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Hà Nội
—  Centrally-governed city  —

Provincial location in Vietnam
Hanoi is located in Vietnam
Provincial location in Vietnam
Coordinates: 21°2′0″N 105°51′00″E / 21.033333°N 105.85°E / 21.033333; 105.85
Country  Vietnam
Central city Hanoi
Districts 29
Founded, Capital of the Đại Việt Kingdom 1010
Capital of Vietnam September 2, 1945
 - Centrally-governed city 3,344.7 km2 (1,291.4 sq mi)
 - Urban 186.22 km2 (71.9 sq mi)
Population (2009)
 - Centrally-governed city 6,500,000
 Density 1,875/km2 (4,856.2/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+7 (UTC+7)
 - Summer (DST) No DST (UTC+7)
Website www.hanoi.gov.vn
Hanoi seen from Spot Satellite

Hanoi (Vietnamese: Hà Nội) About this sound pronunciation , estimated population nearly 6.5 million (2009),[1] is the capital and second-largest city of Vietnam. From 1010 until 1802, it was the most important political centre of Vietnam. It was eclipsed by Huế during the Nguyen Dynasty as the capital of Vietnam, but Hanoi served as the capital of French Indochina from 1902 to 1954. From 1954 to 1976, it was the capital of North Vietnam.

The city is located on the right bank of the Red River. Hanoi is located at 21°2′N 105°51′E / 21.033°N 105.85°E / 21.033; 105.85Coordinates: 21°2′N 105°51′E / 21.033°N 105.85°E / 21.033; 105.85, 1,760 km (1,090 mi) north of Ho Chi Minh City.

October 2010 will officially mark 1000 years of the establishment of the city. On this occasion, Hanoi has been named as one of the world's "Top Destinations 2010"[2].



Hanoi has been inhabited since at least 3000 BC. One of the first known permanent settlements is the Co Loa citadel (Cổ Loa) founded around 200 BC.

Hanoi has had many names throughout history, all of them of Sino-Vietnamese origin. During the Chinese domination of Vietnam, it was known as Tống Bình () and later Long Đỗ (; literally "dragon's belly"). In 866, it was turned into a citadel and was named Đại La ().

In 1010, Lý Thái Tổ, the first ruler of the Lý Dynasty, moved the capital of Đại Việt (大越, the Great Viet, then the name of Vietnam) to the site of the Đại La Citadel. Claiming to have seen a dragon ascending the Red River, he renamed it Thăng Long (昇龍, Ascending dragon) - a name still used poetically to this day. It remained the capital of Vietnam until 1397, when the capital was moved to Thanh Hóa, also known as Tây Đô (西, Western Capital). Thăng Long then became Đông Đô (, Eastern Capital).

Hoàn Kiếm Lake in the centre of Hanoi, with the streets of the old town in the background (1999)
Tháp Bút (Pen Tower) with a phrase "Tả thanh thiên" (it means "Write on the sky") next to Hoàn Kiếm Lake (2007)

In 1408, Chinese Ming Dynasty attacked and occupied Vietnam, then they renamed Đông Đô as Đông Quan (, Eastern Gateway). In 1428, Vietnamese overthrown the Chinese under the leadership of Lê Lợi who later founded the posterior Le Dynasty and renamed Đông Quan as Đông Kinh (, Eastern Capital - the name known to Europeans as Tonkin. The same characters are used for Tokyo, Japan). Right after the end of Tây Sơn Dynasty, it was named Bắc Thành (, Northern Citadel).

In 1802, when the Nguyễn Dynasty was established and then moved the capital down to Huế, the name of Thăng Long (昇, "ascending dragon") was modified to become different Thăng Long (昇, to ascend and flourish). In 1831 the Nguyen emperor Minh Mang renamed it Hà Nội (, can be translated as Between Rivers or River Interior) . Hanoi was occupied by the French in 1873 and passed to them ten years later. It became the capital of French Indochina after 1887.

The city was occupied by the Japanese in 1940, and liberated in 1945, when it briefly became the seat of the Viet Minh government after Hồ Chí Minh proclaimed the independence of Việt Nam. But the French came back and reoccupied the city in 1946. After nine years of fighting between the French and Viet Minh forces, Hanoi became the capital of an independent North Vietnam in 1954.

During the Vietnam War Hanoi's transportation facilities were disrupted by the bombing of bridges and railways, which were, however, promptly repaired. Following the end of the war, Hanoi became the capital of Vietnam when North and South Vietnam were reunited on July 2, 1976.

On May 29, 2008, it was decided that Ha Tay province, Vinh Phuc's Me Linh district and 4 communes of Luong Son district, Hoa Binh is merged into the metropolitan area of Hanoi from August 1, 2008.[3] Hanoi's total area increased to 334,470 hectares divided into 29 subdivisions[4] with the new population being 6,232,940.[4] The Hanoi Capital Region (Vietnamese: Vùng Thủ Đô Hà Nội), a metropolitan area covering Hanoi and 6 surrounding provinces under planning will have an area of 13,436 square kilometers with a population of 15 million by 2020.[5]

On August 1, 2008, Hanoi absorbed the neighboring province of Ha Tay, Vinh Phuc's Me Linh district, and four communes from Luong Son, Hoa Binh, effectively tripling its size.


Hanoi experiences the typical climate of northern Vietnam, where summers are hot and humid, and winters are relatively cool and dry. Under the Koppen climate classification, Hanoi features a warm humid subtropical climate. The summer months from May to September receive the majority of rainfall in the year (1,682 mm rainfall/ year). The winter months from November to March are relatively dry, although spring then often brings light rains. The minimum winter temperature in Hanoi can dip as low as 6–7 °C (43–45 °F) not including the wind chill, while summer can get as hot as 38–40 °C (100–104 °F).[6]

Climate data for Hanoi
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 18.9
Average low °C (°F) 14.4
Precipitation mm (inches) 20.1
Source: weather.com[7] and asiaforvisitors.com[8] 2008-02-26


Indochina Medical College, taken in early 20th century (now: Hanoi Medical University)
Hanoian pupils

Hanoi, as the capital of French Indochina, was home to the first Western-style universities in Indochina, including: Indochina Medical College (1902) - now Hanoi Medical University, Indochina University (1904) - now Hanoi National University, and École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de L'Indochine (1925) - now Hanoi University of Fine Art.

After the Communist Party took control over Hanoi in 1954 with support from the Soviet Union, many new universities were built, among them, Hanoi University of Technology remains the largest technical university in Vietnam.

Hanoi is the largest centre of education in Vietnam. It is estimated that 62% of the scientists in the whole country are living and working in Hanoi.[9] Admissions to undergraduate study are through entrance examinations, which are conducted annually and open for everyone (who has successfully completed his/her secondary education) in the country. The majority of universities in Hanoi are public, although in recent years a number of private universities have started their operation. Thang Long university, founded in 1988, by some Vietnamese mathematics professors in Hanoi and France [10] is the first private university in Vietnam.

Because many of Vietnam's major universities are located in Hanoi, students from other provinces (especially in the northern part of the country) wishing to enter university often travel to Hanoi for the annual entrance examination. Such events often take place in June and July, during which a large number of students and their families converge on the city for several weeks around this intense examination period. In recent years, these entrance exams have been centrally coordinated by the Ministry of Education, but passing marks are decided independently by each university.

Although there are state owned Kindergartens, there are also many private ventures that serve both local and international needs. Pre-tertiary (elementary and secondary) schools in Hanoi are generally state run although there are some independent schools. Education is equivalent to the K–12 system in the US, with elementary school between grades 1 and 5, middle school (or junior high) between grades 6 and 9, and high school from grades 10 to 12.


As the capital of Vietnam for almost a thousand years, Hanoi is considered to be one of cultural centres of Vietnam, where most of Vietnamese dynasties had left behind their imprint. Even though some relics have not survived through wars and time, the city still has many interesting cultural and historic monuments for visitors and residents alike. Even when the nation's capital moved to Hue under the Nguyen dynasty in 1802, the city of Hanoi continued to flourish, especially after the French took control in 1888 and modeled the city's architecture to their tastes, lending an important aesthetic to the city's rich stylistic heritage. The city boasts more than 1,000 years of history, and that of the past few hundred years has been well preserved.[11]

Hanoi hosts more cultural sites than any city in Vietnam, including over 600 pagodas and temples.[12]

The Old Quarter, near Hoan Kiem lake, has the original street layout and architecture of old Hanoi. At the beginning of the 20th century the city consisted of only about 36 streets, most of which are now part of the old quarter. Each street then had merchants and households specialized in a particular trade, such as silk traders, jewellery, etc. The street names nowadays still reflect these specializations, although few of them remain exclusively in their original commerce. The area is famous for its small artisans and merchants, including many silk shops. Local cuisine specialties as well as several clubs and bars can be found here also. A night market (near Đồng Xuân market) in the heart of the district opens for business every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening with a variety of clothing, souvenirs and food.

The Temple of Literature, main entry
Hoan Kiem lake by night

Some others prominent places are: The Temple of Literature (Văn Miếu), site of the oldest university in Vietnam 1070; One Pillar Pagoda (Chùa Một Cột); Flag Tower of Hanoi (Cột cờ Hà Nội). In 2004, a massive part of the 900 year old citadel was discovered in central Hanoi, near the site of Ba Dinh square.[13]

A city between the rivers, built from lowland, Hanoi has many scenic lakes and sometime is called "city of lakes". Among its lakes, the most famous are Hoan Kiem Lake, West Lake, Halais Lake (Hồ Thiền Quang) in Vietnamese), and Bay Mau Lake. West Lake (Hồ Tây) is a popular place for people to spend time. It is the largest lake in Hanoi and there are many temples in the area. There are small boats for hire and a floating restaurant.

Under French rule, as an administrative centre for the French colony of Indochina, the French colonial architecture style became dominant, many examples remain today: the tree-lined boulevards (e.g. Phan Dinh Phung street), The Grand Opera House, The State Bank of Vietnam (formerly The Bank of Indochina), The Presidential Palace (formerly Place of The Governor-General of French Indochina), the cathédrale St-Joseph, and historic hotel Sofitel Metropole.



Hanoi is also home to a number of museums:


Water Puppet theatre (Traditional theatre)

A variety of options for entertainment in Hanoi can be found throughout the city. Modern and traditional theaters, cinemas, karaoke bars, dance clubs, bowling alleys, and an abundance of opportunities for shopping provide leisure activity for both locals and tourists. Hanoi has been named as one of the top 10 cities for shooping in Asia by Smart Travel Asia [14]. The number of art galleries exhibiting Vietnamese art has sky rocketed in recent years. Among them are renowed ones such as "Nhat Huy" of Huynh Thong Nhat.

The Garden - Vietnam's largest mall


With its rapid growth and extremely high population density, several modern shopping centers have been built in Hanoi.


Hanoi has rich food traditions and many of Vietnam's most famous dishes, such as phở, chả cá, bánh cuốn and cốm are thought to come from Hanoi. Perhaps most widely known is Phở, a simple rice noodle soup often eaten as a breakfast dish in the home or at streetside cafes, but also served in restaurants as a meal. Two varieties dominate the Hanoi scene: Phở Bò, containing beef, and Phở Gà, containing chicken.

