Vietnam’s Infrastructure: Hanoi

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Nov. 25 – As a transport hub of the Red River Delta, Hanoi features a large network of waterways, railways and highways connecting the region. Infrastructure development has been a priority in the city, with the local government taking steps to ensure that the continued flow of goods and investment into the city can be sustained to uphold its strong economic growth.

Intracity Transport

Rapid economic expansion in Hanoi has led to substantial growth in the city’s population, adding over 400,000 new citizens each year since 2008. This population boom, while benefitting the local economy through the addition of young and skilled workers, has also led to congestion within the city’s transportation network. Due to this, motorcycles and mopeds have become the preferred means of transportation in Hanoi. According to the Institute of Transport Planning and Management, motorcycles outnumber cars by 10-to-1. Car ownership is on the rise in Hanoi, however, with an annual growth rate of 10 percent.

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In an effort to relieve traffic congestion, the government of Hanoi has worked to increase inexpensive bus routes and other public transportation options in the city. For example, Hanoi transport authorities plan to install an additional 12.5 km line to its light rail network, which began construction in 2011. The first stage will become operational in 2015 and will carry 150,000 passengers per day. The project’s final stage will be complete by 2030, with the rail network boasting a capacity of 500,000 each day.


Noi Bai International Airport, 28 miles (45km) or approximately 1 hour by car from central Hanoi, is the main airport in the north of the country. The airport also handles air freight and carries out logistics and exporting activities, with direct scheduled flights to all continents.

There is only one domestic airport in Hanoi. The Gia Lam Airport, located on the eastern bank of the Red River, is used primarily for military training activities, as well as chartered helicopter taxi flights for tourists visiting nearby attractions such as Halong Bay or Ba Vi Mountain. The airport is due to become a fully functional civilian domestic airport by 2015, however, and will offer regional flights throughout Vietnam.


Hanoi is an important hub for the Trans-Vietnam railway line (“Reunion Express”) from Lang Son province to Ho Chi Minh City in the South. With a length of 1,726 km, it goes through 21 cities and provinces of Vietnam. In addition, there are several arterial railways for freight transport, including railways to Hai Phong, Lao Cai and Lang Son.

Ports and Waterways

Hanoi has a small river harbor located on the Red River (An Duong harbor) with a number of barges and other shallow-draft vessels. The dimensions of these vessels are relatively small, with a limited capacity, due to the shallowness of the Red River.

The merger of the capital with Ha Tay province, four communes of Hoa Binh province and one district of Vinh Phuc province in 2008 extended the city’s jurisdiction into the complex system of rivers and lakes surrounding the city. Hanoi is proud of the beauty of her lakes and rivers, but they also serve a very practical function: the regulation of water during the region’s wet season.


Hanoi’s road system is well-connected and allows easy transport to the city’s neighboring provinces, facilitating the vast logistical requirements of businesses operating in the region.

There are on-going activities to build and improve highways and bridges in the Red River Delta Area. The key expressway from Noi Bai to Lao Cai, which helps connect Hanoi to the Chinese border, is expected to be in use this year and will be 254km in length, cutting the trip to Yunnan in China from a ten to six hour journey.

The National Road 1A is the trans-Vietnam highway, stretching over 2,300 km and connecting Hanoi to all the country’s major provinces. To the west of National Road 1A is the Ho Chi Minh Highway, which is a new two-lane highway that is due to increase to eight lanes and will also reach extensively into every province in Vietnam.

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