Where to stay in Hanoi?
Whether you are planning short holiday or a long term move, chances are that you are wondering where to stay in Hanoi. This city is deceptively large and not many of the cities best neighborhoods are known to Hanoi newbies!
I have lived in three of the seven most popular neighborhoods in my almost two years in Hanoi, and I have worked in two of the other districts. So I feel as though I have a good sense of each of these neighborhoods unique *vibes*
This guide will help you when deciding where is best to spend your stay in Hanoi!
Here are the most popular areas to stay in Hanoi, Vietnam:
This is going to be the most popular area for tourists to stay while in Hanoi, Hoan Kiem district is very central, and you are right in the cities Old Quarter. Here you will find all the touristy sights, famous temples, along with crumbling gorgeous french architecture, bustling markets, street vendors and busy roads.
If you are looking to stay here on holiday a good rule of thumb is to look for a hotel close to Hoan Kiem Lake or St. Joseph’s Cathedral. This will ensure that you are central and will easily be able to taxi or walk to all the different places of interest.
Living in Hoan Kiem is also an option, it will be the most expensive area to live in Hanoi costing double what you would pay in the other neighborhoods. Along with the price it may be difficult to find modern apartments which are not too expensive because well the old quarter is… old. Apartment searching here in Hoan Kiem may just require a higher budget or more time searching to the perfect place.
For a one bedroom, one bath with modern appliances it will cost you around 500-700 USD a month. For hotels and hostels you can find anything from 5 USD – 300 USD a night!
You will be super central and surrounded by all of the quintessential Hanoi things.
It is very busy, so honking, and lots of traffic will be common. Often times for apartments you won’t have a car park and will live above a business.
Hai Bà Trưng
Just south of Hoan Kiem district is the Hai Ba Trung area! Just like in a computer game when you level up you can unlock a secret box, Hai Ba Trung is this box! This corner of Hanoi is much less explored by travelers and expats alike.
The area is predominantly Vietnamese families but recently there has been an uptick in the rental properties and airbnb’s available. Trendier lofts and studios are popping up, making this up and coming neighborhood an awesome option if you’re looking for a quieter version of Hoan Kiem without venturing too far away.
Airbnb’s in Hai Ba Trung will cost you around 20-50 USD a night and apartments there will be 400-550 USD a month.
In Hai Ba Trung District you can get all of the culture without all of the tourists! It is still in a great location but just slightly removed from the craziness of the Old Quarter, a location that can give you real taste of Hanoian life.
Similar prices to the Old Quarter but being slightly further away from less western conveniences.
Located up at the top of the metropolitan Hanoi area, Tay Ho is an expat mecca. This little peninsula and is full to the brim with restaurants, bars, apartment buildings and construction.
It seems like all expats in Hanoi have congregated here and created their own hybrid Vietnamese society, where there are big fancy gyms and modern grocery stores but at the same time there are local markets and roadside coconut stands. Here you will find important political people, Starbucks coffee shops, Italian food and sushi bars. Sometimes it doesn’t even feel like you’re in Vietnam!
Tay Ho is situated right on gorgeous Westlake giving it sweeping views all the way across Hanoi but that does make it a little bit further outside of the city center.
Tay Ho is booming right now in popularity making the market flooded with real estate. For a one bedroom, one bath depending on how new it is you could spend anywhere from 200-450 a month.
There are also a large amount of houses here since there is more space, so it is common for a number of people to rent them out room by room in which case the prices get cheaper.
Many western conveniences, less pollution and more bang for your buck!
May feel almost like you aren’t even in Vietnam and it is more isolated – farther away from the center of town.
Related: 20 of Hanoi’s Best Bars
This area is personally my favorite place in Hanoi to live! Located in between Hoan Kiem and Tay Ho Truc Bach is the perfect in-between, a harmonious mix of old and new. Truc Bach is a relatively small area the brunt of it being a petite island in the middle of the appropriately named Truc Bach Lake.
A quick walk around this area in the morning will transport you back in time, older generations out walking, doing their morning moment exercise, hazy mist lifting off the lake, friends sipping a coffee or groups of old men playing checkers.
