The Traveler’s Handbook for Hanoi (2023)

Hanoi’s traffic is crazy.
Vietnam as a whole, including Hanoi, is renowned for its profusion of motorcycles. They number almost five million alone in Hanoi! There is a lot of traffic because there are so many motorcycles. When you take a taxi from the Hanoi airport to the city when you first arrive, you’ll experience your first case of culture shock. It’s unlikely that you’ve ever seen so many motorcycles on the road. It takes some getting used to hearing their continuous honking. In fact, the traffic is so hectic that low metal barriers are frequently erected to block walkways from being used by motorbikes. Footpath riding was observed on multiple occasions in locations without these barriers.

However, people are kind and will slow down to allow you cross the street, but only if you take the initiative. Just keep in mind that vehicles can’t swerve or stop as rapidly as motorcycles can, so give them some extra room. To be sure that the drivers have noticed you, try to look them in the eye as you cross. In Hanoi, crossing the street will definitely make your heart race! But after a few days, you’ll become used to the struggle and find it to be a little bit of fun.

Crossing the street is terrible
People won’t necessarily stop and wait for you to cross the street. It’s a little frightening at first, but all you have to do to cross is be forceful and step out in front of the approaching cars. Several times, especially in the early days, I honestly thought I was going to get run over as I crossed the street.

Dong (VND for Vietnamese Dong) is the name of Vietnam’s currency, and the initial exchange rate will have you fumbling with the notes in confusion. As of this writing, 100 USD is equivalent to 2,340,705 VND. around Vietnam, transactions often start around the six figures, or a few thousand dong.

Be cautious while paying for anything because it’s simple to make mistakes with the notes. Keep adequate cash on hand because card cloning attempts are frequent and your card may not be accepted or work everywhere.

You shouldn’t be shocked to learn that the costs of things fluctuate throughout the day and hour when shopping in a market or store in Hanoi. Everything depends on the store owner’s day thus far, how much business they’ve generated, and how they see you as a tourist. Just settle on a price that you’re prepared to pay and end the negotiation there.

Hanoi’s traffic laws are not strict.
You shouldn’t be shocked if you arrive at a traffic light with the pedestrian light green but the motorcyclists and cars moving on without stopping. In Hanoi, one-way streets are always two ways for motorcycles—who knew? We were surprised to observe no accidents despite the fact that no one seemed to be obeying the traffic laws.

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