The capital of Vietnam brings many tourists and locals alike to experience its bustling streets, an abundance of shops, delicious fruits, and exciting nightlife. Hanoi is an amazing destination for all tourists with opportunities for sightseeing, night markets, comfortable hotels, nightlife, and lots of shopping!
Hanoi is a perfect and easily exploitable destination for all travelers with plenty of accommodation options.
This large metropolitan city is broken into several different districts with various attractions. When planning a trip to Hanoi it is important to be aware of the different neighborhoods to pick the one to best suit your ideal vacation.
The article will first breakdown the most popular neighborhoods for visitors to stay in when visiting Hanoi. You will not only gain an understanding of the neighborhood but also understand the main attractions in the area and the recommended accommodations.
Then the following section goes over different travelers and where to stay depending on the experience they’re seeking.
Let’s dive in!
If You’re In A Hurry, Here’s Our Advice In Short:
Stay in Hoan Kiem, also known as the Old Quarter, which is a neighborhood located in the downtown area of Hanoi. It’s a popular destination for visitors and a great place to visit Hanoi especially for the first time.
This area is known to be the tourist area of the city due to its many attractions, restaurants, and a plethora of accommodation options.
Top Places to Visit in Hanoi:
- Old Quarter Night Market
- Hoan Kiem Lake
- Thang Long Imperial Citadel
- Banana Island
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Practical Information About Hanoi
Before we give you all the best hotels, hostels and regions that Hanoi has to offer, here are some facts about the city:
Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and is the second-largest city. The city has a unique blend of Eastern and Western cultures due to the country’s relations with France, and due to the large number of ex-pats living in the city.
- The national currency is the Vietnamese Dong (VND) ₫ – The currency deals with high numbers and you will find that you are a millionaire in this country. The average exchange rate is 1 Million VND to $40 USD.
- The local language is Vietnamese.
- Vietnam is located in Southeast Asia and borders Laos, Cambodia, China, and the South China Sea.
- The nature in this country varies but is known for its large mountains that rise out of the ground, its amazing beaches, jungle terrain, and picturesque rice fields.
- The population in Vietnam is 95 million, and there are several large metropolitan cities in this country.
Hanoi is divided into 12 urban districts and 17 rural districts. These districts are home to nearly 10% of the country’s population and take up over more than 3,000 km, meaning that you’ll have a lot to see here!
The main areas to visit in Hanoi are:
- The Old Quarter: the most touristic area with accommodation options, shopping, and attractions
- Westlake: known for being the most Westernized area with a large ex-pat community
- Ba Dinh: a more peaceful area of the city but is still equipped with historic and cultural attractions
- and finally, Hai Ba Trung.
It is very easy to get around Hanoi due to the city’s abundance of public transportation options. Many people opt for Grab Taxi cars and motorbikes to get around the city, but the public buses are just as convenient. There are also several motorbike rentals around the city if you dare to take on the hectic roads of Hanoi.
Within any of the neighborhoods, it is very easy to get around on foot. However, when going across the city it is recommended to book some transportation to save time and exhaustion.
The Best Areas and Hotels to Stay in Hanoi
1. Old Quarter / Hoan Kiem
The Old Quarter is the most popular neighborhood for tourists to visit and stay in during their trip to Hanoi.
It is located in the center of Hanoi, surrounding the Hoan Kiem lake.
The Old Quarter is the perfect place for those looking to experience the lively soul of the city. This neighborhood is home to busy marketplaces, a weekend night market, and many accommodation options.
This area is consistently crowded with tourists and locals alike. The streets are packed with pedestrians, trucks, and motorbikes and lined with interesting restaurants, bars, and cafes. Everything is within walking distance in the Old Quarter, but there are also very accessible and cheap motorbike taxis.
You should also know that the area is slightly more expensive than anywhere else due to the location catering to tourists.
Hoan Kiem is a unique area of Hanoi due to its various attractions and large tourist population. In fact, staying in this area gives you a convenient cultural experience of the city life in Vietnam. This bustling corner of the city is never at a standstill, and can even be overstimulating at times!
The Old Quarter is the social hub for passing travelers. At night, the streets fill with locals and foreigners alike looking to drink the cheap 10k beers and chat with new people. The modern tourist industry is alive and well in the Old Quarter!
