It is possible to walk to most of the top tourist attractions in the Old Quarter of Hanoi if you’re someone who loves walking over other means of transport. However, with the hot and humid weather during long summer days and frantic traffic, it might not always be in support for you to walk much in the city. So there are convenient mobile applications to use for booking rides or public bus option to take you from one place to another (check out this article for those apps).
Another newly launched alternative for tourists is the double decker Hop-on and Hop-off city tour bus. When I first saw these red double decker buses passing by, it was a great surprise and I felt as though I was in London or Hong Kong for a second. Since its first introduction, I’ve seen an increasing number of these present on streets of the ancient town.
Perks that can be enjoyed on City Tour Bus
Sightseeing with Hop-on and Hop-off buses may not be the cheapest compared to walking, taking Grab rides or public buses, but here are some great perks you can enjoy with these buses.
Hop-on & Hop-off bus means you can get on and off at any of the bus stops within the time limit of your ticket. So you will be allowed flexibility in terms of how much time you want to spend in one attraction before hopping on the next bus to your next destination.
There’s free WIFI and English-speaking local guide onboard. You’ll also be given a complimentary bottle of water and city map to help you be on track as well as audio guide available in several languages.
Last but not least, you can enjoy the 360 view over the city and its people on the open-air deck to embrace the rides between stops.
There are two companies offering almost the same service except slight differences between their routes and stops. Hanoi City Tour Bus is the red double-decker and Thang Long Hanoi City Tour Bus operates with yellow double-decker buses.
Hanoi City Tour Bus
Hanoi City Tour bus departs from different stops depending on the day of the week. It leaves from Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square at Hoan Kiem Lake (No.1 Dinh Tien Hoang st.) from Monday to Friday. During the weekend, the buses leave from Hanoi Opera House (No. 1 Trang Tien St.).
They stop at 13 stops in total and you can visit more than 20 of the famous tourist attractions from these stops. The attractions include:
The Opera House
St. Joseph’s Cathedral
The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
Museum of Vietnamese Women
Hoa Lo Prison
The Temple of Literature
Tran Quoc Pagoda
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum & Museum
The Hanoi City Tour bus operates from 9AM to 6:30PM everyday. The bus interval is 30 minutes from each bus stop and above is the full timetable for all 13 stations.
There are three types of tickets with different time span – 4 hours, 24 hours and 48 hours. The prices are 300,000VND, 450,000VND and 650,000VND respectively. And this company offers a night city tour option for 250,000VND / round per person. The prices for children of 2 – 12 years old are 20 – 30% off from the adult price. This company also operates in Ho Chi Minh city and has their own official website for full details and online booking.
Thang Long Hanoi City Tour Bus
Thang Long Hanoi City Tour bus stops at 11 places and covers almost exactly the same tourist spots as the other one. The only differences are that Thang Long company does not go around Hoan Kiem lake and passes but does not stop at the Northern Gate Church.
The bus interval is also 30 minutes and the operation runs between 09:15 – 18:15 everyday.
They also have 4-hour, 24-hour and 48-hour tickets at 219,000VND, 329,000VND and 479,000VND, which are lower than the Hanoi City Tour Bus fares. Tickets are free for under 6 years old and for children between 6 and 11 years old are charged 75% of adult fee. You can book tickets via different websites such as VN Sightseeing.