2020 Vietnam Grand Prix Travel Guide

Discover the newest destination on the Formula 1 calendar! Hanoi hosts the 2020 Vietnam Grand Prix on 2-5 April. Here’s your guide to getting the most out of the Vietnamese capital.

vietnam grand prix f1 experiences hanoi old quarter things to do

Practical Information 

  • Visas: Citizens from 24 countries, including the UK, France, Italy and Spain, can visit Vietnam without an entry visa for a period between 15-90 days (check the list of exempt countries here). Citizens from a further 80 countries, including the USA and Australia, can apply online for a 30-day e-visa in advance of their trip here.
  • Currency: Vietnamese Dong. $1 USD = 23,200 VND. While most large restaurants and shops accept electronic payments, it’s still worth carrying cash in Hanoi. ATMs are easy to find. Tipping is not expected, but not frowned upon for good service.
  • Language: Vietnamese is the official language, though many younger people do speak decent English, especially in the service sector. Download a translation app such as Google Translate to your smartphone to use for emergencies.
  • Time Zone: UTC/GMT + 7 hours
  • In an Emergency: Dial 113 for Police, 114 for Fire or 115 for Ambulance. 
  • Power Sockets: Vietnam uses different power socks, especially Type A, C & D. Pack a universal adaptor or buy one cheaply in the city after you’ve arrived.
  • Weather: The Vietnam Grand Prix is scheduled for April, which falls between the dry (winter) and rainy (summer) seasons. Temperatures hover between a daily low of 20°C (68 °F) and a daily high of 30°C (86 °F). Humidity is high at around 75% and there’s a good chance of rainfall during April.

vietnam grand prix f1 experiences hanoi street scene

Arrival & Getting Around

Hanoi is served by Noi Bai International Airport (HAN), which has hundreds of weekly domestic and international connections with flag carrier Vietnam Airlines and a host of regional discount airlines. To get from the airport to the city, we recommend taking a taxi or Grab, the equivalent of Uber in Vietnam. The Grab app is well worth downloading; you can hail a car or motorbike. The latter is for the brave only, but will get you there quicker. Details of dedicated transport options for getting from the city to the Hanoi Street Circuit have not yet been released, but we expect that taking a taxi or Grab will be the most convenient way to get there. More information can be found in our 2020 Vietnam Grand Prix – Getting Around Guide.

Where to Stay

Although the Hanoi Street Circuit is located in the Nam Từ Liêm business district of the city, we recommend staying in or near the city’s Old Quarter (Hoàn Kiếm), 10km to the east, for easy access to the best landmarks, shopping, restaurants and nightlife. If the Old Quarter is too hectic, there’s also plenty of good hotels near Hanoi Westlake and in the district of Ba Dinh.

F1 Experiences offers a 3- or 4-night stay some of the city’s best hotels, including the Meliá Hanoi and Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi. Circuit transfers can be added to hotel packages. Add accommodation to your Official Ticket Package.

Best of the Old Quarter

The heart of Hanoi life for more than a millennium, the Old Quarter is a bustling district of shops, restaurants, bars, street food and cultural attractions. We’ve rounded up some of the best things to do and places to see in the Old Quarter:

  • Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre: A tradition dating back to the 11th century, water puppet theatre remains popular in Vietnam and the best place to catch a show is at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre in the Old Quarter. The 1-hour shows take place at regular intervals each afternoon and evening, with tickets costing 200,000 VND ($8.60 US). Advance bookings are recommended.
  • Hoan Kiem Lake: An oasis of calm in the Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake is a great place to relax and soak up the Vietnamese way of life. Don’t leave without checking out Ngoc Son Temple (Jade Mountain Temple), a pagoda which sits on a small island in the centre of the lake.
  • Dong Xuan Market: Bargain hunter’s heaven! The largest market in Hanoi, Dong Xuan Market sells everything from food to clothes to trinkets and local ceramics. The food court also offers an array of local specialties at cheap prices. Open daily from 06:00-19:00.
  • Hoa Lo Prison: An old French prison that originally housed Vietnamese prisoners, Hoa Lo Prison later achieved notoriety as the “Hanoi Hilton” when American prisoners of war were detained here during the Vietnam War. Open daily from 08:00-17:00, admission costs 30,000 VND (just over $1 USD).
  • French Quarter: Characterized by pretty colonial buildings and a much quieter street life than the rest of the Old Quarter, the French Quarter is well worth a visit. Landmarks here worth seeing include the Hanoi Opera House and the National Museum of Vietnamese History and Vietnam’s oldest catholic church, Saint Joseph’s Cathedral.

