Do & Don't: Bargaining & Shopping, Currency Exchange, Dress Code, Gift Giving, Hanoi Cuisine, Languages & Expressiveness, Places Of Interests


DO’S and DON’T

Hanoi people are very gracious, polite and generous and will make every effort to make guests feel comfortable. Here are some general advices about things to do and not to do in Hanoi and Vietnam as well:


Bargaining is a culture in small retail businesses in Asian countries in general and in Vietnam in particular. If you look at any items which do not have listed prices when you go shopping, salesperson usually offers 10% - 20% higher than the real price. Be skillful and haggle to buy your favorite items and keep in mind the following tips:

  • Some shops display a “fixed price” sign” no hope there! But there are many places to practice your bargaining techniques: markets, stalls, souvenir shops and so on. Try your luck in the morning: many vendors will accept a very favorable price to secure the first scale of the day. It brings them luck. Remain friendly manner at all times: a deal will only be struck if both parties agree to it. Bargain should be an enjoyable experience, not a battle, and leave both sides satisfied.
  • DO make a reference and consider carefully before buying valuable items such as jewelleries, gems or cameras. It is suggested to buy your needed items in large stores with clear warranty period.
  • Night Markets: Hanoi Night Market takes place every Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays stretching horizontally from Hang Ngang, Hang Dao, Hang Duong and so on. You should not expect to find good quality products here, but they offer amazing rates which are very cheap and could be a pleasant experience for you.
  • Do not buy souvenirs such as pearls from fisherman. Halong is the centre for pearl cultivation to export for trading. Normally, those commodities which are made by fisherman do not have good quality and provide very cheap rates.


  • According to Vietnam Laws, all items must be listed in Vietnam Dong and all transactions must be settled down by Vietnam Dong. It is easily to exchange currency from USD or other currencies into Vietnam Dong directly at our hotel reception or surrounding banks. The nearest banks are Vietcombank which is on the left of our hotel or VietinBank which is just few steps away from the hotel.
  • Paper notes include: VND 500,000; 200,000; 100,000; 50,000; 20,000; 10,000; 5,000; 2,000; 1,000; 500; 200 and 100. Coins include VND 5,000; 2,000; 1,000; 500 and 200.
  • Visa, Master card, JCB and American Express Cards are accepted in hotels, restaurants, tourist centers, shops, supermarkets and booking offices.
  • Most of the foreign currencies can be exchanged into Vietnam Dong. The most widely accepted currency is U.S. dollar. Many restaurants hand you the bill in both currencies – VND or US dollar. Fees and rates are quoted in dollar as well. Euro is hardly recognized and can actually be quoted at rates significantly less than the international rate. Therefore, it is advisable to keep Vietnam Dong for easy shopping such as buying souvenirs or enjoying delicious cuisine on the street vendors.


  • Always dress appropriately and conservatively. In Vietnam, the dress code is casual. Unless you want to dress for dinner in the top-end hotels and up-market restaurants, there's no need to bring smart outfits and accessories.
  • DO always be aware when entering someone’s home, local dwellings or visiting religious sites such as temples/pagodas, it is a must to remove your shoes at the front door.
  • Never wear shorts, dresses or skirts, or tops with low-neck lines and bare shoulders to Temples and Pagodas. To do this is considered extremely rude and offensive.


  • If invited to Vietnamese home, small gifts for the hostess, children or elders of the home are a sign of respect. Usable items, such as soaps, cosmetics or picture frames or flowers, fruits are appreciated, and should be wrapped in colorful paper.
  • Do not give handkerchiefs, anything black, yellow flowers or chrysanthemums.
  • Business gift giving is fairly common at the end of a meeting or during a meal in honor of your business associates. Gifts should be small but not expensive. Something with your company logo or something typical from your country both makes excellent gifts.


  • Hotel Photos: Our hotel photos are 100% real and are not modified by any image programs like Photoshop. When selecting the best hotel in any destination, you should distinguish between the real and 3D photos. You should also pay attention to the hotel scale such as how many rooms and categories the hotel has. A hotel which has little rooms could not guarantee other services for guests.
  • Fake Reviews: Before booking any hotels or services in Vietnam, most tourists will check certain services through various social networks for their references. We highly appreciate all guests’ comments in those websites. However, there are many competitors currently who compete unfair. By whatever means, they could hire someone to write fake reviews about our hotel in order to lose our hotel’s reputation. They may post a bad review or a short indifferent review. By being affected by bad reviews, the hotel will lose its good rankings. Travelers who are searching for accommodation may ignore hotels that are low down in the ranking and overlook the good hones hotels because of this scam. Our advice for fellow travelers is please do not let the bad or fake reviews fool you and believe in your choice by reliable sources in order to make the right decisions.


It is recommend to spend time enjoying Hanoi’s cuisine culture and delicious dishes

  • “Pho” – Special Hanoi’s noodle.
  • Hanoi Spring Roll.
  • “Cha Ca La Vong” – Grilled fishes.
  • “Bun Cha”

Most traditional Hanoi dishes could be found at “Quan Ngon Restaurant” which is located at No.18 Phan Boi Chau. Telephone: (04) 3942 8162.