Life on and around the island is slower than the busy Hoan Kiem and not as westernized as in Tay ho. Small shops, restaurants and cafes are discreetly tucked away, a full district that embodies the words “hidden gem.”
Living in Truc Bach is similarly priced to living in Hoan Kiem, apartments are limited since the area is relatively small, and though construction is constant in all of Vietnam, here family homes are the majority of the infrastructures, meaning the conversion to apartment blocks is not as common. Here you will pay 500+ if you can find a place! Airbnb’s are around 20 dollars a night.
Great location – very local, but full of hip and interesting cafes and bars. Not as much traffic or pollution and lots of trees and you are close to the lake.
Just kidding. The lake sometimes smells kind of bad, and prices here are sometimes a bit higher than in Tay Ho or other districts.
So, Ba Dinh (pronounced Ba Ding) is another great option if you are mentally in-between choosing to live or stay in Hoan Kiem or Tay Ho. Technicallllyyy the above neighborhood of Truc Bach is actually Ba Dinh also! It is just a subset of it.
Ba Dinh is that larger area which is the bottom of West Lake. This area is full of interesting cafes and bars. Since it is quite large you will be hard pressed to find another western expat or tourist around! It mimics what I said about Truc Bach, sans lake.
Depending on where you are in the district you may be closer to Tay Ho or closer to Hoan Kiem and the Truc Bach area. This district is very popular with English Teachers here in Hanoi as it offers a great balance!
Ba Dinh has a wide variety of different types of accomodations. Here you can find houses for rent, making it possible for you to just rent one room, something that would cost you around 200 USD. There are also apartments not all of which are brand new making the range of prices greater!
Wide selection of different styles of apartments and airbnb’s. Trendy cafes and bars, lower priced accommodation across the board.
Maybe further out of the city depending on location within the district. Pollution may build up.
As Hanoi grew out from the Old Quarter much of it over flowed into to Dong Da, creating one massive wave of industry. Affectionately dubbed the “New Quarter” Dong Da is modern, but not in a futuristic kind of way, just in a city sort of way. This is the area of Hanoi which has towers of offices and future plans for a sky train. There are houses built on top of houses and then buildings on top of them. A boom of construction!
It is also getting quite trendy with local Vietnamese people. Local cafes, clothing stores, and restaurant chains are following the current and establishing themselves there. Bubble Tea shops full of teenagers are a common scene and local rectangular parks and outdoor gyms are the norm. The area is so large that a lot of Hanoi’s population lives in Dong Da.
Because there is so much building in Dong Da there is quite a lot of options for accommodation. Here houses or apartments will be some of the cheapest in the city, two bedroom apartments are around 500-600 USD where you can get fully furnished band new one bedrooms for 400 USD.
Very local, living here would give you a great feel for the day to day life of a Hanoian. Authentic experience of living unattached to western comforts.
Traffic is a huge concern in Dong Da, this is where I worked for a year and the roads cannot handle the amount of people. With that traffic comes pollution, lots of it. You are also quite far away from central Hanoi.
In Hanoi there is a large river which separates the Hoan Kiem side from the Long Bien side. If you pop over the bridge then ta da (!) you are in Long Bien. This is also an up and coming area in Hanoi. You are close to the center of town, but don’t need to worry as much about the traffic or tourists. This is also an area where many local Vietnamese families live.
Like in Dong Da, local restaurants and other chains have started to establish themselves making it a very livable area! There are not any western grocery stores or restaurants but you are also only 10 minutes away from the Old Quarter!
I know of quite a few expats who are starting to move there because the prices are so low, the location itself is relatively unknown but the proximity to the Old Quarter is great!
Here is the ultimate bang for your buck, there is availability for renting houses, multiple bedroom apartments. For a house there you are looking at around 400 USD a month and apartments go down from there. It is definitely the cheapest area in Hanoi to live!
Off the beaten track, low cost of living, lots of local street food and cheap food options, close proximity to town.
Small commute over the bridge to get to the city, little to no western options in terms of food or groceries. Sometimes pollution from the city can settle here.
I hope that his guide can help you pick the best neighborhood for your needs! Let me know if you have ever been to any of them in the comments below! 🙂
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