Hanoi has been selected as the 2nd best city for food in the world by Shermans Travel [15]. Vietnam's national dish Phở has been also named as one of the Top5 streetfood in the world by globalpost.[16]


Hanoian girls wearing traditional costume Áo dài during APEC Summit 2006

Hanoi's population is constantly growing (about 3.5% per year[17]), a reflection of the fact that the city is both a major metropolitan area of Northern Vietnam, and also the country's political centre. This population growth also puts a lot of pressure onto the infrastructure, some of which is antiquated and dates back from the early 20th century.

The number of Hanoians who settled down for more than three generations is likely to be very small as compared to the overall population of the city. Even in the Old Quarter, where commerce started hundreds years ago and was mostly a family business, many of the street-front stores nowadays are owned by merchants and retailers from other provinces. The original owner family may have either rented out the store and moved to live further inside the house, or just moved out of the neighbourhood altogether. The pace of change has especially escalated after the abandonment of central-planning economic policies, and relaxing of the district-based household registrar system.[citation needed]

Hanoi's telephone numbers have been increased to 8 digits to cope with demand (October 2008). Subscribers Telephone numbers have been changed in a haphazard way.


Motor scooters dominate the roads in the Old Quarter (2007)

Hanoi is served by Noi Bai International Airport, located in the Soc Son District, approximately 40 km (25 mi) north of Hanoi. Noi Bai is the only international airport for the northern regions of Vietnam.

Hanoi will have additionally another international airport, which will cost $8 billion, being the highest foreign investment so far in the history of Vietnam.[18] It will be the become the largest and the most modern airport in Asia. The construction will be carried out in three stages,the first phase will start in 2011 until 2015.

There are two main highways linking the airport and city. The route to the city via Thang Long Bridge is more direct than Highway 1, which runs along the outskirts of the city. The main highways are shared by cars, motor scooters, with separate lanes by the side for bicycles. Taxis are plentiful and usually have trip meters, although it is also common to agree on the trip price before taking a taxi from airport to the city centre. Tourists also sometimes tour the city on cyclos especially in the Old Quarter.

Hanoi is also the origin departure point for many Vietnam Railways train routes in the country. The Union Express (tàu Thống Nhất) runs from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City from Hanoi station (formerly Hang Co station), with stops at cities and provinces along the line. Trains also depart Hanoi frequently for Hai Phong and other northern cities.

The main means of transport within the city are motorbikes, buses, taxis, and bicycles. Motorbikes remain the most common way to move around the city.[citation needed] Public buses run on many routes and fare can be purchased on the bus. For short trips, "xe ôm" (literally, "hug vehicle") motorcycle taxis are available where the passenger sits at the rear of a motorbike.


Development in Hanoi
Small scale agriculture just outside the suburban outskirts of northern Hanoi

Hanoi has the highest Human Development Index among the cities in Vietnam.[citation needed]

According to a recent ranking by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Hanoi will be the fastest growing city in the world in term of GDP growth from 2008 to 2025.[19]

Industrial production in the city has experienced a rapid boom since the 1990s, with average annual growth of 19.1 percent from 1991–95, 15.9 percent from 1996–2000, and 20.9 percent during 2001–2003.[citation needed] In addition to eight existing industrial parks, Hanoi is building five new large-scale industrial parks and 16 small- and medium-sized industrial clusters. The non-state economic sector is expanding fast, with more than 48,000 businesses currently operating under the Enterprise Law (as of 3/2007) [20].

Trade is another strong sector of the city. In 2003, Hanoi had 2,000 businesses engaged in foreign trade, having established ties with 161 countries and territories. The city's export value grew by an average 11.6 percent each year from 1996–2000 and 9.1 percent during 2001–2003.[citation needed] The economic structure also underwent important shifts, with tourism, finance, and banking now playing an increasingly important role.

Hanoi's business districts are traditionally Hoan Kiem and the neighborhood; and a newly developing Trung Hoa Nhan Chinh in the South Western part.

Similar to Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi enjoys a rapidly-developing real estate market.[21] The metropolis's economy growth does not seem correlative to its infrastructure. Overloading population requires a much larger supply of accommodations, while the constructing celerities of both transport system and new urban areas are too low[22]. Not surprisingly, as an effect of this problem, the apartment and real estate fever occur severely during the time[23]. More widespread, the fever even influences Ha Tay, the neighboring province, considered the future development space of the capital[24]. The current most notable new urban areas are central Trung Hoa Nhan Chinh, My Dinh, the luxurious zones of The Manor and Ciputra.

Agriculture, previously a pillar in Hanoi's economy, has striven to reform itself, introducing new high-yield plant varieties and livestock, and applying modern farming techniques.[citation needed]

Together with economic growth, Hanoi's appearance has also changed significantly, especially in recent years. Infrastructure is constantly being upgraded, with new roads and an improved public transportation system.

Sport centers

My Dinh National Stadium

There are several gymnasiums and stadiums throughout the city of Ha Noi. The biggest ones are My Dinh National Stadium (Le Duc Tho Boulevard), Quan Ngua Sporting Palace (Van Cao Avenue) and Hanoi Water Sport Complex. The others include Ha Noi stadium (as known as Hang Day stadium). It has been decided that Asian Indoor Games will held at Hanoi in 2009. A 32.1 million-dollar indoor hall is currently under construction for the event in My Dinh area.

Health care and other facilities

Some medical facilities in Hanoi:


Hà Nội is divided into 10 inner districts, 1 town and 18 outer districts.[25] ( Hà Đông has been transform to an inner district, and Sơn Tây has been degraded to a town)

Subdivisions of Hà Nội
Provincial Cities/Districts[25] Wards[25] Area (km2)[25] Population[25]
1 town
Sơn Tây (West of the Mountain) 15 113.474 181,831
10 Urban Districts (Quận)
Ba Đình (Three Temples) 14 9.224 228,352
Cầu Giấy (Paper Bridge) 8 12.04 147,000
Đống Đa 21 9.96 352,000
Hai Bà Trưng (The Trung sisters) 20 14.6 378,000
Hà Đông (East Bank of the River) 17 47.917 198,687
Hoàn Kiếm (Sword Recurrent) 18 5.29 178,073
Hoàng Mai (Yellow Plum) 14 41.04 216,277
Long Biên (Dragon Fin) 14 60.38 170,706
Tây Hồ (West Lake) 8 24 115,163
Thanh Xuân (Green Spring/Youth) 11 9.11 185,000
Subtotal 145 233.56 2,178,258
18 Rural Districts (Huyện)
Ba Vì 31 + 1 town 428.0 242,600 (1999)
Chương Mỹ 30 + 2 towns 232.9 261,000 (1999)
Đan Phượng 15 + 1 town 76.8 124,900
Đông Anh 23 + 1 town 182.3 276,750
Gia Lâm 20 + 2 towns 114.0 205,275
Hoài Đức 19 + 1 town 95.3 188,800
Mê Linh 16 + 2 towns 141.26 187,536 (2008)
Mỹ Đức 21 + 1 town 230.0 167,700 (1999)
Phú Xuyên 26 + 2 towns 171.1 181,500
Phúc Thọ 25 + 1 town 113.2 154,800 (2001)
Quốc Oai 20 + 1 town 136.0 (2001) 146,700 (2001)
Sóc Sơn 25 + 1 town 306.51 254,000
Thạch Thất 22 + 1 town 128.1 149,000 (2003)
Thanh Oai 20 + 1 town 129.6 142,600 (1999)
Thanh Trì (Green Ponds) 15 + 1 town 98.22 241,000
Thường Tín 28 + 1 town 127.7 208,000
Từ Liêm 15 + 1 town 75.32 240,000
Ứng Hòa 28 + 1 town 183.72 193,731 (2005)
Subtotal 399 + 22 towns 3,266.186 3,872,851
Total 559 + 22 towns 3,344.47 6,232,940

International relations

See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Vietnam

Twin towns — Sister cities

Hanoi is twinned with:


See also


  • Boudarel, Georges (2002). Hanoi: City Of The Rising Dragon. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.. ISBN 0-7425-1655-5. 
  • Logan, William S. (2001). Hanoi: Biography of a City. University of Washington Press. ISBN 0-295-98014-1. 
  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Frommer's Top Destinations 2010
  3. ^ "Country files (GNS)". National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. http://earth-info.nga.mil/gns/html/cntry_files.html. Retrieved 2007-04-06. 
  4. ^ a b "Hơn 90% đại biểu Quốc hội tán thành mở rộng Hà Nội". Dantri. http://dantri.com.vn/Sukien/Hon-90-dai-bieu-Quoc-hoi-tan-thanh-mo-rong-Ha-oi/2008/5/234655.vip. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  5. ^ VietNamNet - Vùng Thủ đô Hà Nội sẽ rộng 13.436km2, gồm 8 tỉnh, TP
  6. ^ "Historical Weather for Hanoi, Vietnam". www.weatherbase.com. http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/weather.php3?s=002884&refer=. 
  7. ^ "Weather for Hanoi". weather.com. http://www.weather.com/outlook/travel/businesstraveler/wxclimatology/monthly/graph/VMXX0006. Retrieved 26 February 2008. 
  8. ^ "Precipitation for Hanoi". asiaforvisitors.com. http://asiaforvisitors.com/vietnam/north/hanoi/hanoi-weather.html. Retrieved 26 February 2008. 
  9. ^ "Hanoi - The capital of Vietnam: Preface". Hanoi City People's Committee. http://www.hanoi.gov.vn/hanoiwebs/en/hanoi_capital/group1/index.htm. 
  10. ^ Viet Nam News
  11. ^ "Introduction to Hanoi". The New York Times. http://travel.nytimes.com/frommers/travel/guides/asia/vietnam/hanoi/frm_hanoi_0197010001.html. 
  12. ^ "The quick look at Hanoi". Vietnam National Administration of Tourism. http://www.vietnamtourism.com/e_pages/country/province.asp?mt=844&uid=71. 
  13. ^ "Thang Long the ancient city underneath Hanoi". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/16/science/16dig.html?_r=1&ref=world&oref=slogin. Retrieved 2007-10-22. 
  14. ^ [2]
  15. ^ Top 10 Cities for Foodies
  16. ^ [3]
  17. ^ [4]
  18. ^ [5]
  19. ^ [6]
  20. ^ VnExpress - 'Tram hoa' doanh nghiep dua no
  21. ^ NLĐO - Bat dong san Ha Noi soi dong ~ Bất động sản Hà Nội sôi động - KINH TẾ - TIÊU DÙNG
  22. ^ Hà Nội: Cải tạo, xây dựng chung cư cũ còn rất chậm
  23. ^ VTC News - Thị trường nhà đất Hà Nội lên cơn sốt mới
  24. ^ LAODONG.COM.VN | Hà Nội: "Hội chứng sốt" đất phía tây! - Ha Noi: "Hoi chung sot" dat phia tay!
  25. ^ a b c d e http://www.hanoi.gov.vn/
  26. ^ "Miasta partnerskie Warszawy". um.warszawa.pl. Biuro Promocji Miasta. 2005-05-04. http://um.warszawa.pl/v_syrenka/new/index.php?dzial=aktualnosci&ak_id=3284&kat=11. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  27. ^ Hanoi Days in Moscow help sister cities

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Ho Tay/West Lake, Hanoi
Ho Tay/West Lake, Hanoi

Hanoi (Vietnamese: Hà Nội), the capital of Vietnam, is a fascinating blend of East and West, with Chinese influence from centuries of dominance, and French design from its colonial past. It is largely unspoiled by modern architecture of the 1970s and 80s, and is now going through a modernization that is making it a rising star in Southeast Asia.


