Hanoi, the vibrant capital of Vietnam, boasts a rich history and culture that attracts travelers from all around the world. Deciding where to stay in Hanoi may seem daunting due to the city’s diverse neighborhoods and accommodation options, but fear not – this article is here to help. From budget backpacker hostels to luxurious five-star hotels, Hanoi has something to offer every type of traveler.
The city’s most popular area for first-time visitors is the Hoan Kiem district, which encompasses the charming maze-like streets of the Old Quarter. This central neighborhood provides easy access to historical sites, local markets, and delicious street food. If nightlife is more your speed, Tay Ho is an expat-friendly area with lively bars and clubs. For family-oriented stays, you might consider the serene Truc Bach neighborhood, known for its peaceful atmosphere and picturesque lakeside views.
A visit to Hanoi isn’t complete without exploring the city’s numerous attractions, such as Hoan Kiem Lake, the Temple of Literature, and the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh. Of course, don’t forget to join in on a traditional Vietnamese pastime by sipping a cup of coffee at one of Hanoi’s many cozy cafés. With countless experiences awaiting you, your stay in Hanoi is guaranteed to be unforgettable.
Where To Stay
Popular Neighborhoods in Hanoi
The Old Quarter is the historic heart of Hanoi and a favorite spot for tourists. Its narrow streets, colorful markets, and traditional shops offer a glimpse into the city’s past. There’s always something happening here, from street food vendors to cultural performances. Among the attractions in the Old Quarter, you’ll find the Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple, and Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre.
- Fun Fact: The Old Quarter’s streets are named after the products that were sold there in the past, such as Silk Street and Silver Street.
- Things to do: Shop for souvenirs at Dong Xuan Market, taste local street food, and explore the ancient temples and pagodas.
Located just south of the Old Quarter, the French Quarter is characterized by its elegant colonial architecture and tree-lined boulevards. This area is home to luxurious hotels, high-end restaurants, and a number of foreign embassies.
- Interesting Story: The French Quarter was built during French colonial rule and sought to create a “Little Paris” in the heart of Hanoi.
- Things to do: Take a leisurely walk along the grand boulevards, visit the Hanoi Opera House, or dine at a fine French restaurant.
Ba Dinh is the political center of Hanoi, with important government buildings and historical sites such as the Presidential Palace and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. This neighborhood is a great option for first-time visitors due to its central location and proximity to famous landmarks.
- Fun Fact: Ba Dinh Square is the largest square in Vietnam and the location where Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam’s independence in 1945.
- Things to do: Visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, explore the One Pillar Pagoda, and learn about Vietnamese history at the Ho Chi Minh Museum.
Tay Ho, also known as West Lake, is a lively neighborhood popular for its nightlife, expat community, and stunning views of the lake. It’s an ideal area for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city center.
- Interesting Story: West Lake was once part of the Red River and gradually turned into a separate body of water due to the natural process of soil deposition.
- Things to do: Enjoy a drink at one of the many rooftop bars, try international cuisine at the neighborhood’s diverse eateries or rent a bicycle and ride around the lake.
West Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Hanoi, offering a serene and peaceful atmosphere for locals and visitors alike. It is an ideal area for outdoor lovers, with plenty of parks, green spaces, and scenic viewpoints.
- Fun Fact: West Lake has a number of ancient temples and pagodas dotted along its shoreline, some of which date back over 1,000 years.
- Things to do: Explore Tran Quoc Pagoda, take a leisurely walk around the lake, or visit the local flower market, Quang Ba Flower Village.
Hanoi offers a variety of accommodation options for travelers, catering to different preferences and budgets. In this section, we will explore some popular types of accommodations: Hotels, Hostels, Apartments, and Homestays.
Hanoi boasts a wide range of hotels, from budget options to luxurious five-star establishments. Some notable hotels in the Hoan Kiem District include Maison d’Hanoi Boutique Hotel and Hanoi Pearl Hotel. If you’re looking for a more upscale experience, consider staying at Sheraton Hanoi Hotel overlooking West Lake.