The Best Hotels in the Old Quarter:
1. Serenity Diamond Hotel (low budget)
This low budget hotel is one of the cheapest in the area, besides the many dorm room options in nearby hostels. The rooms are modern, clean, and spacious and decked out with the necessary amenities such as wi-fi, air conditioning, and clean water. This hotel is located within a convenient 5-minute walk to many attractions and lively areas of the Old Quarter.
2. Eco-Luxury Hotel Hanoi (mid-range)
This hotel offers a luxurious stay in the center of Hanoi at a very appropriate price. The rooms are all air-conditioned and have TVs, private bathrooms, and Wifi. The hotel offers many different services like a bike and car hire and even a concierge service. This hotel is also perfectly located in a bustling area of the Old Quarter.
3. Au Co Art Classic Hotel (luxury pick)
This is one of the most modern luxury hotels in this section of Hanoi. The aesthetics of the hotel are modern and artistic with boutique-style rooms. This hotel offers massage and spa services, rental services, and even tour booking services. The hotel is less than a 15-minute walk away from any notable attraction and even has food on the property.
Things to Do and See:
- Don Xuan Market: This is one of the largest and most popular local markets in Hanoi. You can find an assortment of foods, fabrics, souvenirs, and accessories in this large 2 story marketplace. Visiting marketplaces give you an authentic look at local life in Vietnam.
- Ngoc Son Temple: Also known as the Temple of the Jade Mountain, this beautiful temple is located in the middle of Hoan Kiem lake. This is not only a historic location, once dedicated to Tran Hung Dao- a national hero. This temple is also a cultural attraction to learn more about Vietnamese worship and religion.
- Ta Hien (Beer Street): This is a major tourist attraction in the Old Quarter, but not for any historic or cultural exploration but rather some social exploration. Tourists flock to the beer corner to enjoy cold and cheap beers and to make some friends with other passing travelers.
2. Ba Dinh
Ba Dinh is above and adjacent to the Old Quarter (west of the Hoan Kiem lake) and is on the opposing side to Tay Ho. It is a large suburb bordering the Westlake, with many intricate, connecting alleyways.
If you stay in Ba Dinh you’ll notice that it’s one of the most quiet areas in Hanoi.
There are significantly fewer Westerners in this area, meaning this area is less crowded and accommodation less expensive than the neighboring Old Quarter. This also means you will experience a more authentic Vietnamese city life. This is one of the least expensive areas of the city because the neighborhood usually caters to the local city dwellers.
Ba Dinh is the perfect location for those looking for a more quiet city experience. Tourists looking to explore should also look into staying in Ba Dinh because many tourist attractions are located in this neighborhood, including the old imperial citadel, Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, and even a military museum.
This is the perfect location for the sightseer that is reluctant to pay for transportation. You can spend a whole day exploring here just by walking. This neighborhood is unique for its calmer city bustle. If you are a traveler that values nature and quiet in the city, check our Ba Dinh’s beautiful botanical gardens. They are a beautiful and relaxing space to recharge.
The Best Hotels in Ba Dinh:
1. Hanoi 3B Premier Hotel (low budget)
This low budget hotel room offers fully air-conditioned rooms with free Wifi. There is a daily buffet breakfast and daily housekeeping. This hotel is also within convenient walking distance to many attractions like the Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple, and the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long.
2. Canary Ha Noi Hotel (mid-range)
This hotel offers modern spacious hotel rooms with seating areas, a TV, a private bathroom, Wifi, and airconditioning. The units even come with kitchenettes equipped with a microwave, fridge, and even a stovetop. This hotel also boasts an incredible location with walking distance to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
3. Pan Pacific Hanoi (luxury pick)
This luxury hotel remains on the cheaper side due to location in Ba Dinh. The Pan Pacific offers phenomenal room and incredible amenities. The hotel is equipped with a full spa, swimming pool, and an amazing rooftop view of the Westlake. The hotel is located in the middle of Ba Dinh with close proximity to many local restaurants and shopping opportunities.
Things to Do and See:
- Temple of Literature: This temple building is located in the center of Hanoi, originally dedicated to Confucius. The temple is filled with Vietnamese historical artifacts and various pavilions, gardens, shrines, etc. from many different time periods. Many tourists visit this temple to visit the beautifully groomed gardens and study some Vietnamese history.