Invading forces from every direction agree: Hanoi makes a fine capital. It has held that title for more than a thousand years, through several invasions, occupations, restorations, and name changes. The Chinese conquered the imperial city of of Đại La in 1408 and renamed it Tống Bình. Le Loi repelled the invaders in 1428 and applied the name of Lê Thái Tổ (黎太祖); for his efforts, he received the crown and a slew of legends about his heroic exploits, many centered around the Hoan Kiem Lake in the Old Quarter. The Nguyen Dynasty gave the city its modern name of Ha Noi in 1831, but they had transferred power to Hue by then; it remained there until 1887, when the French made Hanoi the capital of all Indochina. It changed hands again in 1954, when it was ceded to Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh after almost a decade of fighting, and it became the capital of North Vietnam; upon reunification in 1975, it assumed that title for the entire country.

The first western-style universities in Vietnam were founded in Hanoi, and today, it is the leading center of scientific study and research in the country. Hanoi retains much of its older colonial charm, despite the battles that have raged over it; conflict had the side effect of making it largely oblivious to modern architecture, and as a result, few buildings in the city center area are higher than five stories. The Old Quarter is second only to Hoi An for uninterrupted stretches of colonial and pre-colonial architecture, well-preserved on dense warrens of narrow, wonderfully atmospheric streets. It trades the commercial boom and sprawl of Ho Chi Minh City in the South for a more understated charm, worth enjoying for an extra day or two, and with countless transport options and travel agents, it makes a perfect base for exploration of the North.

As you walk along the street, you may find that people start talking to you. It is a cultural norm there to make conversation with strangers. They might ask you where you are from and other general questions.

It takes awhile to get used to that. However, there are times when you find this friendliness extremely helpful, such as when you are lost or need help. If a tourist is robbed on the street, other young male pedestrians might try to catch the culprit while female pedestrians help the victim by calling the cops or the ambulance if the victim is wounded.

The Tourist Information Center - tel: (84-4) 926 3366 - on Dinh Tien Hoang, just north of Hoan Kiem Lake, can provide a fairly useful map (bewilderingly, the blow-up of the old town is missing making it useless in that part of town) and other English-language advice, as well as limited free Internet. They aren't completely without bias, however, and seem to support certain companies, for example An Phu Tour (bus company).


In the Spring, that is when they have the Tet holiday (Lunar New Year’s Eve). Flowers are the most beautiful during this time of the year. The weather starts to warm up with light rain here and there during the week. Hanoians believe that these light rains bring prosperity and luck for the New Year.

The Summer, on the other hand, is quite intolerable. The heat alone would be alright but there is the humidity which would start to manifest in the air since Spring. Visitors also have to be very careful with mosquitoes because there are a lot in Hanoi due to the level of moisture in the air and the temperature. Hanoi has a good climate for many insects to proliferate, not just mosquitoes.

There is something unique about Hanoi’s Fall. The weather is perfect with less humidity in the air. The temperature would drop by now, offering people a chance to take out their fleece and jackets. Moreover, there is this type of tree – “cay hoa sua” which only has flowers in the Fall. The flower has a very distinct smell. If you have the chance to visit Hanoi during the Fall season, make sure you ask the local people about this type of trees and where you can experience their distinct aroma.

Winter can be quite brutal because it is not only cold but also very humid. What makes it feel like the winter in Hanoi is colder than elsewhere is the fact that Vietnamese houses don’t have a central heating system. Many houses don’t have any types of heating at all.

Departure tax

As of November 2006, international departure taxes should be included in the price of your ticket, but that doesn't necessarily mean they will be - check with the airline to be absolutely sure. If not, the tax (sometimes called "passenger service charge") is payable in US dollars (US$14) or in dong.

Most folks arrive at the Noi Bai International Airport, 35 km (45-60 minutes) north of the city. Several airlines run flights from Noi Bai, including:

  • AirAsia (tel: +603 2171 9222) [1] - Many good offers to Hanoi from Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur.
  • Vietnam Airlines - 25 Tràng Thi (corner of Quang Trung) tel: (84-4)9349660 fax: (84-4)9349620[2] - The primary national carrier.
  • JetStar Pacific Airlines (tel: 84-4 9550550) [3] - Discount Vietnamese carrier (formerly Pacific Air).
  • Malaysia Airlines (+60378433000) [4]- Malaysia Airlines flies daily to Hanoi from Kuala Lumpur with daily flights.
  • Cathay Pacific [5] - Upscale airline with flights to Hong Kong.
  • Hong Kong Airlines [6] - New carrier with daily flights to/from Hong Kong.
  • Thai Airways International [7] - Two flights daily to/from Bangkok.
  • Lao Airlines [8] - Small airline with 4 flights a week to/from Luang Prabang in Laos, also from Vientiane and from Phnom Penh.
  • Tiger Airways (tel: 84-4 9454565) [9] - Low-cost airline with daily flights to/from Singapore.
  • Singapore Airlines (tel: 84-4 38268888) [10] - Full-service airline with daily flights to/from Singapore.
  • Air France (Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Paris-Charles de Gaulle) [11]
  • Asiana Airlines (Seoul-Incheon) [12]
  • China Southern Airlines (Beijing, Guangzhou) [13]
  • Indochina Airlines 63 Ly Thuong Kiet Str. – Tran Hung Đao Ward – Hoan Kiem District (tel: 84-4 39411411 ) [14]
  • Japan Airlines (Osaka-Kansai, Tokyo-Narita) [15]
  • China Airlines (Taipei - Taiwan Taoyuan) [16]
  • Dragon Air (Hong Kong) [17]
  • EVA Air (Taipei - Taiwan Taoyuan) [18]
  • Korean Air (Busan, Seoul-Incheon) [19]
  • PMTair (Phnom Penh, Siemriep) [20]
  • Uni Air (Kaohsiung, Taiwan) [21]
  • Vladivostok Air (Vladivostok, Russia) [22]
  • Shanghai Airlines (Shanghai, China) [23]
  • Aeroflot (Moscow-Sheremetyevo) [24]
  • Taxis to downtown Hanoi can be hired at Noi Bai . The driver may try to deliver you to a hotel of his choice so he can collect a commission, but if you are specific about your destination, they usually give in. Taxis from the city centre to Noi Bai Airport charge a fixed rate of about US$14 to US$18 depending on the size of the taxi. However, it is cheaper if you pay in dong, given the prevailing USD/VND exchange rate.

If you already have a hotel booked, you might ask them to dispatch a driver for you. The nicer hotels will do this and put the fare on your room bill.

  • Public buses to the city center from Noi Bai airport charge 5000 dong and take about an hour. Bus #07 crosses the Thang Long bridge and goes to the Daewoo Hotel on the western part of Hanoi. Bus #17 crosses the Chuong Duong bridge and goes close to the old quarter. There is also a bus that can drop you off near Hoan Kiem Lake. The price is 3,000VND as of November 2009.
  • Shuttle-buses from the airport to Hanoi stops at the Vietnam Airlines Office on 1 Quang Trung (see above). Tickets are sold in the building in front of which the minibuses park, or you can give the fare directly to the driver. The fare can be paid in USD (2 dollars) or in dong (30,000 dong). The driver will potentially give you trouble if you have additional bags, but if you push, you will get the same US$2 rate. The shuttle service often offers to take you direct to your hotel for an extra dollar once they reach the office. This is purely voluntary, but experience says the drivers are fairly trustworthy and for the new arrival is a good way to get direct to the door. Check however, that your hotel isn't less then two minutes' walk!

By train

Trains to Nanning, China depart from Gia Lam station, about 5 km north of Hanoi station. All other trains use the main Hanoi train station (Ga Hang Co, 120 Le Duan, tel: 825 3949), for daily services from cities in the south including Hue and Nha Trang. The Reunification Express goes all the way to Ho Chi Minh City, although there is very little 'express' about it.

There are also train services to the north-west (including Lao Cai, from which you reach Sapa - the onward route to Kunming in China is no longer open). To board trains bound for these destinations, you have to enter the railway station compound through the "backdoor" at Tran Quy Cap station. Just tell your driver which destination your train is heading to. Be mindful of any "helpful" stranger who offers to carry your luggage — he probably has a sum more than the cost of the ticket in mind for the help.

Tickets for all destinations are sold in the main station, though there are two counter halls, north and south, serving the respective destinations. Buy your tickets as early as possible, especially since sleeper-tickets can be sold out several days in advance. If you can't get a ticket anymore, try a travel-agent who still might have stocks. You may also try your luck in the station just before boarding time, agents still holding tickets will be eager to sell as the departure draws near. Nevertheless, travel agencies in Hanoi are known for their bad business practices. Some of them will try to overcharge you up to 300%, so it is better go to the train station by yourself and find out about the prices before you agree on any deal.

By bus

Most of the "open-tour" bus itineraries either begin or end in Hanoi, with Hue the next (or previous) stop (12-14 hours, US$8-9), and from there to Hoi An, Nha Trang, Dalat, Mui Ne, Ho Chi Minh City, and other cities in Vietnam, depending on the bus company.

Many of the same companies also sell tickets to Vientiane and Savannakhet in Laos (US$16-18), but do some research before you buy a ticket - rattle-trap scam buses abound on this route.

See Ho Chi Minh City to Shanghai overland if you're interested in crossing over to China by bus or train.

Traffic in Hanoi
Traffic in Hanoi

Taxis are the best way to travel long distances, but the cyclos, or pedicabs, are a cheap way to make shorter trips. Taxi fares are not always consistent, and the rates for each taxi company have not been standardized. For lone travelers, rides on the back of motorbikes (actually low-powered scooters) are popular too (known as xe om, literally meaning motorbike-hug).

Some meter taxi owners in Hanoi will attempt to negotiate a flat fee in advance rather than use the meter. If you have a fair idea of how far you're going or how much you're willing to pay, this is probably a good idea. If the driver refuses, turning around and walking away will almost certainly change his mind. Don't sweat it, it's all part of the expected negotiation protocol. It has also become common for the drivers of some of the less reputable taxi companies to "fix" their meters to run faster hence giving differences in prices for the same distance by a factor of 30! The recommendation is to only use the reputable and reliable taxi companies. These are Hanoi Taxi (Tel (04) 38 535353), Taxi CP (Tel. (04) 38 262626), Mai Linh Taxi (Tel. (04) 38 616161). Another common thing with taxis is that the driver takes you for a "sightseeing" - and extends the tour to make more money. This is very hard to discover unless you know the city well, but if you catch your driver doing this (e.g. going around Hoan Kiem Lake twice), demand that he stop the taxi and leave the taxi without paying.

Be very careful with meter taxis in Hanoi. Some have central locking , and are known to lock passengers in , and demand large amounts of US dollars before letting them go. The driver may threaten to have you beaten up or arrested should you not give in to his demands , but if you kick up enough of a fuss , they will let you go.

Motorbike drivers can be found on virtually every corner, especially in the Old Quarter. Expect to be offered a ride every half-block (or more). You should absolutely negotiate a fare in advance, and again, turn around and walk away if you don't like their offer. There are far more drivers than tourists, and they know it - your fare could be the only one they get all day. You should also write down the negotiated fare (with all zeros) to avoid confusion. Even if you do speak Vietnamese, a driver might pretend that you said 50,000 dong instead of 15,000! In case of argument over fares after the ride, keep calm and repeat the original agreement (remember, you have the leverage). A typical 10 minute fare should cost no more than 15,000-20,000 dong. Many drivers will accept US dollars as well. At the end of a ride, some will offer to hang around to drive you to your next destination - either be clear that you don't want a return ride (and don't go near him when you leave), or get a price in advance. Otherwise, you might be surprised when the driver tacks on several million dong for having waited.