- Budget: Bonsella Hotel, The Chi Boutique Hotel
- Mid-range: Minerva Church Hotel, Drumie House
- Luxury: InterContinental Hanoi Westlake, Fraser Suites Hanoi
For budget-conscious travelers or those looking to socialize with fellow travelers, hostels are a great choice. Some recommended hostels in the Hoan Kiem area of Hanoi include Hanoi Lucky Hostel and Nexy Hostel. These hostels offer affordable dormitory-style accommodations or private rooms, typically with shared bathrooms and common areas.
- Cheapest: Old Quarter View Hanoi Hostel, North Hostel N.2
- Budget Friendly: Old Quarter Hanoi Lucky Hostel, Nexy Hostel
If you prefer a more home-like environment or plan to stay in Hanoi for an extended period, serviced apartments might be your best bet. Some options in the West Lake area are Somerset West Point Hanoi and Fraser Suites Hanoi. Serviced apartments provide more space and often include amenities like kitchens, living rooms, and laundry facilities.
- Mid-range: Somerset West Point Hanoi, Fraser Suites Hanoi
For those who want to immerse themselves in Vietnamese culture, a homestay with a local family can be an enlightening experience. Homestays allow you to experience daily life in Hanoi, enjoy home-cooked meals, and learn about local customs and traditions. Some websites like Airbnb and Homestay.com can help you find suitable options in various neighborhoods throughout the city.
- Cultural Experience: Homestays with local families
Fun Fact: Hanoi’s Old Quarter is over 1,000 years old and has a rich history dating back to the Ly and Tran dynasties.
Things to do: While in Hanoi, make sure to explore the vibrant Old Quarter, take a stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake, visit the Temple of Literature, and savor the delicious local cuisine at street food stalls or traditional restaurants.
When planning a trip to Hanoi, Vietnam, it’s essential to consider the various price ranges for accommodations to suit your preferences and budget. In this section, we’ll explore the different categories, including Budget-friendly, Mid-range, and Luxury options.
If you’re traveling on a tight budget, Hanoi offers plenty of affordable accommodations that won’t break the bank. Hostels and guesthouses in the city provide clean and comfortable rooms for a reasonable price. Some popular budget choices include Hanoi Lucky Hostel and Old Quarter View Hanoi Hostel.
- Hanoi Lucky Hostel: approximate price range $10-15
- Old Quarter View Hanoi Hostel: approximate price range $10-15
For travelers seeking a balance between price and comfort, Hanoi’s mid-range hotels offer more amenities and services without breaking the bank. These options typically include modern facilities, spacious rooms, and excellent customer service. Some notable mid-range accommodations are Minerva Church Hotel and Hanoi Pearl Hotel.
- Minerva Church Hotel: approximate price range $40-60
- Hanoi Pearl Hotel: approximate price range $40-60
If you’re looking for a more luxurious stay in Hanoi, reservations at 5-star hotels or boutique accommodations will satisfy your needs with premium services, lavish rooms, and superior cuisine. Some top-end options include Apricot Hotel and Pan Pacific Hanoi.
- Apricot Hotel: approximate price range $100-200
- Pan Pacific Hanoi: approximate price range $100-200
Fun Fact or Interesting Story
Hanoi’s Old Quarter, dating back over 1,000 years, is known for its rich history and vibrant culture. It consists of 36 ancient streets, each named after the types of goods that were traditionally sold on that street. Today, you can still find some streets that maintain these historical trades, creating a unique and fascinating shopping experience for visitors.
Things to do
There is always something to do in Hanoi, no matter your interests. Here are some highlights:
- Stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake, a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.
- Visit the Temple of Literature, regarded as one of Hanoi’s most picturesque attractions.
- Taste the delicious street food, such as pho and banh mi, at local markets and street vendors.