- Imperial Citadel of Thang Long: This citadel is another historic attraction in Ba Dinh, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The citadel is a very recognizable location as it is often used as a symbol for Hanoi, and it was once the political center for all of Hanoi.
- Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum: This is one of the most popular attractions in Hanoi because it displays and preserves the body of Ho Chi Minh in a glass case. Ho Chi Minh was one of the most popular and well-known leader in all of Vietnam. This is a must-not-miss attraction when visiting Hanoi for the great historic and cultural value.
3. Westlake / Tay Ho
Tay Ho is located by the Westlake and is further north on Au Co. This area is known to be the ex-pat area due to the large number of foreigners that live in the area and teach English nearby. Tay Ho is always crowded, but with locals of both foreign and local descent, not often with tourists. The area is large but is easily accessible by those traveling on foot.
Tay Ho is the perfect area to stay if you are looking to explore the teaching/ ex-pat scene. A lot of unintending travelers come to Hanoi and fall in love with the ex-pat life. The teaching deals, accommodation, and social life here is a great attraction to many. Tay Ho is also the ideal location to stay if you are looking to make some western friends to show you around.
Part of Tay Ho’s attraction is largely due to the trendy and unique cafes, restaurants, and bars. The places cater largely to foreign locals with many Western dishes, vegan cafes, and plenty of picturesque coffee shops. Tay Ho is also home to a large, authentic Vietnamese flower market. Locals and tourists alike flock to this beautiful market from as early as 4 in the morning to witness the flower deliveries and auctions.
The Best Hotels in Westlake Tay Ho:
1. Hanoi Westlake Phuong An Hotel (low budget)
This hotel is one of the cheapest options in Tay Ho as there are not many options for accommodation in this area. The hotels offer clean and bright modern rooms equipped with anything you might need. The hotel even offers an in-house restaurant, a shared lounge and a terrace, and an ATM.
2. Parosand Hanoi Hotel (mid-range)
This hotel is equipped with multiple different room options, all with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, a kitchenette set, and all the bathroom utilities one might need. The hotel also boasts of their shared lounge area, inhouse restaurant, and a 24-hour front desk.
3. Wild Lotus Hotel (luxury pick)
This luxury hotel has an incredible location overlooking the West Lake. The rooms are filled with Asian decor and hardwoods and are equipped with anything you might need. The hotel offers room service from the in-house restaurant, a 24-hour front desk and concierge, and even currency exchange services.
Things to Do and See:
- Quang An Flower Market: This is one of the main attractions in the Westlake area. This local flower market becomes bustling at the unlikely hours of 4-7 am when large trucks bring many imported flowers. The auctions begin early as the locals get their supplies for the upcoming days. Visiting this market is a beautiful experience even if you don’t intend to buy any flowers.
- Tran Quoc Pagoda: The pagoda is built on a small island in the middle of the Westlake. This temple is actually one of the oldest in all of Vietnam; it was built in the 6th century! This is a beautiful cultural experience in the city of Hanoi and makes for the perfect sunset viewing spot.
- La Studio: One of the most popular local ex-pat hangouts in Tay Ho is a trendy, yet simple vegan cafe. The cafe fills fast with many local teachers and other foreigners looking for their daily breakfast treats and with digital nomads sitting down to begin their days. This is the perfect cafe to visit when staying in Tay Ho.
4. Hai Ba Trung
Hai Ba Trung is located to the South of the Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake. This is an up and coming modern suburb of the city, which is rarely explored by tourists in much depth. The area is very crowded and busy due to the large developments in the area and the popular shopping options.
It is a good choice to stay in this neighborhood if you are looking for a less touristic experience yet still lively and modern experience of Hanoi. This is also the perfect neighborhood for travelers that enjoy shopping! Hai Ba Trung is characterized by its trendy cafes, cute retail shopping stores, and streets lined by large leafy trees. You can find a variety of shops and malls selling cheap premade clothing and a variety of handmade tailor shops where you are able to choose your own fabrics and have an outfit tailor-made to your size!
This location is unique for its shopping options but also its close proximity to attractions like the Women’s Museum. You will find plenty of activities and sightseeing locations here. Several friends have claimed this area is similar to the touristic and trendy shopping side of Bali in Vietnam.
