The ticket office at the main Hanoi train station, Ga Hanoi, is open 5 am–6:10 am and 7 am–11pm. You’ll find a special counter where foreigners buy tickets, and some of the schedules are even in English. Another, smaller train station, across the tracks from the main one, services northern routes; the foreign booking agents at the main station will direct you.
Trains leave four times daily for Ho Chi Minh City (soft berth 1,371,000d–1,473,000d, 41 hours), but only one is an express (32 hours). The express makes stops at most major cities, including Vinh, Hue, Danang, and Nha Trang. Purchase a day in advance if you want to ensure a seat. Other destinations include Lao Cai (soft sleeper 315,000d; three times daily; 10 hours) and Haiphong (90,000d; seven times daily; two hours).
Contact: Ga Hanoi (120 Le Duan, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. 24/3825–3949, or.)
Traffic in Hanoi is notorious for its chaotic mix of cars, buses, motorcycles, and bicycle rickshaws, known as cyclos.
The traditional way to explore Hanoi’s Old Quarter is by cyclo. You’ll feel like royalty (or maybe a bit conspicuous) as you’re pedaled around the bustling city on a padded tricycle. Rates start at 100,000d per hour. Tipping is not required or even expected, but giving your driver 10,000d is a nice gesture.
Bikes can be rented from establishments such as café–rental store Hanoi Bicycle Collective who have a selection of mountain and city bikes. Prices range from 50,000d per half-day to 100,000d for the full day. You can get the tires pumped up at just about any street corner for 1,000d per tire. Traffic is so congested in the Old Quarter, however, that walking is advisable.
Hanoi Bicycle Collective. While nobody would call frenetic Hanoi a cyclist’s paradise, the Hanoi Bicycle Collective is doing its best to encourage the use of pedal power. As well as serving as a retail space, with several brands of bike on offer, the outlet has set itself up to become a hub of cycling life, commuting, social activity, and fitness. 29 Nhat Chieu, Tay Ho District, Hanoi. 24/3718–3156