Planning your trip to the Vietnam Grand Prix
In 2020, Vietnam will become the 34th country to stage a round of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, with an exciting street circuit set to premiere in Hanoi on April 5.
We are so excited for this new race on the 2020 calendar! Hanoi is an incredible city, full of bustling streets, delicious food, friendly people and an atmosphere that is going to suit F1® perfectly! It’s little wonder why Liberty Media chose this city for the newest race on the F1 calendar.
One question we are getting asked a lot though is “What is Hanoi really like?” and then all the questions around that, "how do I get there", "is it easy to get around", "do they speak English" and the list goes on…
So, if you’re thinking of attending the FORMULA 1 VIETNAM GRAND PRIX and you haven’t been to Hanoi before, here is the guide you’re looking for to get all the basics you need to know before you book your Vietnam Grand Prix holiday!
Getting to Hanoi
Getting into Hanoi is pretty simple. They have an international airport and you can fly direct from most major cities throughout Asia.
The airport has recently been expanded and upgraded, but to be honest, we aren’t sure how it will handle the excess traffic that the F1 weekend is going to create. We would recommend you are prepared for a bit of a wait getting through immigration and customs.
If you’re looking for a different way into Hanoi, Vietnam has a train network that will get you to Hanoi from most domestic major cities. You can travel through the day and take in the local sights or overnight the seats turn into beds and you can comfortably sleep while you travel.
The train trips can take anywhere up to 18+ hours depending where you are leaving from and general delays, so do your research, but if you have the time, we recommend the train, it's a little different and a lot of fun. Trains will however fill up early, so we recommend booking this option as early as possible!
Most visitors are required to obtain a visa prior to entering Vietnam. If you are elligible for an e-visa, the process is quite simple. You must apply prior to your arrival into Vietnam - we recommend you apply at least two-weeks prior to travel. Ensure you apply for your e-visa on the official Government of Vietnam website to avoid visa scams and protect your personal information.
If you're booking one of our packages, let us know and we can assist you with the application.
Noi Bai Airport is located approx. 30km from the Old Quarter / Hoàn Kiếm Lake district, which is the area where most tourists stay in Hanoi. This trip takes about 45 minutes, but traffic can easily bump this up to an hour and a half.
There are taxi ranks at both the International and Domestic terminals. In theory, all the licensed metered cabs that wait at the rank should be charging the prices on the rate board. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case and Noi Bai is notoriously know as a hotbed of scamming taxi driver.
If you aren't organised enough to pre-book, get agreement on the rate before you get in the taxi by pointing at the rate board and getting confirmation. If the driver charges you more at your destination, don’t pay any extra. Also note that all fees and tolls are included in the prices on the rates board.
We highly recommend booking private airport transfers in advance. If you are joining us on one of our packages, these are either included, or can be added on for a small fee (depending on the package). The driver will meet you in the arrivals hall, and will even have a secret 'password' to ensure you have found the correct driver!
Airport transfers can also be organised through most major hotels, or online through a number of agencies.
Where to stay
Most tourists stay in and around the iconic Hoàn Kiếm Lake area. This is where you will find many restaurants, bars, markets, hotels and plenty of fun things to keep you occupied while you aren’t at the track.
The Lake area has km’s of streets to explore and you will never have an issue finding somewhere open to for a snack, fresh juice or cold beer. This is also the 'Old Quarter' and is where a lot of the tourist attractions are; local markets, Hanoi Hilton (an old prison from the Vietnam war), local restaurants, the lake and much more.
If you are considering staying closer to the track, as there aren't many hotels, you may have some difficulty finding available accommodation within walking distance. You will also find the range of restaurants and activities are limited, and you may struggle to communicate in English.
We would always recommend the Hoan Kiem Lake area, purely for the incredible atmosphere, the abundance of activity and it will be the centre of the action over the weekend.
The track is located by the My Dinh National Stadium. It's about a 14km drive from Hoan Kiem Lake. Unfortunately, whilst in many countries, this would be a short drive, in Vietnam, this short distance will take some time. You will need to be patient, especially as this year is the inaugural race!!!
Public transport could take up to 2 - 2.5 hours each way and is pretty unreliable. There will be dedicated shuttle buses set up for the weekend from strategic points in the city, more details will be released closer to the race. Long queues may be an issue, especially at the conclusion of Sunday's race.
If you book our Signature or Family packages, dedicated transport to and from the track each day is included. The timing of these shuttles will be flexible; we understand that some fans wants to be at the track from start to finish, whilst others only want to attend the race, so there will be shuttles that fix with everyone's schedules!!!
If you book any of our other packages or tickets and would like to know more about getting to and from the track, you are able to pay extra to travel with our shuttles or your own private driver.
Now ... the most important ... We saved the best for last!
The food in Hanoi is incredible! There are restaurants EVERYWHERE and they range from beautiful rooftop high-end cuisine right through to eating on a table on the street and having to move when a car or bike needs to fit through. Our tip, try them all!!
The cuisine in Hanoi is a mix of the South and the North. Traditionally, the food here isn’t too spicy, but you won’t have any trouble finding some spice in any restaurant if you prefer a little heat to your meals (or just add some fresh chilli!).
There are a lot of noodles, spring rolls, dumplings, savoury pancakes, BBQ'd meat, and you can't forget the famous Vietnamese baguette, Bahn Mi.
If you have allergies or intolerances, it will help to translate them into Vietnamese before you travel, and print out a copy of it to show at restaurants. One great thing about Vietnamese food, if you are gluten intolerant, you will still be able to enjoy much of their bread and noodles because they are made with rice flour, which means they are low or gluten-free!
Food is such a big part of Hanoi day-to-day life, so much so, there are a number of companies that offer fantastic food walking tours. These aren't to be missed, and those lucky enough to book on our Signature packages, will experience a tailor-made, private food walking tour with one of the best tour guides in Hanoi. We've personally done the tour many times, and every time we visit, we always do it again as it's always different!!!
There is a lot more we could tell you about Hanoi, things like what to budget, the best (and worst) hotels, how to get around, local language and much more, but we thought a quick guide to what to expect would be more beneficial.
If you are seriously thinking about attending the race in Hanoi, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for any of your questions, our advice, as always, is free!