Where East meets West: Where to stay in Hanoi
If you want to experience the vibrant, exotic Vietnamese culture, Hanoi should be one of your first stops. The city is a fascinating mixture of Eastern and Western cultures. You will get an insight into the authentic Vietnamese lifestyle, but also notice some interesting Western influences from its colonial history.
Photo credit: whatsupvietnamcom
Our top 5 neighborhoods to stay in Hanoi
In a city as big and foreign as Hanoi, it’s hard to pick an ideal place to stay in. To help you out, we have assessed all major neighborhoods and picked the best ones:
- Ba Dinh
- Hai Ba Trung
- Thanh Xuan
- Old Quarter
- Cau Giay
When making our picks, we considered several factors:
- Accommodation options and prices
- Historical and cultural sights
- Entertainment options
- Whether the area is well-connected
|Where to stay in Hanoi|
|Best for your first visit||Ba Dinh||Home to major tourist attractions|
|Best for hipsters||Hai Ba Trung||Less touristy neighborhood where you can experience the authentic Vietnamese vibe|
|Best without breaking the bank||Thanh Xuan||An affordable area that is well-connected with the city center|
|Best for crazy nightlife||Old Quarter||Most vibrant, crowded part of the city, filled with bars, pubs, and clubs|
|Best for long-term stay||Cau Giay||A quiet neighborhood with plenty of job opportunities|
Photo credit: vietnamnomad
Where to stay in Hanoi on your first visit — Ba Dinh
When you visit a city for the first time, you want to stay close to as many cool sights as possible, right? This is what makes Ba Dinh an ideal neighborhood for first-timers. This area has plenty of attractions, museums, galleries, and entertainment options to keep you busy all day long. The neighborhood is located on the Lake Ho Tays’s southern shore so you can enjoy the spectacular view of the lake while sipping drinks in one of the lakeside restaurants. It is close to the Old Quarter, the historic center of the city, so you can easily get there to see some extra landmarks. Ba Dinh is much more peaceful than the very center so you won’t have to worry about your safety.
Things to do in Ba Dinh
Here are some ideas of places in Ba Dinh that are well worth visiting:
- The Imperial Citadel
- Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
- The Temple of Literature
- The Vietnam Fine Arts Museum
- Lotte Center Hanoi
Best for history buffs: The Imperial Citadel
The Imperial Citadel and its Flag Tower are probably the most visited landmarks in Hanoi. Over a millennium old, the citadel was the main center of Vietnam’s political power for over eight centuries. Besides the beautiful building and its gardens, you can also see artifacts excavated from all around Asia, such as pottery, ceramics, and bronze coins. The citadel is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Photo credit: aleaftolive
Best for culture vultures: Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Those who love exploring Vietnamese culture shouldn’t miss Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum—the final resting place of the “Uncle Ho”, Vietnam’s most beloved leader. His remains are preserved in a glass case and the mausoleum was modeled after Lenin’s mausoleum in Moscow.
Photo credit: andrexplores
Best for those unafraid of heights: Lotte Center Hanoi
If heights don’t make you frightened, you should consider visiting Lotte Center Hanoi, the second-highest skyscraper in the city. The observatory on its 65th floor is amazing. The breathtaking view of the whole of Hanoi will surely sweep you off your feet.
Where to stay in Ba Dinh
Since Ba Dinh is the very heart of the city, accommodation in this area isn’t cheap. The average price per night is around $60. Here are our top picks:
Budget option: this affordable house – Old Quarter View Hostel
Midrange option: this modern apartment.
Luxurious option: this enormous apartment.
Where to stay in Hanoi for hipsters—Hai Ba Trung
If you’re one of the “cool kids” who want to enjoy historical sights and genuine Vietnamese experience, you will love Hai Ba Trung. This hip, modern area is located on the Lake’s southern shore and sits right next to the Old Quarter. In this part of the city, you will be able to try authentic Vietnamese food, roam around street markets, explore interesting cafes, and really get a taste of the local culture.
What to visit in Hai Ba Trung
Hai Ba Trung is full of beautiful places you may enjoy. Here are some ideas:
- Hai Ba Trung Temple
- The Women’s Museum
- Quan De Thich Pagoda
- Ruby Plaza
Best overall: Hai Ba Trung Temple
When visiting Hanoi, it would be a shame to miss Hai Ba Trung Temple as it is one of the most popular and beautiful temples in the city. You will see 2000 years old statues of the Trung sisters, ancient military leaders that the whole district is named after. Although the sisters committed suicide, the altar presents their violent deaths at the hand of the enemy.
Photo credit: ziggy_hazeleyes86
Best for culture vultures: The Women’s Museum
If you’re a fan of gender studies, The Women’s Museum is a must-see. It shows how the role of a Vietnamese woman changed during the centuries and celebrates women’s contributions to Vietnamese culture and society.
Photo credit: lucidsemiotics
Where to stay in Hai Ba Trung
In Hai Ba Trung, you can easily find good accommodation for any price range. On average, one night costs around $40. Take a look at our favorite places:
Budget option: this affordable room with a balcony.
Midrange option: this nice apartment.
Luxurious option: this luxurious hotel
The Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi is conveniently located in the heart of Hanoi’s central business district, a 40-minute drive from Noi Bai international airport and only 5 minutes from the city centre and its Old Quarter. This makes our hotel ideal for business and leisure travelers.