Keep your wallet out of arms reach of the drivers when you pay, less honest motorbike drivers are not adverse to grabbing your wallet and helping themselves to any notes they like the look of before jumping on their bike and speeding off.

Negotiate first or avoid using the cyclos services, they demand 200,000VND (US$12) for a short ride of less than 100 metres. At the end of the journey, a few men will come over to translate, and they will pretend to help and later insist that you pay the demanded amount.

Motorcycles can be rented for around US$5-6 a day, and can be arranged by most hotels. This is good for making lots of trips around the city for individuals or duos, but be careful: Hanoi traffic is very difficult place to sharpen motorbike skills. Park on the sidewalk with other bikes, and be sure to lock the front wheel. Locals will help arrange the bikes near their stores.

Scam free, cheap but a bit difficult to comprehend at first, the buses in Hanoi are relatively fast and surprisingly comfortable. Pick up a map with printed bus lines at the Trang Tien street (the book street by the Opera house) and spend a few minutes to identify the over 60 bus lines, find your bus stop, wait for the bus, pay 3000 dong and off you go. If you are unfamiliar with the city, make sure to inform the conductor where you want to get off. Maps also available online at [25] or [26].

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (Open mornings only, 8-11AM; closed on afternoons, Mondays, and Fridays. Closed for three months every year - as of January 2010 he's back - for maintenance of the body. Admission free.) The city down south may have his name, but only Hanoi has the man himself, entombed in distinctly Lenin-esque fashion - against his wishes, but that's how it goes. No talking, short pants, or other signs of disrespect allowed while viewing; photos are allowed only from outside, in the grand Ba Dinh Square. Purses are allowed into the tomb, but expect them to be searched by several bored soldiers along the way. Left luggage is handled in a complicated scheme: there is an office near the street for large bags, with separate windows for Vietnamese and foreigners, and a further office for cameras, which will be transported to a third office right outside the exit of the mausoleum. Items checked in at the first office, however, will stay there. Note that the mausoleum is closed for a couple months around the end of the year, when the body is taken abroad for maintenance.
Ho Chi Minh Museum
Ho Chi Minh Museum
  • Ho Chi Minh Museum (19 Ngoc Ha St., Ba Dinh, Hanoi; tel. +84-4 846-3572, fax +84-4 843-9837; Open 8-11:30AM, 2-4PM, closed Monday and Friday afternoons. Admission 15,000 dong.) bthochiminh@hn.vnn.vn. Right around the corner, this gleaming white museum and its gloriously ham-handed iconography are the perfect chaser to the solemnity of the mausoleum. The building, completed in 1990, is intended to evoke a white lotus. Some photos and old letters are on display on the second floor, but the main exhibition space is on the third floor. It includes cars crashing through walls to represent the chaos of post-war American capitalism, soldiers charging around with electric plugs, a cave hideout re-imagined as the inside of Ho Chi Minh's brain, and several other postmodern confections integrated with the main story of the man's life and his country's struggle. One of the more informative museums in Vietnam, and perhaps one of the oddest in the world. Guides are available in English, French, Chinese and Russian, but don't bother; the displays are labeled in English and French, and it's hard to imagine the guides doing much other than belaboring the point.
  • Ho Chi Minh's Vestige In The Presidential Palace Area (No.1 Bach Thao, Ba Dinh, Hanoi; tel. +84 08044529, fax +84 08043064. Open 7:30-11AM, 2-4PM in the summer, and 8-11AM, 1:30-4PM in the winter. Closed Monday and Friday afternoons. Admission 15,000 dong). The exit from the mausoleum takes you right into the grounds of the, uh, vestige, where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked from 1954 until his death in 1969. The nicely landscaped complex includes two of Ho Chi Minh's houses, kept shiny and "as he left them" by the authorities, as well as a garage with two of Ho's "used cars" and a carp-filled pond. The Presidential Palace is also nearby, but it's not always open to visitors. Pamphlets are available in English, Chinese, French, and Korean. Guided tours are usually available if you wait.
One Pillar Pagoda
One Pillar Pagoda
  • One-Pillar Pagoda— Tucked away between the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Museum. Travelers find the One-Pillar Pagoda either charming and lovely or utterly pointless, depending on how many tour groups are crammed into the small grounds at the time of their visit. Either way, it's free.
  • Fine Arts Museum (Bảo Tàng Mỹ Thuật), 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street. Only party-approved art is shown here and there is no information in English and only little in Vietnamese. But it is an interesting museum at any rate, with pieces such as the wonderful pictures of soldiers on boats depicted on prehistoric bronze drums, Buddhist art, and revolutionary art of the 20th century wars. Also some interesting silk paintings. Entry is 20,000 dong (in 2009).
Temple of Literature
Temple of Literature
  • Temple of Literature (Văn Miếu) (On Quoc Tu Giam St., south of the Mausoleum. Admission 10,000 dong). The Temple of Literature was founded in 1070 and established as the country's first university six years later. The courtyard features numerous stone tablets, each mounted on the back of a tortoise, with the names of graduates.
  • Army Museum (Bảo Tàng Quân Đội), Dien Bien Phu Street (Admission 20,000 dong and an additional 20,000 dong to take pictures). Vietnam's military history extends back some two millennia, and this museum covers it on four buildings with interesting pieces. Item descriptions on museum exhibits are in Vietnamese, French and English. On display outside are the ubiquitous MiG-21 jet fighter, T-54 tank and many bombs and articles captured on Indochina and Vietnam wars.
  • Air Force Museum (Bảo Tàng Không Quân), Truong Chinh Street (southwest of the city center). There's a decent outdoor collection of Soviet-built MiG fighters, a huge Mi-6 helicopter, and other aircraft; unfortunately they've been exposed to the elements for some time and local kids climb over them.
National Museum of Vietnamese History
National Museum of Vietnamese History
  • National Museum of Vietnamese History (Bảo tàng Lịch sử Việt Nam), No. 1, Trang Tien Street (Admission 15,000 dong/Students 8,000 and under 15 just 2,000. 15,000 dong for a camera/30,000 dong for a video). Hours: 8AM-11:30AM and from 1:30PM-4:30PM. This is a collection from Vietnamese history from about 1000 years back until 1945. Many antiques and the such. From 1945 onwards, you can go to the Museum of the Vietnamese Revolution located just a five minute walk away.

It is housed in a colonial French building which was completed in 1932. The building, designed by the architect Ernest Hébrard is considered as a successful blend between the colonial French architecture and traditional Vietnamese architecture, called Indochina architecture. He created double-walls and balconies for a natural ventilation system and protection from sunshine.

  • Museum of the Vietnamese Revolution (Bảo tàng Cách mạng Việt Nam) [27], 25 Tong Dan Street (and 216 Tran Quang Khai Street) Open every day except Monday, from 8AM to 11:45AM and from 1:30PM to 4:15PM Admission 10,000 dong. This museum gives a very informed and detailed account of the Vietnamese struggle against first the French (starting in 1858 -- on the first floor), then against the Americians (on the ground floor - ending on 30 April 1975).
  • Museum of Ethnology, (Bao Tang Dan Toc Hoc Viet Nam) [28]Nguyen Van Huyen St, Cau Giay district. Open every day except Monday, 8:30AM-5:30PM. Admission 25,000 dong for foreigners. It covers mainly the culture and ritual practices of the various ethnic groups in the whole of Vietnam - one of the key attractions of the museum is the open-air exhibition, which has houses of some ethnic groups, which even comes with inhabitants in costumes. The museum features actual explanations of the exhibits in Vietnamese, French and English. Accessible by bus no. 14 that starts from Hoan Kiem Lake - ask the conductor when to stop, and take a 500 m walk towards the museum (backtrack a little from the bus stop, and when you see a large street perpendicular to the street that you dropped off, take that street and walk down the street until you see the Museum of Ethnology to your left). The Museum of Ethnology houses the excellent Chocolate and Baguettes cafe, which has excellent fare at a reasonable price - an excellent pit-stop after the museum visit.
Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi
Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi
  • Hoan Kiem Lake is a pleasant park in the center of town, within easy walking distance from anywhere in the Old Quarter. It's the locals' favorite leisure spot, and a great place to watch people practicing tai chi in the morning or to sit and read in the afternoon. Hoan Kiem means "returned sword", and the name comes from a legend in which King Le Loi was given a magical sword by the gods, which he used to drive out the invading Chinese. Later, while boating on the lake, he encountered a giant turtle, who grabbed the sword and carried it down to its depths, returning it to the gods from whom it had come. (You can see a version of the legend at the Water Puppet Theater - see below.) Rumor has it the giant turtles still inhabit the lake.
  • Ngoc Son Temple (admission 10,000 dong as of march 2009) extends out into the lake, with small but attractive grounds, displays on Vietnamese history and, more memorably, displays on the giant turtles, including a mummified specimen. The world's skinniest kitten lives on this island--please bring it some meat or fish.
West Lake, Hanoi
West Lake, Hanoi
  • Ho Tay, or "West Lake", is northwest of the city, and is mostly a residential hub of the well-to-do. Sofitel Plaza Hotel, one of the most luxurious hotels in Hanoi, is on this lakefront.
  • Lenin Statute The mini-park is situated on Dien Bien Phu street. It is across from the Army Museum. One can always feel the diversity and liveliness of Hanoi there. In the morning, there are low-energy aerobics class for the elders and aerobic class for younger in the morning. During the day, one can enjoy the tranquility in the park since everybody is either at work or in school. In the afternoon, it becomes a playground for children and students as well as for soccer teams and badminton players.
  • Ly Thai To Statute This is another mini-park which is also named after the statute situated in the park. The park faces Hoan Kiem lake with a beautiful view of the busy Hang Bai street and the serenity of the willows on the bank of the lake. Many Hanoians view this mini-park as their favourite place because it is a symbol of the integration of modernity and tradition. One would surely encounter a group of youths who is practicing hip-hop and breakdance while at the same time, meeting a three-generation family enjoying a walk in the park.
  • Hoa Lo Prison ("The Hanoi Hilton"), 1 Hoa Lo, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi. Open 8:30AM to 11:30AM and 1:30PM to 4:30PM, admission 10,000 dong. This prison was built by the French at the turn of the 20th century, in classical French prison design. This is where the French imprisoned and executed many of the Vietnamese freedom fighters. Now a museum (2/3 of the prison was torn down to make way for the Hanoi Towers), the museum exhibits the brutal French colonial regime and the struggle of the Vietnamese people against imperialism in chilling detail. The prison was also known as the "Hanoi Hilton" during the Vietnam War as it held American POW's shot down. Little emphasis is given to this period however, and the exhibits shown can be frustratingly skewed in propaganda, choosing to show solely propaganda photos of prisoners being treated well and playing basketball, playing chess, and other staged events. They also claim to have John McCain's flight suit from when his plane was shot down but its beyond me how they knew he would subsequently become a United States senator and thus the importance of his particular suit.
  • B-52 Lake - Huu Tiep Lake - Ngoc Ha Precinct, Ba Dinh District— Until December 19, 1972, this was just a small brackish pond just off Hoang Hoa Tam Street, about 1km west of the mausoleum. On that day, in a twisted retelling of the Hoan Kiem legend (see above), Vietnamese anti-aircraft guns (possibly with the help of flying turtles) retook the enemy's eight-engined, 100-ton sword and sent it too, to the shallow bottom of the lake, where it remains today.
  • Downed Aircraft Memorial— Along Thanh Nien Street on Truc Bach lake there is a stone plaque commemorating the shooting down of a U.S. Navy (not "USAF" as depicted) aircraft in 1967. Peruse the Vietnamese script and you can pick out the name of John McCain, one of the airmen.
  • Army Museum— is on Dien Bien Phu street. It is across from the Lenin Statute mini-park and is in the area of embassies. It retells the stories of many battles throughout the country’s history. There are documents as well as models in the museum to make the retelling more interesting. They have the model of the B-52 plane, tanks and even canons.
  • Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre (57 Dinh Tien Hoang St., across the street from the shores of the Hoan Kiem Lake; tel. +84-4-824-9494, fax +84.4.824-5117) [29]. A visit to the water puppet theater is a real highlight of a trip to Hanoi. Live musicians accompany folk legends from Vietnamese history, told with wooden men, women and dragons, dancing and splashing on the face of the water. The narratives are sung in Vietnamese, but a list of titles is available in several languages. Tickets are 40,000 and 60,000 dong. There are several performances throughout the day, but it's virtually impossible to buy tickets for the same day, and most performances for the following day will be sold out as well. Camera passes are an extra 15,000 dong, but whether you buy one or not is purely on the honor system. Don't worry about getting wet, but the seats are very small, and visitors with above-average height will have to squirm a bit.
  • Megastar— is on the 6th floor of the Vincom City Towers, 191 Ba Trieu. The tickets range from 50,000 to 80,000 depends on the movie and the show time. The movies are relatively updated, perhaps one or two months later than in the U.S. The movies are not dubbed. There is subtitle so non-Vietnamese speakers can still enjoy the movies while the local people can also understand what is going on.
  • August Movie Theater (Rap Thang 8)— is on Hang Bai street, five minutes away from Trang Tien Plaza and the commercial area, such as Pho Hue, Hai Ba Trung and Trang Tien streets. The price ranges from 15,000 to 30,000.