The Best Hotels in Hai Ba Trung:
1. Le Grand Hanoi Hotel (low budget)
Although this hotel has quite a fancy name, it is one of the cheapest and best deals in the area. This hotel offers simple, spacious, and modern accommodation at a fair price. The rooms have free Wifi and a TV. There is a 24-hour desk and shuttle service offered. The hotel is conveniently located near several streets of clothing shops.
2. Blue Hanoi Hotel (mid-range)
This hotel offers spacious and bright rooms with air conditioning, a TV, a fridge and a kettle. The hotel has an in-house restaurant, free wifi, and a bar. There are also other services offered like a concierge service, tour desk, and 24-hour front desk. The hotel serves a breakfast buffet of both Asian and Western influence.
3. The Ann Hanoi Hotel (luxury pick)
This hotel is one of the more luxurious in the area. The Ann Hotel offers an outdoor rooftop pool, a restaurant, and a bar. The amenities don’t stop there, they also offer a fitness center, a 24-hour desk, and a concierge service. The large rooms are air-conditioned with a flat-screen TV, a kitchenette, a private bathroom, and free wifi. The location is also unmatched with easy accessibility to both Hai Ba Trung but also to the Old Quarter.
Things to Do and See:
- Ruby Plaza: This is a famous high rise shopping building offering several different boutique shops, high-end clothing, and even more trendy temporary fast fashion options. You can easily spend the day here, shopping until you drop! Then eating at one of the restaurants in the building, and starting all over again!
- Duc Vien Plaza: Duc Vien is a local produce market in Hai Ba Trung and it is very rarely visited by tourists. This market is perfect to experience an authentic view of the Vietnamese markets. Especially in Hanoi, this market will give you a view of the hustle and bustle of the local Vietnamese people and how hard they work.
- Hung Ky Pagoda: Another recommended pagoda to visit in Hanoi, the Hung Ky Pagoda is a modern Buddhist temple that is active. You can explore the grounds and learn some more about the Buddhist religion and culture.
Hanoi Hotels: Tips and FAQ
What Are the Areas to Avoid in Hanoi?
There are not many significantly “dangerous” areas in Hanoi, especially central Hanoi. But it is smart to take precautions, like refraining from walking alone at night and wearing a money belt. The greatest worry of danger is petty theft in the tourist areas, and this is easy to prevent.
There are several areas in Hanoi to refrain from visiting but simply because there is not much to see. Areas like the French Quarter offer stunning architecture, but not much beyond this. The area is filled with embassy buildings and government offices. Stick to visiting the main areas mentioned in the neighborhood guide above to get the best access and experience of Hanoi.
Where to Stay in Hanoi for the First Time?
First-time visitors to Hanoi should stay in the Old Quarter near Hoan Kiem Lake. Not only is the Old Quarter the center of the city, but it is also a large portion of the soul of Hanoi. The Old Quarter offers easy accessibility to the nearby attractions like Don Xuan Market and Hoan Kiem Lake. Nearly everything in this area can be accessed by foot, but taxis are abundant around.
The Old Quarter is the area best known for its modern tourism. The Old Quarter offers travelers the most options for accommodation. There are plenty of places to choose from with options for every traveler and every budget. The majority of travelers find accommodation here, meaning the area can be quite crowded. Subsequently, this means the streets come alive at night and there are plenty of opportunities to chat and make friends and enjoy the bustle of Hanoi’s nightlife.
1. Serenity Diamond Hotel (low budget)
2. Eco-Luxury Hotel Hanoi (mid-range)
3. Au Co Art Classic Hotel (luxury pick)
Where to Stay in Hanoi on a Budget?
The best area to stay in Hanoi on a budget is the Old Quarter due to its proximity to attractions, meaning you save money on transportation. There is also an abundance of affordable food and accommodation in the area.
This hostel is the ideal location for touristic travelers looking to make some new friends and take advantage of the low price dorm rooms. This hostel is ideally located in the Old Quarter within a short walking distance to places like the Don Xuan Market and Hoan Kiem Lake. The location also offers free breakfast for those looking to save a few thousand dong.
The ideal mix between the lively energies of a hostel and the calm privacy offered through homestays this “homestel” is the perfect option for those looking for a relaxed but budgeted hotel option. The hotel offers private rooms and shared space, along with an in-house restaurant and bar. This hostel is also within convenient walking distance to the Old Quarter and Ba Dinh.
