Are you looking forward to Vietnam Grand Prix 2020? Hopefully yes because we are excited about it too. This is the first time a Formula 1 race is held in Vietnam. That being said, this will be the first time Vietnamese take part in such a big speed sport event. It is also a chance for the world to know about Vietnam – our beautiful country, its history, and its people.
Therefore, if you’ve booked, or at least planning to book tickets to Vietnam Grand Prix 2020. Congratulations. You’re one step closer to Grand Prix and Vietnam.
However, as excited about the trip, there’s still a lot of travel planning to do to make everything go smoothly. So I have comprised a special Vietnam guide for your Grand Prix trip, I hope it helps.
About Vietnam Grand Prix 2020
Basic information about the Vietnam Grand Prix
- Vietnam Grand Prix date: April 3rd, 4th, and 5th
- Address: My Dinh Stadium, Hanoi
- Teams: Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, Renault, Haas, McLaren, Racing Point, Alfa Romeo, Toro Rosso, Williams
- Buy Vietnam Grand Prix tickets on the official website: f1vietnamgp.com
F1 racetrack in Hanoi
The racetrack is reported to be 5565 km long with 22 challenging turns and a remarkable 1500m straight line. This longest F1 racing line in the world promises an exhilarating chase in which racers can speed up to 355km per hour. Taken inspiration from the ancient Hanoi imperial citadel, this is the 4th racetrack that locates inside a city after racetracks in Monaco, Singapore, and Azerbaijan.
What Vietnamese people think about F1 Grand Prix?
As a matter of fact, the household sport in Vietnam is soccer and F1 races are not even near to the top popular sports in Vietnam. Lots of people probably have never watched a Grand Prix game before.
However, news about F1 racing is featured on broadcast media very often, and for most people, F1 Grand Prix is a familiar term. As a Vietnamese, I believe Vietnamese people have the heart for speed and racing. The only reason the race is not popular in Vietnam is the fact that it tends to suit well-off people whereas Vietnam is still a developing country.
In recent years, more and more Vietnamese youngsters become interested in F1 Grand Prix. And it’s worth-expecting for a bright future of Grand Prix in Vietnam.
For who will watch the race here, I think the information is enough for you to adjust your level of expectation of Vietnam Grand Prix 2020.
All you need to know about Vietnam before Grand Prix 2020
Here are some most common questions and facts for you to get to know about Vietnam.
Before your trip
Is Vietnam safe to visit?
Yes but no.
Vietnam is a safe country in terms of politics. There are no guns allowed. And you can expect only a few demonstrations. They are all peaceful protests.
In fact, because it is such a safe country, Vietnam has been the host for lots of international political events. One memorable example is when Trump and Kim Jong Un met in Hanoi for the North Korea – United States Summit.
However, in Vietnam, you’d better watch out for robbery and crazy traffic. There’re a lot of pick-pocketers on the street and the traffic is awfully noisy and insane.
What’s the weather like in Vietnam during the Vietnam Grand Prix 2020?
Vietnam is getting hot and humid towards the end of April. Please remember to stay hydrated all day as the heat may get you to feel tired. A bottle of water in Vietnam costs US$0.3 and water is available at any convenience store.
Nevertheless, there are still some rainy or dry days for you to enjoy.
This is not the high-peak season so you need not worry about the touristy-ness. It is sure to be less crowded than later months.
How to exchange money in Vietnam?
You can easily exchange to Vietnam currency at the airports, gold shops, banks, and major hotels.
At the moment, the exchange rate is 23,260.00 VND for a US dollar, 15,895.35 VND for an AUS dollar. Personally, I would consider US$1 is about 20,000 VND, so US$5 is 100,000 VND and 10,000 VND is 50 cents. Just a way to memorize easier.
How is the traffic in Vietnam?
Vehicles honk their horns a lot making it very noisy. In some hustling areas like Hanoi Old Quarter, there’re traffic noises even at night. Therefore, if you stay at a hotel in these areas, your sleep may be affected.