Sit on a plastic chair in front of one of the Bia Hoi (fresh beer) establishments which are invariably situated on the corners of many of Hanoi's 'Old Quarter' streets. This preservative-free light beer is the perfect drink to sip as you watch the city's frenetic life bustle by. The beer costs less than twenty cents and gives you an excuse to relax and take photos of the passing local characters. Should not be missed. Moreover, once you reach the Old Quarter, you will find that almost every corner is filled with stalls selling Pho (Vietnamese noodle) and cafe (the name is not limited only to coffee, but also tea, sweets and grocery items, and yes, even to Pho!).


If you want to do some mild weight training on a budget, head to 88 Hang Buom st, a short walk from Hoan Kiem Lake. The cost is 20,000VND per session as of November 2009. A local tells me he pays 130,000VND per month. Be aware however the gym is in very poor condition. The floor is hazardous and no one will spot you whilst benching so ensure your last rep you are able to place the bar back or go with a friend. The front of the gym is full of scooters and the rear wall has pictures of Uncle Ho exercising back in the day! Drinks are 10,000VND.


Hidden Hanoi (137 Nghi Tam Road (aka Duong An Duong Vuong), Tay Ho, Hanoi, e: info@hiddenhanoi.com.vn; web: [30]) Located on the bund road in the Tay Ho district, Hidden Hanoi runs walking tours and cooking classes. There are many options, but the 1 hour walking tour of the local market, followed by the 3 hour cooking class, was a foody's delight (approximately US$50 per person). Cooking Class menus change daily, and there are other walking tours available. They also run language classes, and there is a dance school in the same building.

Vietnam Culinary School - Located right in the heart of Hanoi Administration Departments, the Vietnam Culinary School welcomes you to a fantastic food center place where you will discover and experience the culinary wonders of truly Vietnam Cuisine. The Culinary Class has fully equipped facilities offering you the chance to put your hand to practicing Vietnamese Cuisine. A typical day will commence with a visit to the morning market. Accompanied by an instructor, you will learn to select and buy Vietnamese ingredients for your personal cooking lesson. The class will be followed by a meal in a delightful restaurant sampling your own cooking as well as traditional Vietnamese dishes. Contact: hanoiculinaryclass@gmail.com for more details.

  • Hang Da Market— is under construction. They are building a six-story building so that there would be more spaces for kiosks. Hang Da market only had two floors in the past so the issue of over-crowdedness was visible. All the kiosks are now located in the neighboring area, either on Phung Hung, Duong Thanh or Ly Nam De streets. They offer everything that one can think of, from pets, groceries, prepared food to fabric materials. However, Hang Da market is well known for the numerous second-hand clothing kiosks on the second floor. These kiosks are now on Phung Hung Street.
  • Cho Hom (the equivalent meaning in English would be Noon Market but the translation is not close)— is on Pho Hue. Similarly to Hang Da market, they offer everything here. What it is famous for is the fabric market on the second floor. There are many kiosks selling different types of fabrics ranging from cheap, affordable to very good quality with a high price. However, please bear in mind that when shopping, take your time. Never rush into buying anything. Sellers often give a very high price that you can bargain down to half or one-third of the original price.
  • Dong Xuan market— is famous for being the market for wholesalers. They have from school supplies, stuffed animals to clothing. It is quite an experience to spend some time in the market observing the sellers and buyers.
  • Get cash!— ATMs are everywhere and cash is king here. It's easy to forget how the Dong converts to your currency so check your rate often to remind yourself how cheap everything really is! Many places sell in USD as well so be sure to ask before you get your heart set on that wood carving.


Since the mid 90s, Vietnamese cuisine has been catching up again and is now very diverse and most delicious. Most famous remains 'Pho Ga' (chicken noodle soup) or 'Pho Bo'(Beef noodle soup). There are various dishes including chicken, beef, fish and seafood.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of restaurants nowadays in Hanoi catering to everyone's taste. Be careful in your selection of eatery as most often the food on offer is utterly appalling and prepared in the most unhygienic conditions. Often Western travelers need to contend with recurring bouts of diarrhea and should prepare themselves for the eventuality.

On Tô Tich, a small street connecting Hang Quat and Hang Gai, you can help yourself to a refreshing fruit milkshake (sinh tố) at one of the stalls (~7000 dong).

You can also try BBQ pork (slice) in soup with vermicelli and lots of vegetables at DAC KIM (24, Hang Ga, Hoen Kiem, Hanoi; open 8AM-8PM). They serve spring rolls too.

The Sofitel Metropole does an "eat all you can" chocolate buffet each day from 3PM to 5:30PM. The price of $15++, tea is available at $4++ per pot. The chocolate is of a very high quality and includes a chocolate fountain and chocolate ice cream as well as a variety of freshly-made "Belgian" style chocolates.

The community of Le Mat (aka the Snake Village) has numerous restaurants specializing in cobra foodstuffs. Live cobras are stored on the premises much the same way one would find live lobsters at a Western seafood restaurant. If one orders cobra blood wine from the menu, the waiter will take a live cobra, kill it on the spot, drain the blood into a shot glass of rice wine, and top it off with the cobra's still beating heart for you to gulp down! Not for the faint hearted. Le Mat is about ten minutes across the river from downtown.

A local delicacy in the Hanoi area is dog meat (thịt chó), which is especially popular in the winter. There are a number of restaurants along the Red River that specialize in it. Another exotic regional taste is ca cuong, an extract from the belostomatid, or giant water bug. Just a few drops are added to noodles for the unique aroma.

In traveling to a new country, a tourist should spend some time exploring the culinary arts of the host community. In Hanoi, there are hundreds of street restaurants in small kiosks on the sidewalk or there are plastic tables and chairs on the pavements too. Always bear in mind that by going to a nice, clean and Western-looking restaurant, you are experiencing the commercialized versions of the food. Nevertheless, it is not highly recommendable to go out there by yourself and try the food at any small restaurants that you see on the sidewalk. Talk to other tourists that you see along the way. The best people to ask would be those who are backpackers or those who look as though they are living in Hanoi because they would know which places are good. If you are more adventurous than that, you can always ask the xe-om (motorbike driver) at almost every corner of the streets in Hanoi. They are indigenous people and they eat at these small restaurants as well. They would be a good source of information for you.


Look to the Old Quarter for atmospheric street stalls and reasonably priced Western and local fare.