Where to stay in Hanoi without breaking the bank—Thanh Xuan
Thanh Xuan is the best place in Hanoi for backpackers and young globetrotters as it offers plenty of budget options. There are all sorts of economical accommodation, including hostels, Airbnb’s, and low-key hotels. The restaurants are cheaper than those in the city center and there are many affordable entertainment options. The neighborhood lies west to the Hai Ba Trung and is well-connected to the downtown areas of the city.
What to do in Thanh Xuan
If you’re wondering how to fill your day without leaving Thanh Xuan, we recommend you check out these places:
- Vincom Mega Mall Royal City
- Phuong Liet Lake
- Tam Huyen Pagoda
- Vietnam People’s Air Force Museum
Best for entertainment: Vincom Mega Mall Royal City
Thanh Xuan’s Mega Mall is a place that offers something for everyone. Besides all sorts of shops and boutiques, the mall has an ice skating rink, beautiful gardens, and interesting sculptures. Underneath the mall, you will find Vinpear Land Water Park, Vietnam’s only indoor water park.
Photo credit: crisanstevina
Best for historians: Vietnam People’s Air Force Museum
If you’re fascinated by military memorabilia, this museum will leave a lasting impression on you. You will see all sorts of helicopters, tanks, MIGs, and radars. You can even hop into a jet fighter and get a picture.
Photo credit: ashzeppelin
Where to stay in Thanh Xuan
The main reason we love Thanh Xuan so much is that it offers plenty of cheap accommodation options. One night accommodation costs around $30 on average. Here are our top picks:
Budget option: this affordable yet beautiful looking hotel
Midrange option: this comfy apartment.
Luxurious option: Hanoi Grand Plaza Hotel – Elegant quarters in a modern high-rise hotel with dining, a spa & a department store.
Where to stay in Hanoi for wild nightlife—Old Quarter/Hoan Kiem
Old Quarter, the historical center of the city and the northern part of the Hoan Kiem area, is where all the action takes place. Located in the very center of the city, this neighborhood is known for its numerous pagodas, old gates, and traditional shops. It is also where all major bars and clubs are located. It is an absolute favorite among tourists as you will have something fun to do at any time of day or night. Old Quarter is also handy because there are plenty of accommodation options, ranging from budget Airbnb’s to high-end hotels.
Where to go out in Old Quarter
In the Old Quarter, you’ll never get bored. There are so many things to see! Here are some places we recommend you visit first:
- Bia Hoi Junction
- Water Puppet Theater
- Binh Minh Jazz Club
- Le Pub Hanoi
Best for casual nights: Bia Hoi Junction
There is no place in Hanoi where you can enjoy the authentic Vietnamese vibe like Bia Hoi Junction. Although sitting outside on a plastic stool and drinking cheap Vietnamese beer maybe doesn’t sound like a fantastic idea, trust us—you’ll love it. The street is crowded, and people are extremely friendly so chances are you will make many new friends.
Photo credit: geoff_d_robson
Best for party animals: Le Pub Hanoi
If you want to dance until you drop (or at least until the sun starts rising), Le Pub is the place to go to. This stylish club hosts the best Vietnamese live bands, and you may also hear some international music. There are plenty of booze promotions and ladies get to drink cocktails for free every Thursday.
Photo credit: sirisopa
Where to stay in the Old Quarter
Old Quarter has many accommodation options. On average, one night costs around $40. Check out our favorite places:
Budget option: Diamond King Hotel & Restaurant
Midrange option: this modern apartment with a balcony.
Luxurious option: this beautiful apartment – Hanoi Old Quarter Hotel
Where to stay in Hanoi long term—Cau Giay
Although most people find Tai Ho to be heaven for expats, we think that Can Giay is a far better option. The accommodation is incredibly affordable as there are hundreds of new buildings and condo projects ideal for those considering moving to Hanoi permanently. The area is full of business centers and office buildings. There are also several English learning centers and international schools, so English native speakers can easily find jobs close to their new homes. You can also look for work opportunities in Tai Ho as it won’t take you more than 10 minutes to get there by car or motorbike. The only area where this neighborhood falls short is that the streets leading to the center are usually crowded so you may get stuck in traffic quite often.
What to do in Cau Giay
Both expats and tourists have plenty of things to do in Cau Giay. Let’s take a look at some ideas:
- Nghia Do Park
- Com Lang Vong
- Due Tu Pagoda
- Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
Best for foodies: Com Lang Vong
Com Lang Vong, the so-called Green Rice Village, is Cau Giay’s hidden gem that no Vietnamese cuisine lover should miss. In the village, you will try this essential Vietnamese culinary specialty, learn everything about its history, and see how it is made.
Photo credit: svietnammm
Best for culture vultures: Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
Vietnam is a multicultural country with a diverse culture. In the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, you will get familiar with all 54 ethnic groups, religions, and cultural heritage.
Photo credit: newtopmab
Where to stay in Cau Giay
Cau Giay is full of apartments, hostels, and AirBnBs. On average, it will cost you around $40 a night. These are our favorite places:
Budget option: this adorable apartment – Au Viet Hotel
Midrange option: this eco-friendly apartment.
Luxury option: London Hanoi Hotel