Moreover, if you would like to cook and enjoy your own food, we strongly recommend taking part in the cooking class in the best cooking centre in Hanoi – Hanoi Cooking Centre. For your information of this program, kindly click here.

Our Guest Relations team is always ready to provide all useful information above at any your best convenient time.


Expressiveness and Vietnamese language is very rich, sometimes you will probably make a mistake. Many Vietnamese people do not speak English well; they can somehow listen to you, laughed and just nodded. It is actually their friendly gesture, but it does not mean that they totally understand what you mean. When you need to express your language without an interpreter, it is advisable to use pen and paper.


Upon your arrival to Hanoi, you should spend your valuable time to visit the following sightseeing places:

  • 01 hour to stroll around the Old Quarter streets of Hanoi.
  • Water puppet program – a traditional art form of Vietnam. (The Water Puppet Theatre is 50m away from Boss hotel).
  • Temple of Literature – the first university of Vietnam which is built in 1070 with the ancient and unique architecture.
  • Complex of HCM Mausoleum – where you can image a great portrait man who used to live and work there. This is also a place where One Pillar Pagoda – a famous temple, was built in 1049.
  • Museum of Ethnology – where you will have time to understand deeper about the Vietnamese’s culture and it shows 54 images of Vietnam ethnic minorities.
  • Halong Bay – a must see destination in Northern Vietnam. It has been listed as one of the seven natural wonders in the world. It is advisable to travel to Halong Bay for a few hours cruise on the emerald water.
  • Hotel location – located in the heart of the city centre – provides easy access to many famous and popular sightseeing places such as Dong Xuan market, Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son temple, Hoa Lo prison, Thang Long Imperial Citadel, Long Bien bridge, Opear House and so on...

Kindly click here for further detailed information about the sightseeing places in Hanoi.



  • Handshake is the most common form of greeting somebody. Hand shaking among men is fine. Vietnamese woman may do so but they would rather not.
  • Avoid public displays of affection with a member of the opposite sex.
  • Do not touch someone's head.
  • Do not point with your finger - use your hand.
  • Do not pass anything over someone's head.
  • Do not touch anyone on the shoulder.
  • Do not touch a member of the opposite sex.


  • Always ask someone’s permission first when taking a photograph of them
  • Do not take photos of military installations.
  • Do not encourage the habit of paying local people to take photographs of them, as it encourages a begging mentality.


  • If you have not booked a packaged tour program in advance, you could ask our sales tour desk’s staff for consultants. All programs which we provide is tested for quality service and it is also the best price which you can have. Other tour programs could be accessed here for your references (Click here).
  • Even though there are many tourist offices within the Old Quarter area, most of those companies do not have the licensed business travel. They can advise you a travel program with a very low and attractive price, however, they will charge higher than the other services which you may not know. To avoid all occurred incidents, kindly see the below example:

EX:    There is one tourist who would like to book 01 overnight cruise tour in Halong and would like to stay at INDOCHINA SAIL (Deluxe Cruise). However, this travel agent will only book for your INDOCHINA JUNK (Standard Cruise). Guests normally do not pay attention and would not get the service which they reserve.

  • Whenever you book and services from tourist offices, it is a must to check the receipts with specific company’s chop and seal. All tour programs’ information should be checked carefully with contact information such as phone number and office address of the tour you book.


Hotel Safety

  • You can check the hotel rules and regulations in here for your references (Click here) or receptionist team will inform you when you check in. We would like to strongly emphasize that all our hotel rooms have safety box. Therefore, all your valuable belongings such as jewelries, money and passport should be placed in a safety box.

Safety outside hotel

  • Always leave your excess cash, airline tickets, passports, photocopies of your ID cards, original documents and valuables with the hotels safety deposit facility.
  • Never venture out from your hotel with more cash than you really need for that day. It is NOT something to be paranoid about, simply do not make you a target for pickpockets or drive-by bag snatchers in the big cities. It is advisable to leave your passport in the hotel or put it in a safe box inside your hotel room. Camera and pocket money should be worn in front of your chest. Do not wear on your back. On the whole it is one of the safest countries you could wish to travel in.
  • Visitors are allowed to carry restricted amounts of cigarettes, cigars, tobacco, alcohol and perfume. Foreign currency, jewelry and precious metals are allowed to carry in unlimited amounts.


  • Vietnam remains a poor country, thus, you could meet many people who have poor living conditions and have difficulties in their life. They could be the hawkers on the streets in Hanoi, street kids in Halong’s fishing village or Sapa kids always follow visitors. It is not a good idea to give them money. Giving money is not the smart charity. Instead, we strongly advise tourists to give small gifts such as pens, pencials, school bags, notebooks, books or even clothing. Those gifts are extremely helpful and meaningful to kids in ethnic minority villages in Sapa.



Hanoi is the developing city with density traffic. You may find the roads are always congested during rush hours. Sometimes, you may imagine Vietnamese drivers on the roads are like circus artists. Kindly bear in mind the following points:

  • Always drive on the right of the road in Hanoi and Vietnam.
  • Do not use public transportation during the rush hours when it is not necessary. It will be inconvenient and waste of your time.