  • Hebe cafe' 33, Luong Van Can street, near the Hoan Kiem lake, in the center of Hanoi Old Quarter (inside Hanoi Youth Hotel). Local and Western food at prices to suit travellers. US$1 breakfasts, US$2 pizza, US$8 hot pot.
  • Huy Café & Pizza Inn (32 Dinh Liet Street) offers a large Italian dinner combo (garlic bread, soup/salad, pizza/pasta, drink) for only 65,000 dong.
  • Kem Tràng Tiền (54 Phố Tràng Tiền) is one of the most popular spots for delicious and refreshing ice cream on a hot day. Beware of motorbikes when entering the establishment, since it is sort of a drive-thru/drive-in ice cream shop. Make sure to try the local cóm or đậu xanh flavors. Ice cream bars range from 5,000 to 8,000 dong. Cones are a bit more expensive.
  • Papa Joe's Coffee (112 Cau Go, tel. +84 926-2544; open 8AM-11PM) Despite the name, this is actually a real restaurant, with pasta, soup, salads, sandwiches, and pretty good burgers (vegetarian included). Drinks and desserts are also on hand. Entrees are 45-65,000 dong. The best reason to eat here, though, is the small balcony with a view over the frantic traffic square and the shores of the Hoan Kiem Lake below.
  • Pho on the corner of Nha Chung and Chan Cam sells the traditional watery noodle soup. All of the soups and sides include beef (bo) so this isn't for vegetarians. A large bowl of pho will set you back 12,000 dong and a bottle of Coke or a beer a further 3,000 dong.
  • Pho (10 Ly Quoc Su) sells apart from the Pho bo (noodle soup with beef) also noodles with vegetables - and of course beef on top of it. A dish will cost you something between 15,000 dong and 30,0000 dong.
  • Pho Tu Lun (Au Trieu) sells apart from the Pho bo (noodle soup with beef) also noodles with vegetables - and of course beef on top of it. A dish will cost you something between 15,000 dong and 30,0000 dong.
  • Bun Cha (corner Hang Non and Hang Manh, Old Quarter) - some rate this as one of the best examples of Bun Cha in Hanoi, and therefore Vietnam (apparently in the south, Bun Cha is specifically advertised as Hanoi-style). For about 60,000 dong each, you'll get a bowl full of tiny pork-mince rissoles that have been char grilled over an open flame, and a massive plate of pork rice paper rolls that have been fried in oil, twice. With this you also get a phenomenal dipping sauce (fish sauce, made from sugar, garlic, peppers usually), a massive plate of greens and herbs, more bun (rice noodle) than you can handle, and a bottle of local beer. It's full of locals and not so many tourists, so you can be assured the experience is authentic.
  • Com Binh Dan (Hang Bo, several side streets in Old Quarter) - often only open during lunch hours (11AM-2PM) for local workers, these are an excellent way to get an inexpensive, home-cooked Vietnamese meal. The best ones have loyal followings of workers who eat there every day. They serve rice with two or three toppings (which you select from several dishes) for 15,000-30,000 dong.
  • Quan an Ngon (“Delicious” restaurant) – they have a wide range of choices with regards to dishes from everywhere in Vietnam at very reasonable prices. Its address is 18 Phan Boi Chau street. They have limited seating and a large amount of customers so waiting time to be seated would be certain. Fortunately, they have a large seating area so customers do not have to wait long. They serve both lunch and dinner. Their restaurant is decorated culturally and traditionally.
  • Sen (Lotus) – this is a buffet style restaurant. They also have a very wide range of dishes from many regions in the country. The dishes are divided into stations where customers can order noodles, rice cakes or rice vercimelli. It is located at #10, lane 431, Au Co road, Tay Ho district. It is right next to the Water Park. They serve both lunch and dinner. Their new restaurant looks for Westernized, compared with their old thatched restaurants.
  • Com Chay Nang Tam Vegetarian Restaurant - http://www.nangtam.com.vn/ 79A Pho Tran Hung Dao, a few streets south of the lake. This excellent restaurant is your best vegetarian option in town and will please both vegetarians and non-vegetarians with its wide range of innovative dishes, which include fake meat dishes. Restaurant is comfortable with good ambience, and dishes are value-priced. A set dinner with a selection of four dishes, soup, and rice starts at 40,000 dong. Open for lunch and dinner. Well worth the short walk out of the old town to find this gem.
  • Daluva 33 To Ngoc Van Street, Tay Ho(West Lake)+84 4 3718 5831 or +84 907 144 561, [31]. Located just 10 mins from Hoan Kiem Lake by taxi and 3 mins from the Sheraton and Inter Continental Hotels. They are a Wine and Tapas Bar/Restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner from 8AM till late. The food caters for all tastes including vegetarians and kids. Ranging from small tapas plates to main courses of hearty Western and Asian fare. It's a modern place and well decorated with great well trained staff and easy music on your ears. The 3rd floor has a Children's play room with free supervision as well as a Children's menu. Happy Hour(s) Monday to Friday 5-8PM with 2 for one drinks. The place is a favourite with local expats in the area.
  • Pepperoni's near the Hang Gai end of Wha Chung is part of a small international chain of pizza restaurants. Locally run, they do regular special offers such as free desserts, eat-all-you-can buffets and loyalty schemes, whereby collecting tokens with each take-out entitles you to a free pizza. Pizzas start from around 65,000 dong and the menu also includes burgers, ice cream and apple crumble.
  • Cam Chan Quan (Main in 108 K1 Giang Vo Street, branch in CIPUTRA HANOI - call 0123 259 7696) - This eatery has staff that speaks english, chinese and vietnamese that would be able to help you speak to the cab drivers to bring you to them. They serve asian fare, with a closer touch to the singapore cusines. Its one place where good clean toilet is expected, with free wifi. For those with a budget, the must trys are their noodles, its not the usual pho u see around the place, but a more typical noodle you will see in singapore. A bowl of their specialty noodles are abt 65000 dongs each.If you are feel like splurging alittle more,try the Beggar's chicken, Savioury Fried eggplants, Chinese rice wine Hotpot Soup.
  • Cha Ca La Vong (14 Cha Ca Street, also 107 Nguyen Truong To Street) - This establishment is so famous, the street is named after it, instead of the other way around. There's only one dish on the menu, fried fish in grease, but they've been serving it now for five generations. Price is 90,000 dong (~$6 USD) per person and the portion is rather small. They also charge 1,000 dong for one napkin. They have eliminated the traditional shrimp paste recently as well.
  • Huyen Houng Restaurant, 20 Bao Khanh, Hanoi, 04.8288430. Choose from a wide variety of seafood dishes (many of which are swimming around in tanks) and other Vietnamese specialities. Friendly staff complement the tasty food. about 80000-120000 dong for a meal and drink.  edit
  • Little Hanoi, 21 Pho Hang Gai, tel +84 4 928 5333. Upscale cafe serving mainly Westerners in a pleasantly lit restaurant.
  • Moka Café (In Nha Tho Street close to the cathedral) has an execellent selection of Western and Vietnamese food served in a coffee shop environment.
  • Tamarind Café (Ma May 80, Old Quarter; tel. +84 4 926-0580) [32]. Has a menu full of inventive vegetarian dishes, lots of fresh juices, and a relaxed, stylish interior. Don't come here if you're hungry though, as the portions aren't very big and it's a tad pricey.
  • La Salsa 'in Nha Tho street near the church in Old Town - just across the street from Moka Cafe) - French food and ex-pat hang-out.
  • Paris Deli (near St Joseph's Catheral) offers delicious Italian fare for hearty appetites.
  • Ciao Cafe at 2 Hang Bai St is a cosy place for coffee and cake and it is not full of cigarette smoke unlike other cafes in Hanoi.
  • Kaiser Kaffee Restaurant at 34A Ba Trieu is an interesting little place which has excellent Vietnamese and Western food.
  • "Pane e Vino Italian Restaurant and Wine Shop" at 3 Nguyen Khac Can and 98 Hang trong, Hanoi. Phone 38269080-39286329. Both locations are in the heart center of Hanoi, only 100m away from Hoan Kiem Lake. The fully air-conditioned serves a wide range of traditional regional Italian dishes with strictly controlled quality of ingredients. An extensive wine list with many choices of Imported Italian wines from Veneto, Tuscany, Puglia, Sicilia and Piemont. Friendly service with smiling and fluent speaking English waiter and waitress. A great place for relax and get recover after a long walking and shopping day. Drop in for a chat and a complimentary digestivo with the manager.
  • La Restaurant & Bar, 25 Ly Quoc Su, Hanoi, 9288933, 0913221971. Situated near St. Joseph's Cathedral in Hanoi's old quarter, this elegant, air-conditioned restaurant has a choice of delicious Western and Vietnamese dishes. While the selection of vegetarian dishes is somewhat restricted, the food is excellent, if pricey by Hanoi standards. La will definitely satisfy longings for quality food after weeks of eating on the street. Think Parisian bistro meets fine dining Asian. About 300,000 dong for a meal and drinks.  edit
  • Green Tangerine, 48 Hang Be, tel 04/825-1286. Excellent French restaurant offering rich and delicious French fare with both an a la carte selection and a set menu. Popular with expats, it is located just a few steps away from busy Hang Be street.
  • Restaurant Bobby Chinn, 1 Ba Trieu St, Hanoi, tel 04/934-8577. An amazing restaurant with the trademark green pea pods as the logo. Without a doubt one of the more hip dining experiences of Hanoi, though a bit steep in price compared to Hanoi standards. The interior alone is worth a look, while the menu is delightfully eclectic.
  • Saigon Restaurant at InterContinental Hanoi Westlake - introduces an innovative dining concept to Hanoi – the freshest blend of Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine. The restaurant features contemporary Asian design, dramatic glass-fronted kitchens and inspiring views of the city’s ever-changing skyline.
  • Sunday Brunch at Sofitel Metropole - If you live to eat and enjoy innovative and unconventional cooking, then treat yourself and your loved ones to the famous Sofitel Metropole Sunday Brunch. It's from noon to 3PM every Sunday and will set you back US$50++/head, but then it also sports approx. 40 meters of buffet with everything your heart can desire, from sushi to carvery, from fresh french oysters to homemade ice cream - you name it - they've got it. Among the highlights are a 3 storey chocolate buffet with a chocolate fountain and the goose liver creme brulee.


Bia Hơi is abundant in the streets of the Old Quarter. At the crossing of Ta Hien and Luong Ngoc Quyen five separate venues fill up with travellers in the evenings, but you can get more local atmosphere on some of the side streets.

Hanoi is a lively city on the weekends, but the Old Quarter closes relatively early (at midnight) on weekdays, so you might want to start your night early. Other places outside the Old Quarter stay open later and vary in closing times.

  • Daluva Wine and Tapas Bar 33 To Ngoc Van Street, Tay Ho(West Lake)+84 4 3718 5831 or +84 907 144 561 "8am till Late", [33]. Located just 10 mins from Hoan Kiem Lake by taxi and 3 mins from the Sheraton and Inter Continental Hotels. It's a modern hip place and well decorated with great well trained staff and easy music on your ears, after 8pm the music notches up for the late night crowd after the dinner crowd departs. Happy Hour(s) Monday to Friday 5-8PM with 2 for one drinks. The place is a favourite with local expats and travellers in the area. They do events and private parties as well as catering. Being a Wine and Tapas Bar/Restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, the food caters for all tastes including vegetarians and kids. Ranging from small tapas plates to main courses of hearty Western and Asian fare.
  • LolliPub Lollipub; Hotel-Bar, 48, Ma May, Hoan Kiem, 0439264755. 8AM to 12 midnight. One of the newest bars located in the old quarter of Hanoi, has a good mix of expatriates & locals. Longest Happy hour of an bar in Hanoi running from 8AM till 10PM everyday. Hotel on the top floors if you over indulge and need a place to crash for the night. cheap.  edit
  • The LOFT Bar & Restaurant [34] LOFT Bar & Restaurant, 143, Ba Trieu Street, Hai Ba Trung District (5 minutes walk from vincom towers), 049744398, [35]. 4PM to 12 midnight. One of the more diverse bars located in Central Hanoi that has a good mix of expatriates & locals. A live band plays from Mondays to Saturdays. The lounge is on the second floor comes equipped with another bar so there's always a place to order drinks from.  edit
  • The Jazz Club by Quyen Van Minh [36] - (31 Luong Van Can - Old Quarter). A good place to drink, eat and listen to jazz music. Founded by Mr Minh (already legendary in Hanoi in the early 90s) in 1999, the bar reminds one of the old bars of New Orleans and of the best around the world. Also the kitchen is very good. Live music really starts at 9PM until 11PM. You can also buy gifts such as t-shirts and CD's. Open between 7PM and midnight.
  • Culi Café, 40 Lương Ngọc Quyến, (84-04)9262241 culicafe@wideeyedtours.com [37]. For the feeling you haven't left your hometown or just need a break from Bia Hoi, this Kiwi-run bar might be the answer. Air-con lounge upstairs, with wireless connections, sports occasionally screened in the bar downstairs. The same bar also runs a travel agency.
  • Green Lake (Ho Guom Xanh) 32 Le Thai To, is a crowded bar with weekly performances by popular local singers. A place for the definitive Vietnamese entertainment scene.
  • Le Maquis is a small bar on the northern end of Ta Hien. It's more like a loud rock music binge and smoke pub than a stylish lounge, but there's usually a happy crowd until late and the place has an authentic feel.
  • Sunset Bar, InterContinental Hanoi Westlake, 1A Nghi Tam, (84-4)62708888. Dramatically positioned on its own island in West Lake and reached in the evenings by a stroll along a torch-lit bridge, Sunset Bar’s tropical Asian ambience and stunning sunset views over the lake afford guests a sanctuary from which to escape the bustle of downtown Hanoi.
  • Student bar, left of the St. Joseph Cathedral's Entrance (West of Hoan Kiem Lake). A nice little bar for cheap and good fruit shakes. As the name suggests, very young audience, that sits each night on ridiculous amounts of little chairs on the sidewalks, taking their fruit shakes.  edit
  • Nola, 89 Ma May str (located in the heart of the old quarter). open from 7PM to 11PM. a communal spot with friendly services. three floors are three beautiful views and comfortable place. put your bag anywhere then you can have a rest. email us: nola.inhanoi@gmail.com  edit
  • Seventeen Saloon, 98B Tran Hung Dao. You would definitely like the lively atmosphere in this saloon with live music. They had a Filipino band with a great female lead singer.  edit

Hanoi hotel scams

Although many hotels in Hanoi are helpful and trustworthy, there are still some scam artists around. Touts will try to lure you into a hotel. If you decide to go, be sure to have them pay the transport, and don't hesitate to leave if you do not like the place. Also, do not believe anybody other than the front desk clerk if they tell you that a certain hotel is "full". They'd rather take you to a place that pays them a commission. Any hotel will be keen to have you book a Ha Long Bay trip through them, but wait a day to judge the quality of service you're receiving there - that'll give you some idea of what kind of travel agency they intend to refer you to.

