Courier: via Cebu Pacific
Route: Manila – Hanoi – Manila
Travel Date: September 1 – 5, 2019
VISA At present, Philippine passport holders are Visa-free for 21 days.
Noi Bai International Airport
CURRENCY: Vietnamese Dong (See money exchange below)
There are several money changers and ATM around the Old Quarter. Here’s what I’ve got when I had my money exchanged from Peso to US Dollar in the Philippines, US Dollar to Vietnamese Dong through a money changer, Peso to Vietnamese Dong through the money changer and when I have withdrawn a certain amount from HSBC ATM.
- Market Market – Php to USD // Noi Bai Airport Exchange – USD to VND
P 5255 = $100 = 2279000 VND
- NAIA – Php to USD // Old Quarter Money Exchange – USD to VND
Php 2648 = $ 50 = 1150000 VND
- Old Quarter Money Exchange – Php to VND
P1800 = 700000 VND
- HSBC Hanoi (Withdrawn in VND)
Withdrawal (+ wfee) 1500000 VND + 50000 VND = Php 3536.02
A very important note: DO NOT ACCEPT a faded and damaged bills/notes. Several shops are not accepting those. So, make sure to check your money before leaving your money exchange.
Mode of payment: Most of the shops accept cards, yet it’s still better to bring cash to avoid any extra problems with your bank and you can haggle and pay it in cash.
My card didn’t work with AgriBank, so I looked for an international bank and fortunately, I found an HSBC near the Hoàn Kiếm Lake, in front of the Legend Beer.
It was challenging for me to get WiFi from Klook, so I decided to buy a sim card from the airport.
Cost: 300000 VND for 9GB Data
ELECTRICITY: Electricity in Vietnam is 220V and the following plugs are being used:
1. Type A – 2 vertical flat pins – Very common in the Philippines.
2. Type C – 2 round pins
3. Type F – 2 round pins
There are several stores in Hanoi that sell an adapter for your convenience.
TRANSPORTATION/GETTING AROUND HANOI(See Itinerary for the break down of expenses)
- Grab Taxi- I had to use the Grab taxi since I arrived at the airport at 1 in the morning. Very easy to book and a very smooth conversation with the driver. I didn’t bother to take a taxi since I already read a lot of scams about it.
- Grab Bike – The easiest, affordable and the most convenient mode of transportation in Hanoi.
- Cyclos – I used a Cyclo when I felt like I wanted to roam around Hanoi, this is what I did on my 3rd day. I paid 120000 VND for a 1-hour tour.
- Limousine – My mode of transportations from Hanoi Old Quarter to Ninh Binh vice versa
Fare: Old Quarter to Ninh Binh (Trang-an) = 300000 VND
Ninh Binh(Trang-an) to Old Quarter – 190000 VND
- Motorbike & bikes – In Ninh Binh the, a scooter is the very convenient mode of transportation that you can get.
- Scooter = 220000 VND/day with a full tank of gas & 120000 VND/day without gas.
- Normal Bike: 40k/day
- Mountain Bike: 60k/day
** Prices in Hanoi City Center might differ.
- Bus – The cheapest from Hanoi Old Quarter to the airport vice versa. The travel time is only 1 hour for only 35000 VND. If you are from the Old Quarter, Take the number 86- Orange bus from 23 Hang Tre station. Buses are only up until 10PM (Schedules are subject for changes. Better check the correct timetable with your hotel staff).
My cyclo ride for 50000VND from the other side of the Old Quarter to Hoàn Kiếm Lake (It was expensive– I should’ve booked a Grab bike).
WHERE TO STAY? There are 3 popular areas in the city center:
- Hanoi Old Quarter – The city center and the most lively area of Hanoi.
- Ba Dinh District – This is where you can see most of the historical sites and landmarks of Hanoi such as Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Presidential place, Heroes Memorial, Flag Tower, Military History Museum, etc.
- French Quarter Hanoi – Most of the government offices are located in this area such as Hanoi Central Post Office, Hoa Lo Prison, Women Museum, etc. In addition, this is very accessible to Old Quarter
My Accommodation in the Old Quarter & Ninh Binh: All these three are a mixed dorm bedroom with breakfast. All these were booked through Booking.com and were paid when I arrived in the property.
- The Babylon Garden Hostel 110000 VND
53 Hàng Chiếu, Hàng Buồm, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
– The location is very near Dong Xuan market.
- Halley Hostel 107000 VND
16 Tố Tịch, Hàng Gai, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
– The property is very near Hanoi night market and Hoan Kiem Lake
- Trang-an For You Homestay, Ninh Binh 135000 VND
– The location has a beautiful view and near to Hoa Lu, Mua Cave & Trang-an Boat Tour.
– You need to rent a bike or motorbike as the property is 5-7 mins away from the main road.
POINTS OF INTERESTS I’ve got a very interesting map from my hostel. Perfect for a 3-day itinerary.
MOBILE APPLICATIONS TO HELP YOU AROUND HANOI
- Translate Go – I preferred this app because it has fewer advertisements.
- Currency converter
- Waze – if you are planning to rent and even to just walk around the area.
These applications are free and are very essential when you are in Hanoi.