vietnam grand prix f1 experiences hanoi old quarter

Where to Eat & Drink in the Old Quarter

Hanoi is a foodie’s paradise and many of the best places to eat can be found in the Old Quarter. From delicious street food to upmarket French restaurants, here’s our picks of what and where to eat in the Old Quarter:

  • Weekend Night Market: Held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night from 19:00, the Hanoi Weekend Night Market offers shopping, cultural performances and some of the best street food in the Vietnamese capital. Come with an appetite to sample local favourites such as pho (noodle soup with beef/chicken) and banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich). Many dishes can be had for just $1-2 USD.
  • Bia Hoi Junction: join the local students and foreign backpackers in one of the many bars with outdoor tables and cheap beer near the Bia Hoi Junction.
  • Bún chả Hương Liên:The tiny restaurant where Anthony Bourdain and President Obama enjoyed a bowl of bun cha (rice noodles with pork) in 2016 is now firmly on the food map in Hanoi. If you can’t get a table there, Bun Cha 34 also has an excellent reputation.
  • Hanoi Food Culture: A popular local institution that also runs cooking classes, Hanoi Food Culture offers tasty Vietnamese fare at reasonable prices in a beautiful old building.
  • Era Restaurant: A highly rated restaurant serving traditional Vietnamese cuisine, Era Restaurant offers fine dining without the high price tag.
  • Green Tangerine Restaurant: Housed in a beautifully renovated French colonial villa, the Green Tangerine serves French haute cuisine and local classics.
  • Hanoi Egg Coffee: As the name suggests, the specialty of the Hanoi Egg Coffee is the local drink prepared with egg yolks, sugar, condensed milk and robusta coffee.
  • The Hanoi Social Club: Arranged over three levels, the Hanoi Social Club is a popular café serving modern fare, including vegan options. It also hosts regular live music and other events.
  • Blues Bar: A relaxed sports bar with live music, the Blues Bar serves cold beers and tasty food at reasonable prices.

vietnam grand prix f1 experiences ho chi minh mausoleum

Other Things to Do in Hanoi

  • Get a bird’s eye view of the city: Two of Hanoi’s modern skyscrapers offer an observation deck with stunning views of the city. The Lotte Observation Deck is located on the 65th floor of the Lotte Centre in Ba Dinh, which was completed in 2014. Opened from 09:00-24:00, adult tickets cost approximately $10 USD (discounts available early and late in the day). Closer to the circuit, the Sky72 Observatory is located on the 72nd floor of the Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Tower, where you’ll also find an art gallery and museum. Alternatively, you can head to the 62nd floor for drinks with a view at the Intercontinental Hotel.
  • Vietnam Museum of Ethnology: A fascinating archive dedicated to Vietnam’s ethnic minorities and village life, the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is not only for anthropologists! Worth the trip, around 7km from the Old Quarter. Open every day except Mondays from 08:30-17:30, admission costs 40,000 VND (less than $2 USD).
  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum: The mausoleum that houses the body of Vietnam’s revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh is an important place of pilgrimage for the Vietnamese. The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex is also home to museums, pagodas and gardens.
  • Ho Tay (West Lake): Offering calming respite from the bustle of the Old Quarter, Ho Tay is the largest lake in Hanoi. It offers pleasant walking paths, the Tay Ho Pagoda and plenty of good seafood restaurants. The Ho Tay district is also popular with expats and has good upmarket shopping and dining.
  • Thăng Long Imperial Citadel: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Thăng Long Imperial Citadel is a complex of ancient buildings was the political centre of Vietnam for more than 1300 years. Head to the top of the Hanoi Flag Tower within the grounds for excellent views of the city. Open every day except Mondays from 08:00-17:00, admission costs 30,000 VND (just over $1 USD).

Ha Long Bay

If you are lucky enough to have some more time to explore Vietnam, don’t forget that the majestic Ha Long Bay is less than a 3-hour drive from Hanoi. This UNESCO World Heritage site with thousands of rock formations is best experienced from the deck of one of the many ships that ply the waters of the bay each day.

In addition to our signature benefits such as driver meet-and-greets and access to the F1 Paddock, 2020 Vietnam Grand Prix Ticket Packages from F1 Experiences include select grandstands and VIP hospitality in the Platinum Champions Club. Secure yours today.