Vietnam Airlines has an airport shuttle located just outside the Noi Bai arrival terminal. It departs once it is full (approximately every 45 minutes) and will take you to the Vietnam Airlines office on Quang Trung in central Hanoi. It's a bit of an uncomfortable ride, but the $2 per person fee is the most direct and economical way to travel to/from the Noi Bai airport. Return transportation is available, commencing from the Vietnam Airlines office on Quang Trung. Look for the logo on the side of the minivan.
Just outside the Noi Bai airport terminal (to the right as you exit) are Jetstar buses that travel to Hanoi's city center. With periodic stops, they head south along the dyke road, recognizable by the 4-km- (2½-mile-) long mosaic, which holds the Guinness World Record for being the longest mural of its kind. Jetstar charges 40,000 VND per sector and goes as far south as the Opera House. Tickets can be purchased on the bus.
The best way to explore Hanoi's Old Quarter is by cyclo. You'll feel like royalty as you're pedaled around the bustling city on a padded tricycle. Rates start at 100,000 VND per hour. Tipping is not required or even expected, but giving your driver 10,000 VND is a nice gesture.
Addresses in Vietnam often contain words such as district (huyen), road (duong), or street (pho). Odd- and even-number addresses are usually on different sides of the street. Sometimes one address is broken into several units (A, B, C, etc.)
Dai Nam Airport Shuttle. For a flat 250,000 VND, the Dai Nam Shuttle Bus offers trips between the airport and central Hanoi. Hanoi. 04/388–4666.
Jetstar (No. 206 Tran Quang Khai St., Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. 1900–1550. www.jetstar.com.)
Mai Linh. As all locals will attest, the most reputable taxi company is Mai Linh, which charges solely by meter and will take you directly to your destination (as opposed to driving you in circles). Look for the green-and-white Mai Linh taxis. Even though the company has a reputation for honesty, you should still make sure the driver starts the meter once your route begins. Hanoi. 04–3/822–2666 or 04–3/822–2555. www.mailinh.vn.
Trails of Indochina. With offices in Vietnam, Cambodia, Bali, Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos, this tour company offers luxury services and multi-country packages ranging in length from one to 20 days. Custom tours of Hanoi may include the Temple of Literature, the Vietnam Museum of Ethnography, Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, and a cyclo tour through the Old Quarter. The company also offer trips to Halong Bay with overnight accommodations on the high-end line of junks, Heritage Line. Included in tour rates are English-speaking guides, admission to sites, and transportation in spacious SUVs. 11–B2+3 Dam Trau Area, Bach Dang Ward, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi. 84–43/984–2606. www.trailsofindochina.com.