Hanoi airport transfer what to note


This has been discussed on and on in every travel forums and blogs. How to get from Hanoi airport to the city center. What are Hanoi airport transfer ways available? What is the most convenient? What is the cheapest way? Can you trust airport taxi? What could be the problems if you took a “wrong” airport taxi? Do travel agencies or hotels supply airport pick up service? Those questions will be clearly answered in this post. And it is going to applied to Hanoi International airport- Noi Bai for now. The Saigon and Danang airports will be mentioned in another post real soon.


Been working as a guide based in Hanoi for more than a decade, I realize many people underestimating the importance of airport pick up. Vietnam is still a developing country and things work slightly different from your civilized countries. As a result some of them, being lack of information when first check in Vietnam, have difficulty getting to Hanoi center from the airport. And it could become worse if they get riffed off by one of the many fake taxis. And that could make their first impression of Vietnam very bad. I asked many travelers who said they got riffed off when in Vietnam and the answer was no surprise: they didn’t have a proper Hanoi airport transfer and got into a fake airport taxi. Here I’m listing available ways for Hanoi airport transfer.


Hanoi airport transfer- available services


  1.  Have a private Hanoi airport transfer. This is the most convenient way. The only thing you have to do is to set up with your travel agency or hotel. And the rest will be taken care of by them. I always believe that when we travel, we want the most worry-free atmosphere and it’s not worthy confusing your mind too much just to save up a few bucks. All travel agencies and hotels in Hanoi would be happy to arrange that for you.


Some of hotels and travel agencies would even do it free as a complimentary service. What can be better when you just check out of the custom then walk out of the airport door and there is someone there holding a big sign board with your names on it? Then they say the warmest welcome together with some fresh flowers and a big Vietnamese smile. Then they take you to a private car with air-con already switched on and some cold water to be served right away.


That is it! Your first impression of Vietnam will be memorable. Will it be very expensive? Surprisingly no. Now with a brand-new highway built between the airport and Hanoi center, tour companies can reduce lots of cost for transport resulting to a very reasonable price. Believe me you can have a private Hanoi airport pickup for the price of a few beer in a Hanoi bar.



Our guides will privately pick you up from the airport will a smile always on the face



There is even VIP pick up service for those who want a perfectly hassle free Hanoi airport transfer. The only thing you have to do is to get out of the airplane. Our staff will be awaiting for you at the ladder and take you to a VIP lounge for a nice drink. The rest of the process including custom check out, luggage pick up will be done by our staffs.


  2.  Taking a Hanoi airport transfer taxi. Yes for those who organize your own trip in Vietnam this is the second most convenient way of Hanoi airport transfer. Taxi are well available in front of the airport both international and domestic terminal. Just walk out of the door and get yourself a Hanoi Airport Taxi or Mailing airport taxi. If you are in the international terminal then those taxi a located outside on you left hand side when you walk out. Stay in the line and an officer will eventually get you one. If you are coming from a domestic flight then walk out to the second row outside the door and taxi will come to you.


From Noi Bai airport to Hanoi Center there is a fixed price that is written on a board near where taxis pick you up. It is around 250.000VND (12US$) but if you are traveling out of the center then you may have to negotiate with the driver or simply pay as you go. There are always meter on those taxis. One vitally important thing to note: NEVER, EVER GO WITH SOMEONE WHO OFFER YOU AN AIRPORT TAXI INSIDE THE AIRPORT!!!Ever! They are fake taxi drivers and they are not working for the airport taxi companies. They often show you a name card that says “Hanoi airport taxi” but that’s fake. Real airport taxi drivers are not allowed to go inside the airport to vocally invite their passengers. And it is the same when someone approaches you and say:” Oh you are going to Hanoi center? Good thing as I just drop off my friends here and I’ll be going back to Hanoi alone with my car”. No they are evils.



Noi Bai airport taxi- an official one you can take



Mai Linh taxi- a reliable one



What could happen? At first they offer a very good price that make you think:” Oh I’m so lucky, Vietnamese taxi drivers are so nice and helpful”. Then in the middle of the highway they ask for payment and the price now is 10 times more than you just heard earlier. Refuse to pay? Well good luck with that.  The other problem could be: you tell them to take you to the hotel you booked. But when then drop you off it turns out to be a completely different hotel.



The taxi driver and the hotel staffs will try to convince you that the hotel you booked is bad and too far away from the center. And this is a much better one. If you fall for it then they will both laugh silently inside for successfully fool you around, the taxi driver will then have a good cut. If you constantly ask for the hotel you already booked then the driver will just drive away in front of your boiling red eyes.



  3.  Taking a bus from the airport. This is the cheapest way of Hanoi airport transfer. Now buses from the airport to Hanoi city center are well available and it is easy to get one. From the international terminal there is a brand-new bus line to the Hanoi center: bus number 86 connecting Noi Bai airport with Hanoi railway station via Hanoi center. It is very cheap to travel this way. It cost you 30.000VND (1,2US$) – make sure you have some Vietnamese dongs with you to pay for it.



The only downside is: the bus runs every 45- 55 minute so you have to wait for it. And there are sometimes not enough seat and space when you have a big suitcase. Also those buses don’t go all the way to your hotel door so you still have to find other way to do it.






From the domestic terminal there is another public bus line to get to Hanoi center: Bus number 7. This is a public bus line and it has been running for a while. So don’t expect too much of high quality buses. It goes every 30 minutes and will be filled with people from the beginning so there won’t be much chance for you to get a seat, or much space for your suitcase. This bus doesn’t go on the new highway resulting in longer time getting to Hanoi. And please note bus number 7 doesn’t go to Hanoi center, it arrives to Cau Giay District instead which is about 25 minutes by taxi to the Old Quarter. I don’t really recommend this one. It it dirty cheap anyway. It costs you 7.000 VND (30 cents).



These buses belong to Vietnam Airlines and VietJet



Alternative to that two public bus lines you can take the airport buses. Those buses belong to Vietnam airlines and Vietjet air. They locate outside of the domestic terminal on the left hand side if you are walking out of the gate. It costs you as much as the bus number 86 but you get your own seat for sure. And there is space for your luggage too. Those buses take you straight to either Thống Nhất park (7 minutes by taxi to the Old Quarter) or to Quang Trung street (5 minutes walking to the Old Quarter). I think this is the best balanced way of Hanoi airport transfer for those who want to take buses.



4.  Taking a “xe ôm”- motorbike taxi. With 4,5 million motorbikes and scooter in Hanoi this is totally a possible way. There are always some men with their motorbike outside the domestic terminal offering you a “xe ôm” ride to Hanoi. This is ONLY for extremely adventurous people who are really into sitting behind a middle aged man wriggling in the crazy traffic of Hanoi traffic. My words? No, it is too dangerous and not worth trying.



But I still see people taking it, especially Vietnamese as they are familiar with the traffic. I don’t know. Maybe there are some backpackers who want to do it “the way locals do”. Everything is possible I say.




These “xe ôm” are available at every corner of Hanoi




5.   There is another way of Hanoi airport transfer that costs you nothing and hassle free: walking! Just kidding hehe. The new highway is almost 30kms in length. I’ll leave it to those walking maniacs.



Those above are the 6 ways of Hanoi airport transfer. (Well yes there are only 5 real ways I agree!). It’s up to you to select the one that suits your need and taste of travel the most. Just remember not to let yourself having a bad first impression of Vietnam. As Vietnam is beautifully amazing and has a lot to offer. Don’t get mad with Vietnam just because you didn’t have a smooth Hanoi airport transfer.



Be safe and enjoy your traveling!


By Pham Tuyen