There are heaps of people on the street. They can ride their scooters at a high speed and not everybody obeys the rules. Therefore, crossing the road in Vietnam can be a challenge of bravery for the first try.
Vietnam traffic in the eyes of many foreigners is chaotic and crazy
It’s better to only walk in spacious roads or designated walking streets.
You should avoid going out during the rush hour. It is from 7.15 to 7.45 in the morning, and 6.00 to 6.45 in the afternoon. Not only because it is crowded, but also it is really dusty. If you still want to go out, please use a face mask for the sake of health.
Which transportation should I take in Hanoi?
Taxi and private car
Our recommended means of transportation for Vietnam’s first-time visitors is a private car or taxi. You can be rested from the crowd, the noise and the dusty inside a car. And the fact is the taxi price in Vietnam is considerably lower than in many other countries makes it even more ideal. You can expect to pay only 0,5-0,6 US dollars for the first km.
However, there are cases that taxi drivers charge foreigners a lot more than the actual price. Besides, the taximeter may be untrustworthy and get you scammed. So it is best to book a taxi from credible taxi groups such as Mai Linh, Hanoi CP, and G7, the price can be higher though. Or you can book via grabs.
Another option is private cars. They are often included in tour packages of travel agencies. We also offer private car service in our Grand Prix Tour packages 2020. Our drivers will take you anywhere at your will and remembering maps is no longer necessary.
Bus is the second-best option as it is also cheap and safe. Facilities in Vietnam bus is not super good but acceptable and it is improving day by day. Another reason for taking a bus is that it is a great way to experience the local culture.
However, there are things that may hold back your intention to catch a Hanoi bus.
Except for famous tourist routes, most bus conductors do not know English so they could not give you advice on where to get off. Similarly, guides from speakers as well as bus stop’s signs are not in English either.
Unlike in Japan, buses in Vietnam are not always on time. There is no timetable for you to track either.
And most importantly, be careful of pick-pocketers on the bus. Hold your bags firmly like how you’d do in Spain. Because pick-pocketers here work like that too.
Scooters are SouthEast Asia’s signature vehicles. I would not discuss renting a scooter to ride on your own since it is really complicated and not advisable. Yet let’s think about sitting on a scooter to wander around Hanoi. By the way, you can do that by means of scooter tours, Grab-bike, or having a Vietnamese friend given you a lift.
It has both pros and cons.
One pro is that scooters are the best way to experience the lives of the Vietnamese. It’s how most people commute every day. Also, the size of a scooter makes it possible to ride through small alleys which uncovers another hidden slide of Vietnamese’s daily lives. It is also really cheap.
Nevertheless, getting on a scooter also means exposure to the heavy noise and polluted air of Hanoi. Thus, scooters will offer you less comfort than cars.
Bicycle is good for a Hanoi cycling tour when you cycle around spacious and peaceful areas of the city such as Hong river or the West Lake. However, it is not suitable to go around in the city for someone who does not know the roads.
Recommended means of transportation for common routes
From Not bai airport to the city center
- By bus: You can catch a bus on Floor 1- Terminal 2 (International Terminals). Bus no.86 is a special bus from Noi Bai Airport to the city center. It has new facilities and English speaking conductors. Here is some information about the bus:
– Time: 5:30 to 22:30 from Hanoi station; 6:30 to 23:30 from Noi Bai airport.
– Frequency: Every 20-30 minutes. This bus follows its timetable quite accurately.
– Price: US$1,3/ one way.
- By car: taxi costs about US$9 to US$19. Private car price is included in travel packages.
From the city center to Vietnam Grand Prix area
It takes 12km (40 minutes) to go from the city center to My Dinh Stadium area, where Grand Prix racetrack is located.
Where should I stay in Hanoi?
