Visas: Visa on arrival (VOA) is available, although the queue can be long. From now till 30 June 2016, holders of British, German, French, Spanish, Belarus and Italian passports will not require a visa for stays of up to 15 days. It is not yet known whether that exemption will extend beyond June 2016. You will need to apply for a visa pre-approval letter before entering Vietnam, and there are many online websites that provide pre-approval letter services.
Local transportation: Taxis are widely available (beware of scam taxis that look like the big companies (Mai Linh Taxi and Vinasun Taxi) from the outside, but with minor differences). Uber is also available in Hanoi.
Motorbike taxis (xe om) are also popular and cheaper than taxis, and can be found on virtually every corner, especially in the Old Quarter.
Buses are cheap and comfortable but a bit difficult to comprehend at first, as there are more than 60 bus lines across the city.
Where to buy a SIM card: Viettel and Vinaphone have booths at the airport. Throughout the city you’ll also find cell phone stores.
Popular areas: Old Quarter, West Lake, Tay Ho, Cathedral District
Popular food: Bánh mì (baguette sandwich), Phở (noodle soup), Bún riêu cua (meat rice vermicelli soup), Bánh cuốn (steamed rice roll with meat), Banh Xeo (pancake)
Things not to do: Don't place your bag on the floor or a chair back when in a restaurant as there are snatch thieves. While walking down the street, don't keep your purse hanging on the side facing the street as motorbike snatch thieves are common. Don't hesitate while crossing the road - it may appear scary, but walk across slowly and confidently while the motorbikes go past around you. Don't forget to look your bills over twice before handing them off - the 10,000 dong looks a lot like 100,000 dong, and 50,000 dong looks a lot like 500,000 dong.
Hanoi is Vietnam's second largest city, and is a fascinating blend of East and West, combining traditional Sino-Vietnamese motifs with French flair. It is largely unscathed from the decades of war, and is now going through a building boom, making it a rapidly developing city in Southeast Asia. Amidst the constant blaring horns of traffic, you'll find layers of history and an evolving arts scene.
Women digital nomads will feel comfortable in Hanoi, as Vietnam is generally a safe country for women to travel around alone. Take the normal precautions, especially late at night when there are few people on the streets and you should avoid taking a cyclo by yourself; use a taxi instead. Petty crime such as purse snatching is on the rise, so take common–sense precautions.
The best time to visit Sapa is from March to May and from September to November. At these times, the weather is relatively stable with sunny days and cool nights. Temperatures from December to around February can drop to a cold 10 degrees Celsius and reach an almost balmy 20 degrees Celsius. June, July and August are the hottest months, with temperatures known to reach 40 degrees Celsius, though the average temperature is in the early 30s.
Coworking Spaces in Hanoi
Cafes with wifi
Don't want to work at a coworking space? Check out these cafes with wifi instead.