis, minibuses, buses, and car rental services can be found at the arrivals area.