Be aware that unscrupulous hotels will promise deals that are poorly explained until check-out - for example, "daily free water and fruit" that is only free on the first day. In the Old Quarter, Thien Tan Hotel, Old Street Hotel and Ocean Star Hotel indulge in this scam, so avoid them. If you've booked into a rotten hotel and you're planning to leave, don't be shy about taking photos of the minibar right before you leave, lest a few bottles go missing while the staff are "checking" your room. Also, ask explicitly whether tax is included in your room rate. Better hotels will include the tax, but scam-havens like the Old Street Hotel see it as an opportunity to squeeze an extra dollar or two out of you.

You might return late at night to your hotel room to find that all your belongings have been cleared out and you will be accused for not having called during the day. They will then make you believe that there was something wrong with the plumbing in your room, that they were fully booked and you have to change to another hotel which is, of course, much more expensive. There are some hotels that will tell you their room is facing an electricity or water leaking problem and arrange you to stay at a much cheaper, maybe lousy hotel on the 1st day. But they actually do reserve the room for Western foreigners. In the old quarters, Hanoi Plaza hotel indulges in this scam.

With the overwhelming amount of motorbike traffic and the common rule to honk a few times before even considering the brakes, it is wise to check your hotel room's location before taking it. Having a room on the street side means being exposed to the honking which doesn't end till 1AM and starts again around 5AM. If you go more upmarket, chances are there will be sound-proof glass, but it is still wise to check first.

  • Hanoi Central Backpackers, 45A Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem (Half a block north of the church on Ly Quic Su, in the alley next to June fashion), (84 4) 39381508, [38]. checkin: 24 hrs; checkout: Noon. The staff here, a local family, is incredible- as friendly and helpful as they come. The $5 dorm bed includes free breakfast, free internet, and a free beer happy hour from 8-10PM. Very clean. $5 dorm.  edit
  • Hanoi Backpackers' Hostel, 48 Ngo Huyen St, Hoan Kiem (One block north of St Joseph's Cathedral. Signposted from there.), (84-4) 828 5372 (), [39]. checkin: 24 hours; checkout: 24 hours. Run by two Australians who have lived there for many years. Clean air-conditioned rooms (including female-only dorms plus double rooms), powerful and hot showers, tri-weekly BBQs on the rooftop, free wi-fi and internet and excellent staff who are always available to help. All dorm beds have a large personal locker (no extra fee), shelf and nightlight. Part of the Hostelling International association, so valid card-holders will get a discount. Quite popular during high season, recommended to book accommodation in advance. $7.5 per night dorm / $30 per night double inc breakfast.  edit
  • Hanoi Youth Hostel, 56 Ngo Huyen, Hoan Kiem, 84438260470, [40]. Located in the Hanoi Old Quarter close to Hoan Kiem Lake (just a seven minute walk). 17 rooms and dormitory with city view, air-conditioning, satellite TV, telephone, mini-bar, en-suite bathroom with bath-tub and shower. Relaxation room on the first floor complete with a pool table, a darts board and a library. Free Wi-Fi. Room rate from $4.5-$6 Dorm bed. and $15 -$30 for a private room.  edit
  • Old Quarter Hostel, 91 Hang Ma, +84 902 29 1886,[41]. Just a few minutes by walk to Dong Xuan Market (wholesale market), they offer very clean, spacious and secure rooms. Staff are incredibly helpful. Bunk is $6, single or shared rooms at $10 to $15 respectively, including the 10% tax and prices include free internet and free breakfast.


The Old Quarter is littered with guesthouses and hostels catering for budget travelers.

  • Camellia 5, 81 Thuoc Bac Str (about 10 mins walk from Hoan Kiem lake), (84 4) 828 2376 or (84 4) 828 3128 (, fax: (84 4) 828 2404), [42]. checkout: 12 noon. Small hotel on the heart of Old Quarter. Clean rooms and baths with good air-con, satellite TV, free internet and breakfast. Friendly English speaking staff. From US$12.  edit
  • Especen Hotel, 28 Tho Xuong street & 41 Ngo Huyen street, Hoan Kiem dist (Located 30 meters from St. Joseph's Church (Cathedral) on a quiet alley off of Au Trieu street.), (84-4) 38244401 (, fax: (84-4) 38259460), [43]. checkin: 12:00; checkout: 12:00. Rooms are new, clean, bright, quiet, friendly staff. $8 to $22/private room (single room $15, double room $17/night). (21.029094,105.848511) edit
  • Golden Sun II Hotel, 19 Hang Hanh St (located 30m from Hoan Kiem Lake), (84 4) 39380433 (), [44]. Air conditioned, comfortable rooms with attached bath, friendly staff who go out of their way to make your stay comfortable. $20 for double room including breakfast and internet.  edit
  • Hanoi Youth Hotel, 33 Luong Van Can street, tel: +84 4 8285822 [45]. Located in the Old Quarter. The hotel has 17 rooms, including standard, superior and deluxe with rates from US$12-30. Rooms are large and have big beds, and WiFi, but air-con is sometimes poor. However, this seems to have changed recently and now the rooms can become quite cool.
  • Indochina Queen Hotel, No. 8/50 Dao Duy Tu Lane (between Dao Duy Tu St. and Ta Hien St.), 84-4-3926-2564, [46]. checkin: anytime; checkout: 12pm. Very centrally located slightly to the north of Hoan Kiem Lake has huge rooms to suit different budgets. All rooms come with hot water, satellite TV and free breakfast. Since it's tucked away in an alley, it's much quieter than most other hotels that are situated right on the main streets. $12-30USD.  edit
  • Kangaroo Hotel, Hang Luoc St 71 (about 10 mins walk from Hoan Kiem lake), (84-4) 8258044 (). checkout: 12 noon. Small hotel in the Old Quarter. The rooms have comfortable beds, good hot water pressure for showers and air-con/fan combos. Amenities include satellite TV, free internet and bathtubs(!). Helpful staff with good English. The famous Cha Ca restaurant is less than a 4 minute walk. From US$4.  edit
  • Little Hanoi Hotel, 48 Hang Ga, Hoan Kiem, +84-4 3828 4461, is a new budget hotel located just north west of the lake in the old quarter. Comfortable, modern, clean air-conditioned rooms and dorms. Doubles are $20 and dorms $6 with breakfast and internet are included.
  • Real Darling Café Guesthouse, 33 Hang Quat, Old Quarter (2 minutes walk from the north side of Hoan Kiem Lake) tel: +84 4 826 9386 fax: +84 4 824 3468 tom1234567892009@hotmail.com. This guesthouse has basic but cheap rooms (US$6+, dorm beds US$3/night, long stayers can get lower rates) with a fan, hot showers and optional air-con; there's a steep climb up to all the rooms but they'll help with your bags for a tip. There is no housekeeping service in the sense that rooms won't be cleaned while you're occupying them. Helpful and friendly staff; "free" internet access on the ground floor (the fine print limits this to 15 minutes per day). The café offers cheap food; they run a cheap and fair travel agency downstairs that doesn't try to rip you off; bicycles and motorbikes for rent. Keep an eye out for construction on Hang Quat (Fan Street), though.
  • Stars Hotel [47] 26 Bat Su, Old Quarter tel: +84 4 828 1911 or +84 4 828 1912. Clean rooms with impressive bathroom. Breakfast available. Just a few mins by walk to Dong Xuan Market and Hoan Kiam Lake. Rates from USD$15 - $28. Free internet available in some rooms and also at dining room at ground level.
  • Continental Hotel - 24, Hang Vai, Hoan Kiem [48]. Boutique-style hotel which has clean and spacious rooms. Hotel staffs are courteous, friendly and warm. Walking distance to Hoan Kiem Late and with easy access to restaurants and shops. Around USD 24 for a single room, USD 28 for twin sharing, incl. breakfast and taxes.
  • Hanoi Capital Hotel (Located in the Old Quarter), 04 Hang But Street, +84 4 39233407, [49]. checkin: Any time; checkout: 12:00 Noon. Nice and quiet location, with clean facilities and spotless furnishings. All rooms have wooden floors, big windows, IDD telephone, air-conditioning, cable TV, refrigerator, DVD Player, bathroom with bath and shower, hair-dryer, coffee and tea making facilities and ADSL Internet. Serving a daily breakfast buffet which is delicious. From USD 38-65 including breakfast buffet..  edit
  • Hanoi Phoenix Hotel, No. 43 Bat Su Street (Hoan Kiem district), +84 4 9232683 (, fax: +84 4 9263745), [50]. Situated in the heart of Hanoi's Old Quarter. The 30 rooms offer hot water, private bathrooms, and fan or air conditioning. There is also a fridge, satellite TV, telephone access, internet access free of charge in the rooms and the lobby. At least some of the rooms even have a desktop computer! Prices start at USD 11, plus breakfast.  edit
  • Hanoi Elegance Hotel, No 85 Ma May Str & No 8 Hang Bac Str., tel: +84 4 9263451, fax: +84 4 9263452 [51]. In a street in the Old Quarter that thanks to a curb doesn't see as much through-traffic and thus is quieter than most. The newly built boutique hotel offers luxury accommodation in elegant settings with modern facilities & amenities served by professional staff. Rooms USD 28-70 with TV, fan, air-con, hot shower, bathtub or jacuzzi and optional breakfast. In-room computer with internet access is free of charge. Friendly staff.
  • Hanoi Grand View Hotel, no 50 Hang Be-Hoan Kiem, +84-4 39260084 (), [52]. Located in the Old Quarter. Rooms come with satellite LCD TV, individually controlled air-conditioning, desk, personal safes, mini-bar, tea and coffee maker, bathroom with shower massage, bathtub, daily buffet breakfast served in the hotel’s restaurant, etc. Cot and iron available upon request, Bicycle rental is available for exploring the surrounding area. Parking is also available for guests who arrived with their own transportation. Baby sitting services are available for those quiet evenings alone. Also has 24 hour front desk, luggage storage and fax services. Room rates from USD 60 to 135 USD /night, buffet breakfast included.  edit
  • Hanoi Pacific Star Hotel, 32 Cuanam St, Hoan Kiem, +84 4 39364520 (), [53]. checkin: 24 hours; checkout: 24 hours. A short walk from the Old Quarter, with bright and spacious accommodation. Hearty breakfast, free wired internet in each of the rooms, a bar, and room service are available. $30 per night double incl. breakfast.  edit
  • Kings Cross Linh Dung Uyen Hotel, no 3 Tong Duy Tan St, Hoan Kiem, +84 4 22158030 (), [54]. checkin: 24 hours; checkout: 24 hours. Not far way from Hanoi’s business district. The hotel is the tallest building in its area. Guest elevator, meeting facilities, business center, 24-hour security camera system on public areas available. All rooms and apartments offer views over the entire city. USD 31 per night double incl. breakfast.  edit
  • Ocean Stars 2 Hotel, No.10 Ngo Dao Duy Tu lane, Hoan Kiem, +84 4 8281711 (, fax: +84 4 9263745), [55]. Located in the Old Quarter. The 25 rooms offer hot water, private bathrooms, and fan or air conditioning. There is also a fridge, satellite TV, telephone access, internet access in the rooms and the lobby. Note, this hotel is not located on Dao Duy Tu St, instead on Ngo Dao Duy Tu. Look for the alley at 52 Dao Duy Tu St. USD 16-30.  edit
  • Viet Anh Hotel, 11 Ma May St., Tel: +84 4 9261302, Fax: +84 4 9261306, [56]. Newly remodeled rooms, located on a shady street in the Old Quarter. Internet and a good buffet breakfast (with chef on hand) are included in the room rate. Room rates can be negotiable depending on the season, with some as low as USD 15, but official prices range from USD 18 for a standard room to USD 60 for a family suite.
  • Daewoo Hanoi Hotel 360 Kim Ma St, Ba Dinh District [57] US$170+. The Daewoo Hotel was the first "5 star" hotel in Hanoi and has since been renovated but by international standards is closer to a 4-star. This hotel is located about 15-20 minutes by taxi from the center of town, which makes it a quieter if less convenient place for tourists to stay. The hotel is part of a larger apartment and business complex that includes 7 restaurants and cafes, 2 banks, and even a dance club. There is a large pool, exercise room, business center with translation services, and free broadband internet access in the rooms.
  • Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi, 83A Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem District (in walking distance to Hoan Kiem Lake and Old Quarter), +84 4 3822 2800 (, fax: +84 4 3822 2776), [58]. checkin: 14:00 hrs; checkout: 12:00 hrs. There are 154 rooms and suites, 93 of which are non-smoking rooms, and 20 connecting rooms. All rooms are equipped with LCD flat screen TVs and a wide selection of international cable TV channels. Mini-bar, IDD telephone, personal safe, tea and coffee making amenities are also available. Broadband cable and WiFi Internet is accessible in all rooms and throughout the public areas of the hotel. Prices from US$140. (21°1'29.29N,105°50'38.52E) edit
  • InterContinental Hanoi Westlake - 1A Nghi Tam, Tay Ho District, (84-4)62708888 [59]. The newest 5 star hotel in Hanoi situated on the waters of Westlake and adjacent to the 800-year-old Golden Lotus Pagoda. Featuring 359 rooms and suites with private balconies.
  • Melia Hanoi Hotel - Ly Thuong Kiet street [60]. USD139++ onwards. Rooms are big and offer views of the city. Rates include an international buffet breakfast. Located within walking distance of Hanoi Towers and Hoa Lu prison, and is about 15 mins slow walk from the Old Quarter.
  • Sheraton Hanoi Hotel, K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu Rd, Tay Ho District. On the shore of West lake, this hotel has large gardens and courtyards. Rooms are furnished with traditional decor and modern amenities.
  • Sofitel Metropole Hanoi Hotel, 15 Ngo Quyen St. Within walking distance of the Hanoi Opera House, this French Colonial style hotel is patroned by mostly older European travelers. The cuisine served by the restaurant is tasty and fresh.
  • Sofitel Plaza Hotel (formerly Meritus West Lake), 1 Thanh Nien Road, Ba Dinh District. Renowned as the most scenic hotel in Hanoi with a zig-zag facade and stepped architecture. Hotel is spotless and well maintained with very friendly staff.

