As Hanoi is the largest city and tourist center in northern Vietnam and a major international gateway, few Western visitors actually arrive here by car. Those who do are usually coming from Ho Chi Minh City via Highway 1 or from Danang or Hue after flying there from Ho Chi Minh City. A much more common method is to tour the south by land, by car or train from Ho Chi Minh City to Hue and then fly from there to Hanoi.
It's quite easy to arrange leaving Hanoi by car for side trips. There are any number of reputable international and local rental companies that will hire you a car and driver. You can count on paying around 1,500,000d per day in the city for an air-conditioned sedan and a driver. Expect to pay 2,000,000d or more per day for a minivan. You can arrange for a pickup at your hotel, although a deposit—usually 50% of the fare and some form of identification, such as a photocopy of your passport—is often expected. There is no need for you to leave your passport with the agency renting you the car.
Finding Your Way
Addresses in Vietnam often contain words such as district (huyen), road (duong), or street (pho). Odd- and even-number addresses are usually on different sides of the street. Sometimes one address is broken into several units (A, B, C, etc.).