Flights take approximately 2 hours to Ho Chi Minh City, 1h30 to Danang, 1h10 to Hue, 1h40 to Nha Trang, 1h40 to Da Lat. Vietnam Airlines, the national carries, has daily flights between Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Da Nang, Hue, and Nha Trang. Regular flights are also provided between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Dalat, Buon Ma Thuot, Hai Phong, Na San, Phu Quoc, Qui Nhon, Pleiku, and Vinh, Pacific Airlines is another airline that offers domestic flights between major cities.


You can fly from Hanoi to Halong, 1 flight/week on Saturdays. Tickets can be purchased at Northern Flight Services Company, Gia Lam Airport, Long Bien District. Helicopters can also be chartered.


Traffic drives on the right in Vietnam. There is a reasonable road network, but because of the inconsistent condition of the roads, combined with the “creative” driving techniques, journeys by road can take a considerably longer time than in other parts of the world.


For the more adventurous, trains offers an interesting alternative, especially overnight trains in a soft sleeper, but only if you have time to spare. Vietnam’s Reunification Express runs the entire coast between Ha Noi and HCMC, with stops along the way in Hue, Da Nang and Nha Trang. It takes a minimum of 32 hours to reach Ho Chi Minh City. A new deluxe train company is now operating between Phan Thiet/Nha Trang and HCMC. Train is also the best way to go from Ha Noi to Sapa, at night or during the day, with a range of compartments from economy to deluxe

The entrance for Northern provinces is on Tran Quy Cap Street, Hoan Kiem district. Check out the timetable with our Travel Advisers.

The Ticket Office is open from 7:15 to 11: 00 AM and from 1:00 to 3:00 PM with separated counter for foreigners. Tickets can be purchased at the train station or – more conveniently ­– at most travel agencies.


There are many taxi companies in Hanoi, however it is safer to use main companies such as Taxi CP – Tel: (04) 3826 26 26 or Mai Linh – Tel: (04) 38 222 666. Make sure you have the address written down, as most drivers, won’t speak English. For your own comfort, do avoid smaller, unmarked taxis. Always make sure the meter is on before starting.


When arriving to Hanoi, you should book airport cars in advance at the hotel where you stay or through a travel agency. If you have not booked any reservation, you could call the following reliable taxi centres such as NOI BAI AIRPORT, AIRPORT TAXI, VIETTHANH TAXI. Those are the big car suppliers at Noi Bai international airport. All staff always wears uniform and have card in front of their suit. On the car, there is a specific rate. You should not follow strangers who invite you to use their services with cheaper prices because its quality is not good and they will not drop you off to the hotel and still ask  you more money. For further information about the car transfer rates, kindly Click here.


There are many bus options available, from the official city bus companies to independent operator running regular routes using A/C vehicles: Sing Café, Kim Café, Mai Linh etc. A very cheap alternative to car rental and flights.

Gia Lam Bus Station: Nguyen Van Cu Road, Long Bien Dist. Tel: (04) 3827 1529, to Hai Phong, Halong and other northern provinces.

Luong  Yen Bus Station: Luong Yen Road, Hai Ba Trung Dist. Tel: (04) 3987 7225, to Hai Phong, Cat Ba Island, Lang Son and bunk bed buses to HCMC.

My Dinh Bus Station: My Dinh Commune, Tu Liem Dist. Tel: (04) 3768 5549, to Northern provinces.

Giap Bat Bus Station: 6 Giai Phong, Hoang Mai Dist. Tel: (04) 3864 1467, local buses to Southern provinces.



You can rent a motorbike, (try a Minsk for the fun!), or a bicycle along Dinh Liet or Hang Bac street, Hoan Kiem Dist. You will also need to show your passport. Make sure your vehicle is equipped with helmets as it is compulsory since 15th Dec 2007.


The public bus system (red and yellow color) is somehow puzzling but offers the lowest fare rate of all. There are around 50 bus routes operated by Hanoi Transerco. Check with our Travel advisers.


They are all the same vehicle: the driver sits on his bicycle behind the nacelle, while the passenger sits in the front. Cyclos tend to disappear from the urban landscape, progressively replaced by motorbikes (xe om), but can still be hired to explore the heart of the city. We do not advise them for longer journeys, due to the intense traffic. Cyclo journeys should cost around 50.000 VND an hour. Agree on the price before you depart.


The “xe om” or “Honda om” is a moto-taxi: you hire a motorbike and its driver for a short drive, or by the hour or the day. Before hopping on the bike it is best to agree on the price of the ride by asking them the starting point and the exact address which you want to go. A xe om trip will cost from 10.000 vnd/km, depending on the distance. It is probably the quickest way to reach one’s destination, but considering the traffic chaos in the city, this should be experienced only by the strong-hearted travelers! Wearing a helmet is now compulsory, and your driver will provide the equipment.


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Thank you for your attention! We wish you and your beloved ones had a fruitful and wonderful trip in Vietnam!

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