- Explore the wide range of museums, from the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
- Experience the bustling nightlife in Tay Ho district or enjoy a traditional Vietnamese water puppet show.
Proximity to Attractions
When choosing where to stay in Hanoi, it’s important to consider the proximity to popular attractions. This section will discuss the accessibility to historic sites, museums, and markets in Hanoi.
Hanoi is rich in history, which can be experienced through its numerous historic sites. Some of the best neighborhoods for exploring these sites include:
- Ba Dinh: This area is home to many important landmarks, such as the Presidential Palace and Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, a historic 5-star hotel, is also located here.
- Hoan Kiem: If you’re staying in this central district, you’ll be close to the iconic Hoan Kiem Lake and the Old Quarter – a maze of bustling streets steeped in history.
Hanoi has a wealth of museums that showcase its culture and history. Staying in areas like Hai Ba Trung and Hoan Kiem will give you easy access to these fascinating institutions. Some notable museums include:
- Vietnam Museum of Ethnology: Located in Hai Ba Trung, this museum showcases the diverse cultures and traditions of Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups.
- Hoa Lo Prison Museum: Also known as the “Hanoi Hilton,” this museum in Hoan Kiem tells the story of Vietnam’s history under French colonial rule and the subsequent Vietnam War through the experiences of its prisoners.
Staying in Hanoi’s Old Quarter will provide you with easy access to many bustling markets, perfect for experiencing the local way of life and picking up unique souvenirs. These include:
- Dong Xuan Market: The largest indoor market in Hanoi, offering a variety of goods, from clothes to fresh produce.
- Hang Da Market: Known for its fashion items and local crafts, this market is a must-visit for shopaholics.
Fun Fact: The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi hosted the historic 2019 summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. This adds another interesting layer of history to this elegant hotel.
Interesting Story: When exploring the Old Quarter narrow streets, you might come across the famous Train Street, a residential area where a train passes through twice a day, just inches away from the locals’ daily life. It’s a unique and exciting experience to witness!
Hanoi offers diverse transportation options to tourists and locals alike. In this section, we will introduce you to different means of transportation, including public transportation, taxis and ride-sharing services, as well as bike and scooter rentals.
Hanoi’s public transportation system includes buses and the future metro line. Buses offer a budget-friendly option to navigate through the city. They usually operate between 5 am to 9 pm, connecting major attractions and locations. To make your experience smoother, consider getting a Hanoi Bus Card, which can be purchased in bus stations.
However, the metro line is still under construction and not available for use just yet. Once completed, the metro system is expected to improve transportation within the city, with destinations such as the Pullman Hanoi Hotel in close proximity to new stations.
Taxis and Ride-sharing
Taxis are readily available in Hanoi, and they offer a convenient way to travel within the city. Keep in mind that it is always best to choose reputable taxi operators, such as Mai Linh and Vinasun, to avoid scams or inflated fares. Make sure the taxi is equipped with a working meter.
Ride-sharing services like Grab and Go-Viet are popular alternatives to traditional taxis in Hanoi. You can use their respective apps to book rides with hassle-free payment options. These services often have cheaper fares compared to taxis, but surge pricing can apply during peak hours.
Bike and Scooter Rentals
Renting bikes or scooters is a common choice for tourists looking to explore Hanoi at their own pace. Numerous rental shops offer daily, weekly, or monthly rental plans. Remember to verify the condition of the bike or scooter before heading out and always bring along an international driver’s license
Fun Fact: Hanoi’s chaotic traffic may look intimidating, but many tourists find that weaving through the bustling streets on a bike or scooter offers an exhilarating and unforgettable experience.
Things to do:
- Stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake and the Old Quarter
- Visit the Temple of Literature and Vietnam Fine Arts Museum
- Taste local street food and Vietnamese coffee
- Attend a water puppet show at Thang Long Theatre
- Explore the tranquility of West Lake and Tay Ho district