Grateful for the rapid development of tourism for some recent years, backpackers can travel to Hanoi, the time-honored capital of Vietnam, with very low expense throughout the trip. I recommend you to read Hanoi travel guide for backpackers in this article if you have a plan to attend Hanoi in the near future while not having abundant money. By spending only 50 USD/day, after the journey, you will able to save up a great deal of money.
Hanoi travel guide – Transfer from and to airport
When you arrive in Noi Bai Airport, the international airport in Hanoi located 45 km from the city center, there are four options for you to move to the inner city. Firstly, you can take a taxi. This selection is very convenient since you can go to your accommodation directly although it is quite expensive, up to 10 USD. The second is to use public buses. In spite of being very cheap, under 0.5 USD/route, they are frequently crowded, and you need to ask the driver to know the precise route to your destination.
Next is to go by fixed-route buses operated by the airport. You don’t need to worry about being lost for this option, and the bus fare, about 2 USD, as well. The final one is also the most exorbitant, 25 USD to use the service of pick-up at airport. Some hostels and hotels only serve you with this service if you book their room in advance. However, you will certainly disquiet about Hanoi’s complicated transportation systems these days. When you come back the airport, you can select such vehicles again.
Hanoi travel guide – Accommodation
What backpackers concern about during the time they travel in Hanoi most is the expense for accommodation. Actually, there are numerous residential areas for them to stay with a very reasonable price.
Total cost: 4 – 5 to 25 USD/night
Usually, hostels offer much lower prices than hotels do since they have dorms for many travelers to live together. In this choice, the sum of money you have to pay is around 4 – 5 USD/night. Of course, there are also private rooms there, but the cost is higher, up to 20 – 25 USD/night. The internet connection is free, and some hostels also give you free breakfast. It is noticeable that you need to check whether a self-catering room is available if you want a kitchen.
Due to a fact that lots of hostels in the city center have low-quality services, Hanoi travel guide for backpackers suggests you some highly-appreciated ones. They are:
1. See you at Lily’s
Address: No.16 Ngo Huyen, Hang Trong Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
2. Cheetah Hostel
Address: No.117, Hang Bac Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
3. Hanoi backpackers hostel – Downtown
Address: No.9, Ma May Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Total cost: 20-25 USD/night
With limited budgets, the well-suited option to backpackers could be 2-star or 3-star hotels that, luckily, are ubiquitous in the Old Quarter and some areas nearby. By paying up to 25 USD/night, you are able to find the high-quality one having an in-house restaurant and a fully-equipped guestroom if you desire to stay alone. Free wi-fi access and daily breakfast are given too.
However, it would be more economical and you could use more modern and comfortable appliances in high-rank hotels if you shared a double room with your companion or acquaintance. From example, you can stay in the hotel with sumptuous restaurant and lake view while spending around 20-22 USD/person/night. What a budget option!
Some best budget accommodation for you:
1. Noble and Swan Boutique Hotel
Address: No.16H Duong Thanh Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
2. Au Coeur d’Hanoi Boutique Hotel
Address: No.62 Hang Be Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
3. Anise Hotel Hanoi
Address: No.22 Quan Thanh, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
Apartment – Homestay
Total cost: 25-28 USD/night
In the case you favor a self-catering apartment or a homestay, you are likely to find an affordable one in Hanoi quite difficulty since the price is from 25-28 USD/person/night. Moreover, most homestays are suitable for a group of 4 people rather than a couple. You ought to take consideration of this choice very carefully before making decision. Of course, the apartment is full of basic rooms, such as kitchen, living room and bedroom. Some prominent apartments are:
1. Au Frais Homestay
Address: The 9th floor, No. 23 Tay Ho Street, Tay Ho District, Hanoi
2. Le Bleu Long Bien Homestay
Address: The 28th floor, Mipec Riverside Apartment Building, No.2 Long Bien Street, Long Bien District, Hanoi
3. Momento Homestay
Address: No.48A, Trang Thi Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Hanoi travel guide – Food and drinks
Total cost: 10 USD/day
In fact, if you claim that the cost of food and drinks in the hotel’s restaurant is a bit expensive, let’s try some outside. Excitingly, there are countless eateries in the Old Quarter. Therefore, you will not need to worry about searching for a suitable one for a long time.
Due to the abundance of food in Hanoi, the price is much more reasonable. You can have many dishes at food streets for less than 8 USD/day. Meanwhile, at an ordinary restaurant, the average price for a meal is nearly 4-5 USD/person. The most common dishes are still “Pho” and some rice noodles such as Bun Cha, Bun Ca. If you are interested in these, for a dish, you will pay only 3 USD/meal.
Regarding drinks, I advise you to taste Fresh Beer, or “Bia Hoi” in Vietnamese. It’s extremely cheap, under 1 USD/glass. Usually, many restaurants also show this beverage in the menu.
Some famous restaurants:
1. Huong Lien Restaurant
Address: No.24, Le Van Huu Street, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi
2. Highway 4 Restaurant
Address: No.5 Hang Tre Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
3. Quan An Ngon Restaurant
Address: No.18 Phan Boi Chau Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Hanoi travel guide – Transportation
Total cost: 1.5 USD/day
Hopefully, most of Hanoi’s attractions are sited in Hoan Kiem District and Ba Dinh District. Consequently, if your starting point is the Old Quarter, there are two suggestive low-cost means of transport for you: local bus and bike. For the former, you might not control your route, and from the bus station, you have to walk a long distance to arrive your final destinations. The expense for it is about 0.5 USD/route. For the latter, you can rent a bike at your hotel with the price of 1.5 USD/day. However, you must check Google Maps frequently to determine your route accurately.
Hanoi travel guide – Excursion
Total cost: 1-3 USD/day
Notably, many places of interest in Hanoi are free for any visitors, while the others are so inexpensive. To view all of them, in this Hanoi travel guide for backpackers, I think you could follow this schedule below:
First day – Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple, The Huc Bridge the Old Quarter, Thang Long Water Puppet Theater and Dong Xuan Market.
Second day – Hoa Lo Prison, Vietnamese Women’s Museum, Hanoi Opera House, Trang Tien plaza, and National Museum of Vietnamese History.
Third day – National Army Museum, The Temple of Literature, Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts, Ho Chi Minh Museum & Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda.
Fourth day – Presidential Palace, Hanoi Botanic Garden, Tran Quoc Temple, The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology and the Westlake.
Especially, at the weekend, some streets around Hoan Kiem Lake are transferred to pedestrian zones where a lot of dynamic activities, from street music festival to outdoor games, are held. You should not miss them if you have a chance to see.
Hanoi travel guide – Shopping
Total cost: depending on the rest of your budget, from 4.5 – 20 USD/day
Obviously, during the time you stay in Hanoi, there are loads of shops and stores to let you go shopping. That is not to mention Dong Xuan Market, where thousands of souvenirs, traditional food and clothes are displayed, contributing to the sparkling light of this region at night. Perhaps you will have a desire to buy all of them.
However, remember that before purchasing anything, you must barter it to get an acceptable price. This is because no price signs are shown up, as well as visitors and even local people are usually offered with a higher price than the true one so that the sellers can maximize their profit. If you don’t know how to bargain cleverly, just ask the hotel’s staff or experienced travelers.
For more money to go shopping, again, I suggest that you should prefer cheap hotels or hostels I mentioned above.
Overall, when you stick to my Hanoi travel guide for backpackers, what you will pay for a day is only 50 USD maximum. Believe in me, do not overthink your pocket, and enjoy the holiday of a lifetime in this peaceful city entirely.