A city steeped in centuries of culture and history, a gateway to the wonders of Southeast Asia, and an enchanting place to explore - Hanoi. From its magnificent colonial architecture, a reminder of the French colonial rule, to its numerous Buddhist temples, picturesque lakes, spirited arts that adorn the walls, and narrow alleys lined with shops selling handmade wares, the charm and energy of this city will captivate you and capture your heart.
Here's our guide to finding out what to expect from the weather in Hanoi and discovering the best ways to get around, including the public transportation system, taxi services, and more.
Weather in Hanoi
The climate in this region is tropical monsoon climate. Its distinct characteristics are high air humidity with only slight annual fluctuations in temperature.
Average temperatures range from 17 to 19 degrees Celsius in the winter months and 28 to 30 degrees Celsius in the summer months. In colder months, you might expect frequent fogs and in the warmer months, sudden summer rain appears, cooling down the heat. Hanoi also has a record-high number of rainy days a year (as many as 169!).
In the summer months, the temperature might raise up to 35 degrees, plus the humidity, which could be quite unpleasant in the densely built areas at the city center. You might spot many Hanoians sitting by the West Lake or Hoan Kiem Lake to cool down the ambient temperature.
In winter (around December-February), the temperatures might drop to under 10 degrees Celsius, which in a humid climate and in combination with frequent drizzle provides sensations like in Siberia – “you can feel the cold in your bones” as the Vietnamese like to put it. Students might get days off when the temperature dropped below 11 degrees since there is no indoor heating.
Therefore, if you are planning a visit in the winter months, we recommend getting a sweatshirt, bomber jacket or other windproof jackets, which can be easily bought in Hanoi’s Old Town area.
So, when is the best time to go to Hanoi for good weather? The best time to travel to the capital of Vietnam is considered to be spring (approximately March-April) and autumn (approximately September-end of November). But we are convinced that with our company, you can travel pleasantly all year round here.
How to reach Hanoi?
If you travel by air, Noi Bai International Airport is your destination, located just 30 km north of Hanoi. A taxi ride from the airport to the city will take approximately 40 minutes. You can also opt for a bus or a private van (buses usually take longer, even over an hour).
We can also reach Hanoi by train from various cities in Vietnam. Hanoi Central Station is located at 120 Le Duan Street in the city center. From here we can go northwest to Lao Cai (Sapa), east to Hai Phong and Ha Long, or south to Da Nang and further to Saigon.
Hanoi is only located shy of 200 km from the nearest border gate to China (Tan Thanh). Therefore, you can also reach here from many southern Chinese cities such as Nanning, Hekou, and Kunming. We recommend that when planning a longer journey to Hanoi with transfers, all individual tickets should be booked in advance. Buying tickets can be difficult during important Vietnamese holidays, such as Tet.
The cheapest, but also the longest and least comfortable way to get to Hanoi is by bus. The most decent option is Bus Express No. 86, running from Hanoi Station to Hanoi Noi Bai Airport, with more than 8 stops in between, and at one point crossing the south side of the Old Town.
How to get around?
There are many popular forms of transport available: you can get around the city by bus, taxi (car or motorbike), rickshaw, or rented scooter or bicycle.
Riding a scooter requires an international driving license. If you wish to rent a scooter/semi-automatic motor with 110-125cc it would cost about 100-140,000 dong/day and approx. 1.1-1.8 million dong per month.
Taxis will be the fastest and most comfortable, but naturally also the most expensive, ranging from 13.000 to 17.000 per kilometer(about US $0.55 to $0.72). We recommend Mai Linh and Vinasun as these are reliable national brand names.
Rickshaws provide a perfect way to explore the city cheaply and at a leisurely pace. With the convenience of a low-cost, slow-paced mode of transport, you can take the time to appreciate the sights and sounds of your destination.
Some of the less popular transportation for tourists are buses and bicycles. Traveling by city buses requires some practice in deciphering the route of bus lines and finding individual stops; you can buy bus tickets once you have gotten inside the vehicle. Bicycles will be the cheapest option, but with the local traffic, it's quite tricky for people who don't know the city well.
Discover the most interesting museums in Hanoi
Hanoi is also the cultural center of the country. There are many interesting museums in the city, such as the Ho Chi Minh Museum, the Museum of the Revolution, the National Museum of Vietnamese History, the Ethnological (a bit of an open-air museum) or the Women's Museum.
A visit to the Hoa Lo prison museum, also known as "Hanoi's Hilton", will probably remain unforgettable for a long time. We will see with our own eyes the tragic conditions in which Vietnamese political prisoners were held in the 1880s, as well as American prisoners of war during the Vietnam War
"My Village" Show by Lune Production
The next recommendation is to experience the magic of Vietnam contemporary dance in Hanoi’s historical theaters. Immerse yourself in the picturesque Vietnamese village life, rendered through acrobatics and bamboo cirque. Enjoy the spectacular performances with 20 different exotic folk instruments playing live on stage. As part of the experience, explore the historic theaters of the Hanoi Opera House and Vietnam Tuong Theater. This brand new experience has yet to be made in the many agencies itineraries since it might take some time to sit through and enjoy the show. If you’re a theater lover, definitely check them out!
Capture the Imperial Citadel
An important point on the Hanoi sightseeing route is the 11th-century Imperial Citadel with the Flag Tower added in 1812, standing tall at 41 m (including the flag). It is a historic building inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. For several centuries, this place was the seat of rulers and the political center of then Vietnam, and for eight centuries while Hanoi was the capital of the country. The Citadel is a vast, 18-hectare area, part of which is open to the public.
Water Puppet Shows
An attraction that will appear on any Hanoi must-see list is, of course, the famous Water Puppet Theatre . Puppet shows are a fascinating field of art, but we assure you that in Asia you will get to know their even more intriguing side. With actors immersing in a stage full of water, amazing stories of Vietnamese legends, and traditional Vietnamese live music in the background - it can't be described through words, it's a must-see!
As part of the Day in Hanoi tour, we will take you to such a show!
Panorama of the city at the Lotte Center
Still tempted to explore more of Hanoi? Why not take in its beauty and enormity from the 65th floor of the Lotte Center Hanoi skyscraper? Enjoy the bird's eye view of the cityscape while you relax and sip a beverage at the rooftop cafe. Make sure to take in the stunning views of the city and its surroundings, and live the ultimate Hanoi experience!