By Plane

Hanoi, along with Ho Chi Minh City, is a major international gateway. Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport (tel. 04/3886-5047) is about a 45-minute drive outside the city. If you haven't booked a hotel transfer through your hotel, an airport taxi costs 230,000 VND for a sedan taxi, 250,000 VND for a van. To save a few dollars, you can take the Vietnam Airlines minivan into town. It costs $2 for a drop-off at the Vietnam Airlines office, but sometimes for an extra buck you can get the driver to drop you at your hotel if it's along the way. From town to the airport, shuttles depart from the Vietnam Airlines office and cost 20,000 VND. Call tel. 04/3825-0872 to get departure times.

To contact international carriers in Hanoi, try the following: Aeroflot, 360 Kim Ma (tel. 04/3771-8742); Air France, which has a helpful customer service desk on the southwestern edge of Hoan Kiem Lake, 1 Ba Trieu (tel. 04/3825-3484); All Nippon Airways (ANA), 9 Dao Duy Anh (tel. 04/3934-7237); British Airways, 9 Dao Duy Anh (tel. 04/3934-7239); Cathay Pacific, 49 Hai Ba Trung (tel. 04/3826-7298); China Airlines, 6B Trang Tien St. (tel. 04/936-6364); Czech Airlines, 65 Quan Su (tel. 04/3941-1320); Emirates Airlines, 9 Dao Duy Anh (tel. 04/3934-7240); Japan Airlines (JAL), 63 Ly Thai To (tel. 04/826-6693); Lao Airlines, 68 Tran Quoc (tel. 04/822-9951); Malaysia Airlines, 1/F Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung (tel. 04/3934-2304); Pacific Airlines, 152 Le Duan (tel. 04/3851-5350); Qantas Airways, fourth floor at 9 Dinh Le (tel. 04/3933-3026); or Singapore Airlines, 17 Ngo Quyen (tel. 04/3826-8888). Note that if you work with a local ground operator for day tours and trips in Vietnam, most will help with any reconfirmation or flight changes free of charge or for just the cost of necessary local calls.

For domestic connections, your only option (luckily, a good and affordable one) is Vietnam Airlines. The main, and most convenient, Vietnam Airlines office in Hanoi is at 1 Quang Trung St., a street that runs directly west from the southern end of Hoan Kiem Lake (tel. 04/3832-0320). Ticket purchases are made on the second floor (at a good discount from prices quoted at storefront travel agents), and it's an orderly business where you pick a number and wait for the next teller. They accept major credit cards as well as either U.S. dollars or Vietnam dong. The office is open from 7am to 6:30pm Monday to Friday, and in front of the building is a convenient stand of minivans that make regular connections with the airport for just 20,000 VND. A tourist information kiosk is also at the airport, as well as a lost and found (tel. 04/3884-0008).

By Train

Hanoi Railway Station, on the western edge of Hoan Kiem District (120 Le Duan; tel. 04/3942-3697; ticket office tel. 04/3942-3949), is a terminal stop on the Reunification Railroad. A comfortable, air-conditioned soft berth to Hue costs 460,000 VND, and it's 1,003,000 VND to Ho Chi Minh City. Buying tickets at the station is easy (but time-consuming), and any travel agent can handle it for a small fee. Both standard and luxury trains from Hanoi to Lao Cai, the jumping-off point for the popular hill town of Sapa, can be booked at traveler cafes in the Old Quarter and from any travel agent; often you can get a special rate on a deluxe overnight train to Lao Cai and your overnight accommodations in Sapa. Slow trains also connect with Haiphong and even to Cao Bang and Lang Son, but these are the kinds of rides that are for train buffs only.

By Bus

Budget traveler cafes in the Old Quarter, mostly along Hang Bac or Hang Be streets, offer low-luxe seat-in-coach tours. Services and prices are similar: About 690,000 VND earns you an open-tour ticket from Hanoi to Saigon with all stops in between.

Local buses arrive at and depart from the following stations: Gia Lam Station (Nguyen Van Cu St., Long Bien District -- across the Long Bien Bridge and a few clicks to the east of town) runs minibuses and coaches to Haiphong, Halong Bay, Lang Son, and some destinations in the far northwest; Ben Xe Nam Hanoi (Southern Bus Station; 5km/3 miles south of the city) runs regularly to all stops along the southern coast, starting with Ninh Binh and going as far as Ho Chi Minh City, as well as to Dien Bien Phu and the far northwest; Ha Dong Station is north of town and runs buses regularly to Lao Cai (near Sapa).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.