For a tour around Hanoi’s Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake area, one has many options: hiring a “xich lo”- Vietnamese cyclo, using “xe om”- motor-taxi service, riding a bicycle, even walking. Or yet for another green alternative, one can choose to hop on the electric car and enjoy a short city tour, on a public service specifically aimed at tourists only.
Where can I find electric cars?
Once one decides to explore Old Quarter by electric car, the next logical question will be where to find one. There are a lot of electric cars quietly rolling on the street, but one needs to buy the ticket at the terminal to get in, and sometimes it is not very easy to find the place. FYI, the ticket stall is located on Dinh Tien Hoang Street- the tree-lined boulevard right next to Hoan Kiem Lake and the (weekend) walking street. This is also the terminal. It should be obvious to sight enough, with the number of electric cars parking nearby and the many people waiting for their turn.
Ticket price, route, and time- everything you need to know
To score a seat in the electric car and have a chance to enjoy a 45-minute ride in the heart of Hanoi, be ready to lighten up the wallet some 15,000 vnd per person. Fortunately, the price is the same to both locals and foreigners, and it is free for children under 5 years old. Each car can carry a maximum load of 8 passengers at any given time, and no bulky luggage is allowed.
The route is about 7km with 10 stations; with Dinh Tien Hoang Street is both the first and the final stop. The itinerary contains up to 28 commercial streets, 13 old streets, 3 pagodas, 8 historic sites and many tourism destinations around Hoan Kiem Lake area and Dong Xuan Market.
The electric cars are ready to take in passengers from 8.30 a.m to 16.30 p.m, and from 19 p.m to 23 p.m. The tour will simultaneously start any time whenever the car is at full capacity.
Fun facts about electric cars
The electric car tour first ran on July 17th, 2010, in celebration of Hanoi’s 1000th birthday. It was an effort by city’s officials to recall nostalgia in Hanoi, as it may be surprising for some that there was time when Hanoi only had electric trains and bicycles!
While enjoying the city tour, tourists will also have a chance to listen to many beautiful old songs about Hanoi played on the car’s speaker. There too will be explanation as for the history of each street the car is going through, but unfortunately, it is in Vietnamese.
Here is a good chance for people to get to know some friendly locals, because not only foreigners but also Vietnamese from all over the country love the car for its safety, affordability, and friendliness with the environment. This tour even attracts Hanoians, especially the elders and children and people who want to see their own city in a different way.
In the near future, there will be a new electric car tour around West Lake– a historical and cultural hub for many Hanoians, also the biggest lake in town, with the route reaching 18km.