Choosing to go around Hanoi by taxi or private cars can save up a fair amount of time and distance moving between places. Then it does not matter much whether you choose to stay near the Grand Prix area or not.
It may be convenient to stay near My Dinh Stadium area. But apparently, there are not a lot of choices and only a few luxury hotels.
Recommended hotels near My Dinh area:
Choosing to stay in the Old quarter (the city center) area is also a good option. It has no drawbacks other than the noise at night. The ideal location allows you to go to popular sight-seeings in Hanoi at convenience. What’s more, the place itself is a lively hub at night. Street food, beer culture, folk performance,… lots of interesting things for you to enjoy there.
Recommended hotel in the Old Quarter area:
Or else, you can choose to stay at any other location in Hanoi that meets your needs. It will not affect your Grand Prix experience much. Other common locations for travelers include the West Lake area, Hoan Kiem district, Dong Da district, etc
Recommended hotel in Hanoi in general:
During your trip
It’s hard to put your mind to anything else but Grand Prix. However, there’s one thing about Vietnam that I desperately want you not to miss: the food.
Vietnamese food is unique, diverse by regions and very fresh. What’s special? it can be seen in a street food store or in an expensive restaurant alike. Sometimes, a small shabby restaurant in a small alley serves the best dishes.
Therefore, we have made a list of must-try Vietnamese food for those who have little time to do food explore. These are foreigner-friendly, popular dishes that can be found in many places in Hanoi.
The best area for food in Hanoi is probably the city center (around the Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem district). You can easily find various and refined Vietnamese cuisines there. Most of our recommended places are in this area. These are also genuinely locally popular restaurants, not for tourists.
Pho is the de-pho-nitely must-try in Vietnam. The dish is a sophisticated blend of aromatic bone broth, rice noodles, and beef/ or chicken. Do you know the feeling of being unable to sleep craving a certain food? It is what Vietnamese people staying abroad feel about Pho in many nights.
Suggested Pho restaurant: Pho Khoi 50C Hang Vai
Coffee with egg seems to be a disgusting “Ew” at first, but it is an amazing “Oooh”. The egg is beaten until it lost its raw smell and turns into a tiramisu-like liquid. It’s creamy, caffein-rich and absolutely tasty.
Suggested Egg coffee shop: Giang Coffee, 39 Nguyen Huu Huan.
From my years of taking foreigner friends to Bun Cha, I have seen nobody disliking it. Bun Cha is a combination of grilled meat, vermicelli, fresh veggie, and fishing sauce. The meat is grilled on charcoal fire giving an aromatic smell and a juicy texture. But what makes it unique from other grilled-meat dishes is the dipping sauce. The taste is hard to tell, yet it blends other ingredients together perfectly.
Suggested Bun Cha restaurant: Bun Cha Cua Dong, 41 Cua Dong, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich)
One time I found an authentic Banh Mi store in Japan and I almost cried. Banh mi must be the most ubiquitous food in Vietnam. It can be as simple as a piece of baguette with egg and pate. Or it can be as complicated with various adds on, coriander, chicken, mushroom, pork flakes, etc. Banh mi is in front of every school and university, as well as in markets and small alleys. The taste of banh mi varies in different regions. Thus, I would highly recommend to try it more than once in Vietnam.
Suggested Banh mi shop: Banh mi P, 12 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem Ha Noi.
Vietnamese people love beer. You can see a lot of Vietnamese drinking very night. In terms of refined taste, Vietnamese beer – Bia Hoi can not be as good as Belgium or German beer. But as special as beer which it seems like every city in the world has their own brand of this beverage, local beer is always worth trying. Plus, there’s probably no better drinks for your Grand Prix experience than beers.
Suggested beer brands: Hanoi Beer, Truc Bach Beer. You can easily purchase in convenience stores.
Do & Don’t in Vietnam
To have a hassle-free convenience, there are some Do & Don’t that every Vietnam newbies should know.
- Keep your bag safe whenever you go out.
