The 35 km ride into central Hanoi from Noi Bai airport takes 45-minutes. An airport minibus service operates throughout the day. Tickets ($4) are on sale inside the airport building or on the bus, which drops you outside its main office on Hoan Kiem Lake. Airport taxis (04-8733333) now have a standard price of $15 for the ride into Hanoi. The taxis wait outside at the airport entrance. You can pay the fare in Dollars if you don't want to change money at the airport.
Hanoi's train station is located 1km west of centre, on Le Duan. Trains from Ho Chi Minh City and the south or from China stop at the main station. However, trains from the east and north (Haiphong, Lang Son and Laocai) stop at the rear of the main station. You exit on a narrow street called Tran Quy Cap.
Hanoi's three public bus stations are located some way from the city centre, which means you have to catch a city bus, cyclo or xe om (motorcycle taxi) to get into the city. Long-distance buses from the south stop at Giap Bat station, services from the northeast (Haiphong, Bai Chay and Cao Bang) arrive at Gia Lam station and buses from the northwest (Son La, Mai Chau and Lao Cai) use Kim Ma station. Most tourist buses stop at the north end of Hoan Kiem Lake, near the Old Quarter.
Hanoi's central district is quite compact so walking is quite practical and the best way to explore the congested streets of the Old Quarter. You can take a cyclo ride or xe om for long trips.
Hanoi cyclos can take two people at a pinch. You can also hire a cyclo for the whole day, at around $1-2 per hour. Cyclos are banned from many roads in central Hanoi, notably around Hoan Kiem Lake, Dinh Tien Hoang and Le Thai To.
Motorcycle taxis are the quickest and cheapest means of inner-city transport, but can be a little hair-raising at times. Xe om can be found almost anywhere in Hanoi. You should generally pay 50c for a ride across town. Longer journeys to the suburbs or Tay Ho (West Lake) will be slightly more.
Taxis wait outside the upmarket hotels and at the north end of Hoan Kiem Lake near the shopping center. Your hotel will be able to give you the telephone number of taxis services. Prices are metered in Dong, the meter reads in thousands so 25.00 on the meter means 25,000 Dong. Expect to pay $4 to $8 per trip.
A bicycle is a fun way to get around Hanoi as well as being very practical. Prices are lowest in the Old Quarter and you can expect to pay around $3 per day, less for longer-term rentals. When leaving your bike on the street use one of the supervised bike parks.
Self-drive motorcycles are definitely worth considering if you are an experienced rider and will be going outside Hanoi. You can rent one through hotels or the travelers' cafes and the small tour agencies. Rental cost is around $6 to $10 per day.
All tour agencies will arrange car rental for day trips outside Hanoi. Prices average around $40 per day which includes the cost of the driver. Very few drivers speak English so you may also want to hire a guide for another $15-20 a day.