Thursday, 01 September 2016 04:45

The Best Bus in Hanoi

Written by Bennett Murray

The bus to Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi. Photo by Theo Lowenstein

Just when you thought it would never happen, the airport’s got a new bus route

 

City transportation should be like a formulaic kids’ movie; boring, predictable, and no deaths. Hanoi’s new bus line to and from the train station to the airport ticks all three.

 

We paid VND30,000 each on a test run, logged into the free WiFi and watched the city go past, between checking tweets on our phones.

 

It was a completely uneventful journey with absolutely no cause for concern nor amusement, as a bus journey should be.

 

The passengers were largely indifferent to the experience.

 

“This bus is easier than a motorbike,” said Nguyen Hua, a salesman on his way to Nha Trang.

 

“Why?”

 

Hua shrugged, not particularly enthused by our small talk.

On the bus - it's a civilized kind of place. Photo by Theo Lowenstein

(Photo by Theo Lenwenstein)

 

The Best Bus?

 

The bus first stopped at the domestic terminal before completing its journey at the international. It was the end of the line, we were told, but we shook our heads and asked to stay onboard.

 

They had no objections.

 

“This is a high-quality bus, the best bus,” said a bored conductor as we waited for the round journey.

 

“The best in Hanoi?”

 

“Yes,” he replied, evidently unaccustomed to being interrogated by customers.

 

“Is it more comfortable?”

 

“It is the best bus.”

You never know where a bus in Hanoi may take you, but not the airport bus. Photo by Theo Lowenstein

(Photo by Theo Lenwenstein)

 

Who Needs a Metro?

 

Getting to and from the airport has never been fun but, unfortunately, not always boring. Taxi fares run well into six figures, while the minibuses keep unpredictable time schedules and prices. Until two months ago, no bus regularly ferried customers between Noi Bai and the city.

 

Buses, of course, appear everywhere in the city. From city bus lines to international coaches with Laotian license plates, every casual Hanoi driver is well accustomed to navigating around the omnipresent, cumbersome hulks of steel careening down razor-thin side streets.

 

The airport bus line, however, takes a more reasonable approach. Hop on at the train station and you’ll get to Noi Bai in about 45 minutes. No planning is required — the first bus leaves downtown at 5.05am and the service keeps going until 9.40pm. You can catch a ride even later if you’re coming from the airport, with the last bus leaving at 11pm.

 

Hanoi’s got big plans for shuttling its residents around town in a more orderly fashion. Construction of the much-anticipated metro system is visible throughout the city, while the municipality mulls over the possibility of banning motorbikes in the Old Quarter.

 

The problem is no joke. Air pollution is beginning to compete with Beijing for toxicity, while crash fatalities constantly tick upward.

 

In the meantime, however, the Hanoibus company has found a solution to one transit problem using the humble bus. 

Just making sure... Photo by Theo Lowenstein

(Photo by Theo Lenwenstein)

Last modified on Friday, 01 September 2017 08:48
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2 comments

  • Comment Link Alex Friday, 09 September 2016 09:48 posted by Alex

    1) it obviously means bus focused on the airport route, not one which stops every 5 minutes and has no dedicated area for suitcases/luggage.
    2) it goes to city centre, not tay ho.
    3) you're a pedantic nonce
    4) #2016 #everycunthassomethingtomoanabout

  • Comment Link Mattt Saturday, 03 September 2016 19:54 posted by Mattt

    "Until two months ago, no bus regularly ferried customers between Noi Bai and the city."
    What are you talking about? Buses #7 and #17 have long ferried customers to the airport from central Hanoi. Both do so less of a third the cost of your new Tay-friendly bus, 8,000d and 9,000d respectively. Did you mean to say this was the first bus to go from the airport straight to Tay Ho, the only part of the city that matters to you?
    Please correct this.

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