If you’ve been in some southern Asian countries, you will be told that the quality of public transportation in those countries is quite err….uncomfortable, except for Singapore and Malaysia. The old local buses with fans add some vintage vitamins for your trip to Asian countries, so they aren’t really bad.
Back in Hanoi, the public system has improved dramatically recently, with new routes, new buses, and better services. So if you are going to Hanoi, you want to save some money for going around, and you don’t want to be scammed by an unauthorized taxi, then the bus is your perfect choice.
Just like many old Hanoians who drive motorbikes for riding bicycles seem to be too dangerous for the going-to-be-more-crowded city, they love to sit from one end to another end of a bus route, watching the city and sometimes talk about how the city was when they were younger.
Hanoi public transportation
Hanoi has 110 bus routes inside the city from no01 to no106, BRT 01 (rapid bus), some routes such as no 20, 21, 22, 35, etc. are divided into 20a, 20b, and similar so it will sometimes be confused.
For those buses, you will pay an equally 7,000 VND for each ride; except for the bus, number 86 from Hanoi Station to Noi Bai Airport. Each ride on Express bus 86 cost you 35,000 VND, the bus is the best way to move from Noi Bai airport to the city, and it stops at some places near the Old Quarter.
The service on the bus has improved significantly recently. While the bus attendants can’t speak English or very limited English, they can understand English, and frequent passengers are students so they can use English and they are more than happy to help you with direction and translation.
There is a new sightseeing tour in Hanoi by double-decker buses with flexible bus stops at different visiting sites in Hanoi.
Getting around the city by bus
Express Bus 86 – Noi Bai Airport to Hanoi city centre
Price: 35,000 VND (~1.5 USD). The ticket can be brought directly from bus attendants. They only accept Vietnam dong, but you can pay by Visa or Mastercard, be noted that Vietnam Dong is preferred and you can avoid some service fees.
The buses stand out in bright red and yellow colours with English and Vietnamese signs. It will take roundly 1 hour from Noi Bai Airport to City Centre, each bus is 25 minutes apart from the other. The earliest bus is at 5.05 am at Hanoi Railway Station, and at 6.18 am at Terminal 1 – Noi Bai Airport.
The latest bus is at 21.40 pm from Hanoi Railway Station, and at 22.58 at Terminal 1 – Noi Bai Airport. You will see a sign of bus 86 at Terminal 1 and 2 Noi Bai Airport, but if you can’t find it, ask some security guys, don’t ask someone who looks like taxi driver they will try to convince you to take a taxi which is expensive.
From city centre to airport: Hanoi Central Railway Station -> bus stop opposite the Melia Hotel -> Hanoi Post Office -> 23 Hang Tre –> Long Bien Bus Terminal (E11) -> intersection Yen Phu – Cua Bac -> intersection Au Co – Xuan Dieu -> Au Co – Lac Long Quan (468 Au Co) –> Terminal 1 -> Terminal 2. (From Friday to Sunday, the bus will stop at No 6C Phan Chu Trinh instead of the Hanoi Post Office due to a traffic ban for the weekend.)
From airport to city centre: Terminal 1 -> Terminal 2–> Au Co – Lac Long Quan (523 Au Co str)–> Au Co – Xuan Dieu stop -> intersection Yen Phu – Cua Bac -> Long Bien Bus Terminal -> 142 Tran Quang Khai –> Hanoi Opera House -> Hanoi Melia Hotel -> Hanoi Central Railway Station. (From Friday to Sunday, the bus will go to Tran Quang Khai – Tran Khanh Du – Tran Hung Dao – Hanoi Railway Station.)
Hanoi sightseeing double-decker bus
You can find this bus service convenient and flexible to discover the most famous visiting sites in Hanoi, the bus has 13 bus stops and you can visit as long as you want, at your own pace.
The price is from 13 US$ – 30 US$ depending on the valid time of using the bus.
Meeting point| Bus Stops:
- First stop/ Starting point:
Mon – Fri: Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square – Hoan Kiem Lake (No.1 Dinh Tien Hoang st.)
Sat-Sun: Hanoi Opera House (No. 1 Trang Tien St.)
- No. 4B Trang Thi St.
Nearby attraction: St. Joseph’s Cathedral (No. 40 Nha Chung St.)
- Vietnam Military Museum (No. 28A Dien Bien Phu St.)
- Opposite The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (No. 49 Dien Bien Phu St.)
- 100m from Quan Thanh Temple (Quan Thanh & Thanh Nien st.)
- Tran Quoc Pagoda (Thanh Nien St.)
- No.6 Hoang Dieu St. – Nearby attractions: Cua Bac Church (No.56 Phan Dinh Phung St.)
- Opposite The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long (No.19C Hoang Dieu st.)
- The Temple of Literature (No.58 Quoc Tu Giam St.)
- Opposite 52A Ly Thuong Kiet St.
Nearby attraction: Hoa Lo Prison Relic – (No.1 Hoa Lo St & Quan Su Pagoda)
- Opposite the Museum of Vietnamese Women (No. 36 Ly Thuong Kiet St.)
- Hanoi Opera House – (No. 1 Trang Tien St.)
- Hanoi Post Office – (No.75 Dinh Tien Hoang St.)
- Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square- Hoan Kiem Lake (No.1 Dinh Tien Hoang st.)
Some nice bus routes to get around the city
Starting from Hoan Kiem Lake as the city centre, from here, you can go to Temper of Literature by bus No 02, from Trang Thi Bus Stop (Near Trang Thi and Quang Trung interaction)
To visit Ho Chi Minh complex, you walk to the bus top near Hoan Kiem Lake fountain, take bus No 09 to No 18 Le Hong Phong. The complex is a 2-minute walk to Chu Mot Cot Street. The Ho Chi Minh complex includes Ba Dinh Square, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda and Ho Chi Minh Museum.
The same bus No 09 also takes you to the Imperial Citadel of Hanoi. Stop at Flag Tower of Hanoi – Cot Co Ha Noi bus stop and turn left to Hoang Dieu Street where you can see the entrance gate of the citadel. Near the Flag Tower of Hanoi is Vietnam Military Museum, a nice place if you are interested in Vietnam war battlefield techniques and tactics, you also can take photos with tanks and get to the top of the Flag Tower.
>>> Top tourist attractions in Hanoi to visit during the day
From Hoan Kiem Lake to Tran Quoc Pagoda, you walk to No.06 Trang Thi bus station, take the bus no45 and stop at 192A Quan Thanh, turn right to Thanh Nien street and walk for 1km. If you don’t want to walk, you can take bus no 50 for two stops opposite to no28C Thanh Nien Station which is opposite to Tran Quoc Pagoda.
Bat Trang is an ancient ceramic village in Hanoi. To go to Bat Trang, first, you go to No.23 Hang Tre Station, take bus No 08 to Long Bien Bus Terminal, walk to E3.2 Platform and take bus No 47A, the last station on this route is Bat Trang Village.
If you have time and want to discover a less touristy place, I suggest you go to Van Phuc Village which is famous for the silk-making craft. Get on the bus no02 at No.6 Trang Thi or 22B Hai Ba Trung, stop at 148 Tran Phu – Ha Dong, next catch the bus no19 to 15 Cau Am Station (Ha Dong), Van Phuc Village is next to this station.
Finally, going by bus is really a fun way to go around Hanoi. You can try to download the app: Timbus to find bus routes and track bus movement.