From staying safe to visa matters, here a few tips for travellers planning their first trip to Hanoi.
When to Go: Located in northern Vietnam, subtropical Hanoi heats up from May to September, with average daily highs of around 31 degrees Celsius, and cools down from November to March (average highs in the low 20s C). Warmer temperatures bring the heaviest rainfall, while it’s driest during the comparatively cooler season; April, September, and October are the sweet spots.
Book your airfare and Somerset serviced apartment well in advance if planning to visit around the annual Tết (Vietnamese New Year) festival, which falls in either January or February. This is one of the busiest times to travel in Vietnam.
Visas: Most Vietnam visitors must obtain a visa prior to arrival, though exemptions are granted for citizens of certain countries, mostly in Asia and Europe. If you do need a visa, the easiest way to get one is by applying online for a visa on arrival. To collect this visa at the airport, it’s essential to have a printed copy of the approval letter—sent via email—along with all other required documents outlined on the visa application, including passport photos.
Fees vary based on the number of entries and length of visa validity. Check the Vietnam visa website for more information and to submit an online application.
Safety: Hanoi is generally a safe, welcoming city, and visitors rarely experience violent crime. There are a few basic things to keep in mind, however:
- Look both ways—repeatedly—while crossing the street, and cross at an assured, steady pace.
- Pickpocketing does happen occasionally, particularly around busy markets and tourist areas. Men should carry wallets in their front pocket, and women should take special care to secure handbags.
- Always agree on a price for services—cyclo rides, tours, etc.—beforehand.
- Stay calm at all times and do not escalate any potential conflicts by raising your voice or otherwise becoming visibly agitated.