- Drink heaps of water to stay hydrated.
- Always carry some toilet paper. Some public restrooms in Vietnam do not have these.
- Bring with you eye drops, allergy medicines or other medicine that you may need. Especially when there are no Vietnamese to translate for you, it is challenging to explain to the pharmacist what you want.
- Travel with a credible agent. They can arrange your tour, find the right place you want to explore and help you avoid a lot of inconveniences too.
- Display public affection: Vietnam is still a conservative country. Holding hands is acceptable. But more intimate actions can make a lot of onlookers frown.
- Take pictures of military sites. You may end up in jail if you do.
- Bring a topic about the Vietnam war. Many Vietnamese has mixed feeling about this subject. So it’s taboo to do so.
- Hesitate to haggle if you’re buying from shop vendors or local markets. Vietnamese like to negotiate for the price. As a result, the first price that shop owners tell you may be higher than the actual price.
- Wear shorts and a sleeveless shirt, tank top to religious places. You should cover your tattoos also. It’s considered inappropriate to show a lot of your skin in sacred sites.
After Vietnam Grand Prix – Other things to do in Vietnam
Flying to a distant country like Vietnam can be long and exhausting. Thus, prolonging your stay in Vietnam and visiting other regions besides Hanoi is a good strategy to make your flight more worthy.
For someone who plans to combine their Grand Prix trip with a Vietnam tour, here are our suggested destinations:
It is a famous Unesco site with unique geology of limestone pillars and emerald water. A trip to Halong is often a cruise tour. You will relish yourself on a luxury cruise while visiting interesting caves, islands, and beaches of Halong Bay. It’s also the time for a little adventure like kayaking, rock climbing, swimming is some famous sports games you can play there.
Widely known for the majestic terraced fields, Sapa awes travelers with amazing mountainous landscapes and indigenous culture of ethnic minorities. You can expect to taste delicate tea, stay in a traditional house and experience local markets there.
Pu Luong is the ultimate destination for exploration-lovers. You will fall for steep slopes of jagged mountains, thatched bamboo houses on stilts and natural waterfall there. There are no better places to discover Vietnam rural lives: adults would farm on huge terraced fields and children would happily play in the courtyards.
Hoi An used to be a trading port leaving a legacy of historic buildings, colonial architecture and a lovely waterfront. Nowadays. It is a living museum registered as one of the UNESCO Heritage Sites. A sweet blend of art, history, and culture. A sun-baked beach, awe-inspiring architecture, magnificent foods are good enough for you to explore.
Known as “Halong Bay on land”, Ninh Binh has beautiful scenery of limestone monoliths and dense greenery. The whole city is scattered by rivers caves formed in them. One of the must-do activities is to explore those rivers in a small rowing boat. Local oarsmen who can row with their feet will take travelers to stunning caves and sites of Ninh Binh.
You can easily enjoy a day trip to Ninh Binh from Hanoi. As it is only about a 2-hour drive from the capital.
Vietnam Itinerary for Grand Prix trip
Here are our Vietnam Grand Prix tours 2020 to go with your Grand Prix Experience. These are all well-loved destinations of our clients and we are sure you will love them too.
- Pu Luong To Ninh Binh 4 Days
- Da Nang – Hoi An 3 Days
- Ninh Binh – Halong 3 Days
- Sapa Discovery 3 Days
- Halong Bay 2 Days
- Mai Chau Escape 2 Days
These are only suggested tours. If you want a different experience, that is okay, as a private tour agency, we – Indochina Voyages organize tours at your will. Every change can be made until the last minute.
Now I hope you get the information you need to plan a memorable Grand Prix trip. One last reminder: The closer it gets to the D-day, the pricier hotels and flights become. It’s better to plan your trip and make reservations months before.
Whether you decide to go to Vietnam Grand Prix or not, I’d like to wish you a lovely day and a merry Christmas this year.
Chi Tran – Travel Specialist