For travellers well versed in the ways of Asian cities, Hanoi is a lot of fun to explore by motorbike. Most guesthouses and hotels can arrange new motorbikes for around US$5 a day. However, for the uninitiated, it is not the easiest place to learn. Traffic conditions are definitely not as orderly as home, and driving at night can be dangerous, particularly crossing the busy junctions with no traffic lights. Then there are the hassles of dealing with parking and possible theft. It’s also easy to unknowingly violate road rules, in which case the police will help you part with some cash.
There are now more than 60 public bus lines serving routes in and around Hanoi. The buses are clean and comfortable, and the fare is just 3500d: only walking would be cheaper. Pick up a copy of the Xe Buyt Hanoi (Hanoi bus map; 5000d) from recommended bookstores on Pho Trang Tien. It is all in Vietnamese but easy enough to follow with routes and numbers clearly marked.
There are several companies in Hanoi offering metered taxi services. All charge similar rates. Flag fall is around 10, 000d to 15, 000d, which takes you one or two kilometres; every kilometre thereafter costs about 8000d. Bear in mind that there are lots of dodgy operators with high-speed meters. Try and use the more reliable companies:
Airport Taxi (873 3333)
Hanoi Taxi (853 5353)
Mai Linh Taxi (822 2666)
Taxi CP (824 1999)
A good way to get around Hanoi is by bicycle, although the traffic can be daunting at first. Many guesthouses and cafés offer these for rent for about US$1 to US$2 per day.