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Ways to Experience Hanoi City Tour
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Reviewed December 29, 2018 via mobile

A fantastic morning tour with APT Travel. Our guide Son had a great friendly personality who spoke fantastic English. He shared all his local knowledge with us as well some great cultural experiences. He kept us to schedule in a friendly manner. Excellent morning tour - highly recommend APT Travel for your sightseeing tours in Hanoi.

Date of experience: December 2018
Thank Maureen S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 17, 2018 via mobile

These modern, open-top, double-decker buses operate a round-trip route past points of interest around the old quarter of the city (between West lake and Hoan Kiem lake), every half hour during daylight hours, plus a couple after sunset.
Advertised price is VND 196,000 payable to the driver on boarding (NB I was actually charged 200K maybe because he didn't have change)
If you intend to just stay on-board for the whole 50 min circuit, then it's probably a tad expensive by Vietnamese standards. However the audio commentary is quite well done, multi-lingual and informative. Suggest choosing a fine day (sit on the top deck for a better experience), take a morning trip when the air pollution is (slightly) less noxious.
A far better option is to start early and utilise the hop-on hop-off facility to take time to explore the attractions of your choice. This way you can make a very efficient, cost effective tour at your own speed. Highly recommended for all travellers. Pick up a free map in advance and plan your day to get the most out of it.

Date of experience: December 2018
Thank 468billm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 11, 2018

A little expensive for what you get but pretty well essential early on to help you get your bearings.
The usual hop on/off with earphones and multiple languages. Cost for a 24-hour ticket is 450,000Dong around £15 or €16.50. The tour starts at Hoan Kiem lake. At weekends the stops at 1 and 13 are unavailable as that area is pedestrianised. However, the ticket office is still open. I think you can also pay on the bus if you get on en-route. The route stops are well signed with an individual timetable and are very easy to use.

Date of experience: December 2018
Thank gordonj258
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 10, 2018 via mobile

The city tour of Hanoi is centred around their great leader Ho Chin Minh. A great inspiration to Vietnamese and to all patriotic citizens of any country. A true selfless person who cared for his country men.

Date of experience: November 2018
1  Thank Paragpuria
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 30, 2018

Hanoi City Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Bus, Hanoi

One of the easiest ways of seeing the centre of Hanoi is to catch the ‘Hop-on hop-off’ bus; it’s comfortable and, at AU$18/person for the four-hour option, it’s good value (for tourists) and makes efficient use of your time. The bus kiosk/terminus is to one side of Dinh Tien Hoang Road at the northern edge of Hoan Kiem Lake in the centre of the Old Quarter. This is where you find the large red double-decker that can accommodate >60 people. Seated on the open upper deck you can hang out over the edge and catch all manner of images in what remains a low-rise, pleasant and human-scale city.

Sure, you’ll need to choose your weather – well, you’ll not have a great deal of choice apart from the time that you decide to be in Hanoi; early October for us and the weather was ideal – mild, warm and dry. No insects of the biting kind.

Ours was the minimum four-hour tour – you get off and get on again at the dozen strategic bus stops close to key features – museums, temples, Opera House, St Joseph’s Cathedral and more. Depending on where you’re staying, this enables you to cover the city comfortably without the endless walking on/off pavements that are stacked with parked motorini/scooters; there’re 5M in the city remember. So, you pay for convenience and comfort. There’s a small bottle of drinking water for each ticket holder too. The bus takes one hour to complete a circuit.

Catch the bus close to mid-day and you’ll have the remainder of the day available on board - sufficient time in which to make a repeat circuit before closing time – 17.00 h. Second time round provides that element of familiarity. So, we got off first time at the furthest distance from the starting point – where the bus turns round: stop #6 – and took in features close to stops #5, #6 & #7 before returning by bus to the ‘centre’ of the Old Quarter. You get to walk along Thanh Nien Road, which separates West Lake & Truc Bach Lake - with distant views across water. Buy yourself a lunch snack at Highlands Coffee – their pontoon is on Truc Bach Lake.

Head-phones are provided that cover the 10 most popular languages; you carry them with you as you hop-off and they’re like a re-admission ticket when hopping-on again. The friendly (and sharp-eyed) girl, however, may also request your ticket. We had a minor exchange of views when our tickets went missing (and the receipt – which we had on hand – was not an immediate alternative). Fortunately, the tickets re-appeared before we hopped-off again.

You get to follow the same commentary each circuit, but the messages cut back in on themselves as the bus reaches each strategic bus stop. Second time round the messages make better sense.

Wait a minute …. Hanoi, Vietnam! Isn’t this where the US-led coalition of SEATO countries fought a 20-year war against the communists to the north; the rationale at the time being this thing about the domino-effect that would see SE Asia and the Western Pacific fall to similar anti-democratic forces? Well, the information/messages are all there in the Military Museum, Hao Lo Prison, Museum of Vietnamese Women and the Vietnam National Museum of History (both sites); well-presented displays with open/pragmatic descriptions covering this the world’s first televised war, but there’s also heritage reporting that takes you back to pre-historic times (c. 30,000 BCE) for those interested.

The hop-on hop-off bus includes the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum in its circuit – a prestigious looking Romanesque-style building (grey, stark, columns, plinths, open grassed gardens, pristine). Ho Chi Minh was a nationalist Vietnamese leader who became the President of North Vietnam and, eventually, of the unified country. He’d asked to be cremated upon his death, but this was denied him.

The contradiction of recent wars with central Hanoi today and those tourist industries that have captured the city 45 years later belies the images that many of us carry in our heads. Check out Ho Chi Minh’s war bunker from the 1960-70s. It’s in the Citadel at stop #8 and about 10 m underground. Treasure that sense of recent history that it provides beneath the modern city.

Peter Steele
Bangkok
09 October 2018

Date of experience: October 2018
Thank Peter S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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