Noi Bai Airport is one of Vietnam's two main air gateways and the second busiest airport in Vietnam, handling over 20 million passengers annually. It's a hub for VietJet Air, Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific, Cambodia, Angkor Air, and Bamboo Airways.
No direct flights are currently available between Noi Bai and airports in America. Until Vietnam and the U.S. reach an agreement, American travelers will need to fly into Hanoi via Asian hubs like Singapore's Changi Airport, Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport, and Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok Airport.
Noi Bai is a major domestic hub for the Vietnamese air network; Jetstar and Vietnam Airlines connect Hanoi to other airports in Vietnam. Low-cost carriers like Cebu Pacific, AirAsia, JetStar, and Tiger Airways link Hanoi to other cities in Southeast Asia.
Airport Code, Location, and Contact Information
Vietnam's capital Hanoi welcomes airborne visitors through Noi Bai Airport (HAN), about 40 minutes' drive from the Hanoi city center.
Know Before You Go
Upon leaving any airport in Vietnam, attendants will check your baggage stubs, so make sure you hold on to them and keep them in a safe place.
There are two terminals in Noi Bai Airport that service two different types of flights. Terminal 1, the older terminal, services domestic flights almost exclusively and Terminal 2, which opened in 2014, services international flights.
The two terminals stand about half a mile apart–if you're transferring from a domestic flight to an international one, or vice-versa, take the travel time between terminals into account. A shuttle bus regularly services the gap between the two.
Each terminal has its own parking garage, which offers short term parking. You will be charged a small fee of 15,000 Vietnamese Dong or VND (about $.065 USD) for the first hour and then 5,000 (about $0.22 USD) for every 30 minutes after that.
The airport is about 15 miles (25 km) north of downtown Hanoi. From Hanoi, you have two options of getting to the airport. You could either take AH-14 or the Võ Văn Kiệt Highway.
Public Transportation and Taxis
The bus is the cheapest way to get to Hanoi from the airport, but also the most crowded and the one that takes the most time. There are multiple bus routes available, depending on where in the city you want to go. Each bus takes about an hour to arrive at its respective bus station.
- Bus 86 connects airport arrivals directly to Hanoi city stops. This yellow-and-orange bus follows a route from the airport, down through Hoan Kiem Lake and Hanoi Old Quarter, and terminating at the Hanoi Central Railway Station. Departing visitors can also board the bus as it returns to the airport from the city.
- Bus number 7 runs from Noi Bai to Kim Ma bus station, on the western side of Hanoi.
- Bus number 17 runs from Noi Bai to Long Bien bus station, on the northeast side of the Old Quarter.
The following airlines offer their own shuttles between Noi Bai and Hanoi:
- Jetstar Pacific offers both drop-off at, and pick-up from, the Jetstar office at 206 Tran Quang Khai Street. The bus departs Noi Bai Airport shortly after the arrival of its flights. To score a seat, reserve and pay on the flight itself before boarding.
- Vietnam Airlines offers both drop-off at, and pick-up from, the Vietnam Airlines office at 1 Quang Trung Street. Buses depart every 30-40 minutes from Terminal 1 arrivals.
- VietJet Air, Vietnam's own home-grown budget airline offers shuttle bus service between the airport's T1 and the city. Seats must be booked on the official VietJet website at least 24 hours before the flight.
A taxi is the quickest way to get from the airport to downtown Taxi stands can be reached outside Noi Bai's arrival terminals; exit and walk to the first island beyond the arrivals terminal to find the queue of taxis. You may be approached by "helpful" people inside the terminal asking if you need a taxi, but you would be wise to turn them down and hail a cab from the official area. Another alternative is to download the Grab app to summon either a taxi or hired car to pick you up at the arrivals area.
Before you decide how you're getting to Hanoi, check to see if your hotel offers a transfer service. The porter will wait at the arrivals gate with a placard bearing your name, and he'll whisk you straight to your hotel from the airport. Sure, it may cost a little extra, but you pay for greater peace of mind in hustle-heavy Hanoi. You can also hire a third-party transfer service to either pick you up from the airport or take you there like Cat Ba Express and Hanoi Transfer Service.
Where to Eat and Drink
Each terminal has its own food court with chains like Burger King and Popeyes, as well as spots to have Vietnamese food like Bigbowl and Lucky Cafe. If you have time for a full-service meal, Hai Cang Restaurant, for upscale Hong Kong-style cuisine, or Confetti Restaurant, for a more affordable and filling meal, in Terminal 2.
In Terminal 1, you can sit down Lucky Cafe for a full meal or stop at one of the cafes like Skyboss where you can grab something quick to eat.
How to Spend Your Layover
If you have a short layover and are looking for a place to simply lie down, you'll find sleep pod services in both terminals. One is located on the third floor of Terminal 1 and the other is located on the second floor of Terminal 2. Each room is bookable by the hour has a TV, a bed, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
It will take at least thirty minutes by cab to get from the airport to Hanoi if there's no traffic, so if you want to explore the city on a layover, you will need at least seven hours. If you are a U.S. passport holder, you will be required to obtain an e-visa to visit Vietnam. If you have large bags you'd rather not bring with you, luggage storage is available in Terminal 2 on the second floor.
Hanoi's Old Quarter is the most popular with tourists and a good place to explore during a short layover in Vietnam. You can also check out one of the traditional water puppet shows at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, visit the pottery village at Bat Trang, or sign up for an Electric Bus Tour.
If your layover is overnight, consider booking a stay in one of the nearby airport hotels like Viet Village Hotel or Airport View Hotel.
At Noi Bai International Airport, there are premium lounges available, each of which is equipped with showers. Many are accessible for a fee, whether or not you have a first or business class ticket.
Vietnam Airlines operates two Lotus Lounges strictly for their business and first-class passengers in Terminal 1, on the third floor, and in Terminal 2, on the fourth floor near Gate 29. The Lotus Lounges are spacious and even feature a theatre room with massage chairs.
If you're traveling in economy class, you can still purchase entrance into one of the other lounges in Terminal 2 like the Song Hong or Noi Bai Business Lounge. In Terminal 1, you can check out the Song Hong Premium Lounge.
Wi-Fi and Charging Stations
Free Wi-Fi is made available throughout the airport, so long as you enter your information when connecting to the network. If it's a little slow, you'll also find many restaurants and shops advertising their own Wi-Fi networks, which may provide a faster connection. Charging stations can be found in many locations throughout Terminals 1 and 2, but can usually find them in the airport restaurants as well.
Airport Tips and Tidbits
Keep an eye out for some of the following amenities, which may be of help to you before your flight.
- Each terminal has a play area for children, which includes a jungle gym, swings, and seesaws.
- You can fill up your water bottle at one of the "Free Drink" machines scattered throughout the terminals.
- In Terminal 2, on the 3rd floor near Gate 36, there is a rest zone with soft lounge chairs open for all passengers.
- There are a couple of smoking rooms on the third and fourth floor of the international terminal.