Stay safe

Like everywhere else in Vietnam, traffic in Hanoi is dominated by an incredible amount of motorbikes, all of which seem to be making a mad, desperate dash for something just out of reach — all of the time. In other words, pedestrian traffic can be overwhelming for visitors, especially in the narrow streets around the Old Quarter. When you leave the curb, look both ways, and take each step slowly and patiently while trying to make eye contact with any oncoming drivers. The key word here is slowly — don't rush. This way the drivers are aware of you, and can take you into account (along with all of the other motorbikes). It may look, and indeed is somewhat chaotic, but be patient and pay attention when you're crossing any street, large or small, and you should be fine.

  • Hanoi code: 4

- Note the recently added '3' in front of all local numbers. Example:

  • Old dialling style: 1234567 (from within the city) or 04-1234567 (inter-provincial) or 0084-4-123456 (from overseas)
  • New dialling style: 3-1234567 (from within the city) or 04-3-1234567 (inter-provincial) or 0084-4-3-123456 (from overseas)


There are plenty of internet cafés all over the city. Most are used by Vietnamese teens playing online dance or battle games. Rates vary, but can be as low as 3000 dong/hour. Some of the better cafés, particularly in the Old Quarter, have computers that are Skype-capable for international phone calls. Close to Hanoi Youth Hostel there is a cybercafe that charge tourist ten times the actual cost. It is next door, and has no name. If you are in a hurry use another one.

The cafes that charge you for using the Internet usually provide desktop computers. There are also cafes where they have free wireless. All you have to do is order something from their menus and use their wifi for as long as you want. The wifi cafes are usually concentrated around Hoan Kiem lake area.

Monks crossing the street
Monks crossing the street
  • British Embassy, Central Building, 31 Hai Ba Trung, ++ (84) (4) 9360550 (, fax: ++ (84) (4) 9360562). 08:30-12:30 & 13:30-16:30.  edit
  • Czech Republic: [64]
  • Embassy of India, 58-60, Tran Hung Dao Hanoi, 00-84-4-253409 252310.  edit
  • Indonesia, 50 Ngo Quyen str. Hanoi, (84-4) 8253353, 8257969, 8256316.  edit [67]
  • Malaysia, 43-45 Dien Bien Phu Hanoi, 84-4-3734 3849.  edit
  • Norway: [70]
  • Poland, [71].  edit
  • Russia, 191 La Thanh street Hanoi, 84 4 833 6991, 833-6992, consular department 833-6575, [72]. in russian  edit
  • Embassy of Switzerland, Hanoi Central Office Building (HCO Building), 15th Floor, 44B Ly Thuong Kiet Street, +84 (4) 39 34 65 89 (fax: +84 (4) 39 34 65 91), [75]. Monday to Friday 10:00-12:00; Saturday / Sunday closed; In the afternoon by appointment.  edit
  • United States, 170 Ngoc Khanh, Ba Dinh, [77].  edit

Others without website

List of Embassies in Hanoi[78].

Get out

If you are the adventurous type or simply bored temporarily of the city atmosphere, then consider a cruise in the northern countryside. A round trip will bring you to a lot of charming villages and through hills and valleys with stunning nature. Main roads are generally in good condition and you can easily do a couple of hundred kilometers a day. The villages and provinces are generally safe at night, and you get to see a lot of Vietnamese culture such as various tribe folks. While bus services are in fact available (albeit not always reliable), a recommended alternative is to rent a bike or car and make the trip on your own. Motorbikes in decent quality can be rented for as little as US$5 a day, and many places have suggestions for routes.

  • The Halong Bay tour— Staying overnight in a boat on the breath-taking Ha Long Bay (or in a hotel on Cat Ba Island) is the most popular side-trip from Hanoi.
  • The Perfume Pagoda is an ancient Buddhist pilgrimage site about 60 km southwest of Hanoi. A full-day excursion involves a boat trip, hiking up a mountain, and visiting various temples and grottoes.
  • Bat Trang is a village world-famous for its pottery, 9 km southeast of Hanoi. It is accessible by taking Bus 47, which originates at Long Bien. Just hop on (the bus will be clearly labelled with the number 47 and the text "Long Bien - Bat Trang"; bus fare is 3000 dong one-way as of 2008) and take it to the last stop, which is directly opposite the pottery market (haggle for lower prices, and insist on paying in Dong). Head back up the street to the factories to see artists at work.
  • Cao Bang, featuring the beautiful Ban Gioc waterfall, is five hours away by bus, near the Chinese border.
  • The northern village of Sapa, is home to ethnic minorities, gorgeous mountain scenery, and trekking paths connecting many tiny mountain villages, is also a popular two or three day trip. It is accessible by train (to Lao Cai) followed by a minibus link to the town. The trekking paths have no signs, so a hiring a guide is well-advised.
  • Tam Coc/Hoa Lu: Located in Ninh Binh province, this day trip is a combines heritage tourism and natural landscape tourism. Hoa Lu is the site of the first capital of Vietnam in the 10th century, and was home to two kings-- Dinh Bo Linh (Dinh Tien Hoang) and Le Hoan-- there are now two shrines dedicated to these two kings. About 30 mins away from Hoa Lu is Tam Coc [three grottoes]-- also known as Halong Bay on land. It features karst landforms surrounded by padi fields, and is accessed by little wooden boats. Boats are for hire at 3.5 USD/trip, which takes about one hour. This is an excellent alternative to Halong Bay for those who have short attention spans, as the boat trip takes a mere hour versus Halong Bay boat trips, which take 5 hours - 2 days. One minor annoyance involves peddlars on boats hawking their wares, and your boat rower trying to sell you embroidery. Trip can be booked in Hanoi backpacker cafes at about 20USD.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

HANOI, capital of Tongking and of French Indo-China, on the right bank of the Song-koi or Red river, about 80 m. from its mouth in the Gulf of Tongking. Taking in the suburban population the inhabitants numbered in 1905 about 1 io,000, including 103,000 Annamese, 2289 Chinese and 2665 French, exclusive of troops. Hanoi resembles a European city in the possession of wide well-paved streets and promenades, systems of electric light and drainage and a good water-supply. A crowded native quarter built round a picturesque lake lies close to the river with the European quarter to the south of it. The public buildings include the palace of the governor-general, situated in a spacious botanical and zoological garden, the large military hospital, the cathedral of St Joseph, the Paul Bert college, and the theatre. The barracks and other military buildings occupy the site of the old citadel, an area of over 300 acres, to the west of the native town. The so-called pagoda of the Great Buddha is the chief native building. The river is embanked and is crossed by the Pont Doumer, a fine railway bridge over i m. long. Vessels drawing 8 or 9 ft. can reach the town. Hanoi is 1 For others of the name see Carthage; Hannibal; Punic Wars. Smith's Classical Dictionary has notices of some thirty of the name.

the seat of the general government of Indo-China, of the residentsuperior of Tongking, and of a bishop, who is vicar-apostolic of central Tongking. It is administered by an elective municipal council with a civil service administrator as mayor. It has a chamber of commerce, the president of which has a seat on the superior council of Indo-China; a chamber of the court of appeal of Indo-China, a civil tribunal of the first order, and is the seat of the chamber of agriculture of Tongking. Its industries include cotton-spinning, brewing, distilling, and the manufacture of tobacco, earthenware and matches; native industry produces carved and inlaid furniture, bronzes and artistic metalwork, silk embroidery, &c. Hanoi is the junction of railways to Hai-Phong, its seaport, Lao-Kay, Vinh, and the Chinese frontier via Lang-Son. It is in frequent communication with Hai-Phong by steamboat.

See C. Madrolle, Tonkin du sud: Hanoi (Paris, 1907).

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Albert Auguste Gabriel Hanotaux >>


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also Hà Nội



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Proper noun




  1. Capital of Vietnam.

Derived terms


Simple English

[[File:|thumb|right|Hanoi at Night]] Hanoi (Vietnamese: Quốc Ngữ Hà Nội; Chữ Nôm 河内) is the capital of Vietnam. There are about 3,083,800 (2004) people who live in the city. It was the capital of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam from 1945 until now. Before that, it was the capital of the country now called Vietnam for most of the time from at least the 11th century until 1802. The city is on the right of the Red River. Things made there include machine tools, plywood, textiles, chemicals, and handicrafts. Hanoi is located at 21°2' North, 105°51' East (21.0333, 105.85), 1,760 km north of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). [1]



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