Cheap Flights to Hanoi

Hanoi overview

When is the best time to fly to Hanoi?

November to March is peak season as this is when the weather is at its best for visitors. If you’re booking a flight to Hanoi to arrive during this time, try to avoid the Tet holiday (January/February), as this is when all of Vietnam, or so it seems, is on the move, visiting family and friends. If you are looking to avoid the crowds then book your flight to Hanoi for weeks following the Tet holiday - mid-February through March – as they are quieter. In addition, if you don’t mind the rain then travelling during the rainy season - between May and September – will allow you to see the city when it isn’t so packed and you’re also more likely to find cheap flights to Hanoi and discounted room rates.

Whatever time of year you’ve booked your flight to Hanoi, you won’t be disappointed. There are numerous festivals which take place, all giving a snippet of traditional customs and cultural aspects of this colourful city. The Co Loa Festival, which usually takes place in February (exact date depends on the lunar calendar), honours King An Duong Vuong. There is a procession, as well as a number of interesting and some unusual activities, including, human chess, wrestling, rope climbing and card playing. Hanoi is a great place to be during the Mid-Autumn Festival, as the streets and lakes are lined with glowing lanterns, the smell of incense wafts through the air and traditional dancing takes place. During this popular harvest festival, it is a tradition to eat sweet round delicacies known as ‘mooncakes’.

City overview

Vietnam’s capital is the beautiful and ancient city of Hanoi. Its stately presence has been influential in Southeast Asia for some few thousand years and the appealing city that stands today still reflects much of this grandeur. Hanoi's architecture is a fascinating mix. French-colonial style villas stand alongside temples dating back to the 11th century. Indeed, it is the abundance of spiritual buildings – the city has more than 600 temples – along with a calm way of life that often appeals to tourists visiting Hanoi. Much less brash than Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi is centred around a lake and its Old Quarter, with narrow streets and large colonial buildings. However, the city is not just a museum. Though once it was the quiet outpost in Vietnam, today the pace of life is picking up. Businessmen proliferate and tourists are visiting in greater numbers to see the city’s attractions.

Many travellers take flights to Hanoi to explore the surrounding areas. The city is a great base from which to visit Ha Long Bay or as a starting point to make a journey south along the length of Vietnam.

Hanoi climate

Hanoi has a humid topical climate. Summer is May through September, and it is hot and sticky with lots of rain. June is the hottest month with temperatures in the 30s Celsius. September through November is sunny weather in the 20s. Winter runs from November through February and is typically cool and drier. January is the coolest month with temperatures in the low teens and a cold northeasterly wind. March and April temperatures rise to the 20s, although there is a constant drizzle. The typhoon season is July to November.

Getting around Hanoi

Save yourself the hassle of dealing with Hanoi’s traffic and crowds and take a taxi. Cab companies are very competitive, so service is prompt. All the taxis are metered and it’s easy to call a cab or hail one from a taxi stand. If you’re feeling adventurous, try a motorbike taxi. If you want to take it easy, have a tour operator, travel agency or local tourist café hire you a car or driver. You can also rent bicycles from any hotel or café in the centre of town. Make sure the bike has a lock and bring a helmet. If you’re really brave, it’s easy to rent a motorcycle as well. Be careful on Hanoi’s busy streets. Motorcycle accidents are the leading cause of death and injury to foreigners in Vietnam. 

Walking can also be hazardous, so be aware of traffic and follow locals whenever possible. Try to keep a steady pace and don’t panic when crossing the street. You can flag down a cyclo (pedicab), but you’ll need to determine a fare before boarding. Avoid taking a cyclo at night though. It’s always a good idea to know where you’re going, and bring a map so you can point out your destination. Many cyclo drivers don’t speak English, and this will help both of you get where you’re going. Avoid the public buses altogether. They may be cheap, but they’re also slow, crowded and poorly labelled.

Getting from the Airport to the City

Noi Bai International Airport (HAN) is situated 28 miles north of Hanoi.

Airport minibuses and metered taxis are available outside arrivals for transport to the city centre. Make sure the taxi driver is wearing an official name badge and that the meter is on.

Hanoi insider information

  • Food in Hanoi is rather different to the Vietnamese food you get in the West. Specialities include grubs, scorpions, whole roasted pigeons, dumplings, noodles and fried chicken legs. Don’t be put off by appearances (or descriptions) and give some of the more unusual offerings a taste. The food stalls on the streets of the Old Quarter smell delicious and serve almost everything you can imagine.
  • The Thang Long water puppet theatre is situated on the Hoan Kiem Lake. The performances tell Vietnamese folk stories with hand puppets – all of the action taking place above a pool of water behind which the puppeteers hide. It’s a wonderful way to learn a bit about the Vietnamese culture. If you purchase a first class ticket, you’ll get a front row seat and be given a free CD of the music played.
  • One of the biggest festivals in Vietnam is Tet, the celebration of a lunar new year. Falling between January and February, celebrations go on for a week and nowhere are they bigger and better than in Hanoi. Houses are decorated with kumquat trees and the streets are lined with flower blossoms. It’s a wonderful event to see, but if you are going to be in the city during the time of the festival be aware that many services, including transport, will be closed. Book your hotel and flight to Hanoi in advance and don’t try and catch a train – they almost certainly won’t be running.
  • One of the foods associated with Tet is called banh chung. It is a sticky square rice cake stuffed with bean paste and wrapped in a banana leaf, which represents the earth. Thoroughly delicious.
  • The Museum of Ethnology was created to research and teach about the diverse ethnic groups that make up the population of Vietnam. The museum was opened in 1990 and has since proved very popular with visitors. Vietnam has 54 different ethnic groups and the museum teaches about their individual cultures. With exhibits, reconstructions and a year-long programme of events, there is plenty to see for half a day.

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Prices found by our users for South African departures to Hanoi

Airports for Hanoi

Cheapest flights to Vietnam

How much do things cost in Hanoi?

3 course meal for 2
R 244.38
R 23.67
Local draught beer (0.5 litre)
R 10.29
Cheap meal
R 20.58
Clothing & Shoes
Pair of Nike shoes
R 854.85
Pair of jeans
R 439.68
Bottle of beer (imported beer)
R 14.92
Loaf of white bread
R 6.25
Bottle of local beer (0.5 litre)
R 7.39
Pack of Marlboro cigarettes
R 12.86
How much does transport cost in Hanoi?
Petrol (1 litre)
R 9
1 km taxi journey
R 6
One-way ticket (local transport)
R 4
Taxi - fixed fee
R 5

International departures to Hanoi