This budget hotel is one of the cheapest options in the Old Quarter, besides the many dorm room options in nearby hostels. The private rooms offer modern decor with clean and spacious areas. The rooms contain amenities such as wi-fi, air conditioning, and clean water. This hotel is located within a convenient 5-minute walk to many attractions and lively areas of the Old Quarter, cutting out unnecessary transportation costs.
Where to Stay As a Solo Traveler in Hanoi?
The best area to stay in Hanoi as a solo traveler is also the Old Quarter. The area is known for being the tourist epicenter of the city and makes for the ideal location to meet new people and to find the ideal accommodation.
This hostel is one of the most popular in the Old Quarter. The hostel has a large terrace with comfortable seating used as a shared space to meet other travelers. There is also the option of hanging out at the inhouse bar, shared kitchen, or attending one of the pre-planned events. The dorm rooms are all air-conditioned with a microwave in the room. The hostel also has an incredibly kind staff running the tour desks and ticket services.
2. Bubba Bed
Located in front of Hanoi Old City Gate, Bubba Bed is a lively hostel near the center of the city. The location of this hostel is nearly unmatched. It is incredibly close to the Don Xuan market, the nightlife attractions, and many other hostels, meaning it is the ideal location to meet other travelers. The hostel offers dorm and private rooms and has a large lounge downstairs where there is music playing and food options.
I can not recommend this hostel enough for solo travelers. The staff are kind and attentive and the company of other travelers is often just the same! There are plenty of opportunities to meet other travelers to adventure with at this hostel. The hostel offers shared spaces and some group activities like organized pub crawls. The location of this hostel is very convenient as well for those looking to experience the social nightlife of Hanoi.
Where to Stay for Couples?
1. Hanoi Chic Boutique Hotel (low budget)
This is one of the most affordable hotels for couples looking for a romantic and private trip to the city. The Hanoi Chic Boutique Hotel is located in the center of the Hoan Kiem district and is within walking distance to many attractions, bars, and restaurants. Each room is comfortable and spacious with multiple layouts to choose from. The room also has a private bathroom, toiletries, Wifi, and TV.
2. Grande Collection Hotel and Spa (mid-range)
This hotel is a perfect location for couples looking for a lively experience in the city but with lots of privacy for quality time with your partner. The Grande Collection is located in the Old Quarter and is within convenient distance to many attractions around the area. The rooms are spacious, well decorated, and offer all the necessary amenities. The hotel is attentive to every guest and offers rental services, tour booking, and spa services.
3. Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi (luxury pick)
This historical location is now home to a luxurious hotel offering spa services, a 24-hour front desk and restaurant service, and even a heated swimming pool! The hotel is located in the Old Quarter near the hustle and bustle of the city center. The rooms are decorated with a blend of Eastern and Western styles with grand and elegant themes. The rooms are equipped with Wifi, a TV, a private bathroom, and amenities like toiletries. The hotel is also home to an in-house restaurant and bar.
Where to Stay in Hanoi with Family and Kids?
The best location to stay with kids is the Old Quarter. The area is lively with tourists and locals alike and is home to the most attractions and activities. There are also plenty of accommodation options that cater to families in this area. The Old Quarter also has the most kid-friendly activities like art events, the weekend market, and some shopping opportunities.
This hotel has excellent rooms catering to different family sizes. If you are looking for a lively experience in the city and a relaxing place to return to, this is the hotel for you. The rooms are spacious and offer various amenities to make your stay comfortable. The hotel offers rental services, tour booking, and spa services. The Grande Collection is located in the Old Quarter and is within walking distance to many attractions around the area.
The Blue Hanoi Hotel is located close to the Old Quarter but resides in Hai Ba Trung. This is the perfect location for families looking for some quieter city streets and less touristic experience in the area. The hotel has various family-oriented rooms to choose from, all of which are equipped with TV, Wifi, air conditioning, and a private bathroom. The hotel even offers an Asian style buffet breakfast in the morning times.
This is one of the more high-end family hotels to choose from in the Old Quarter. The decor is fancy and modern, but still very comfortable and homey. The hotel is located conveniently near the Don Xuan Market and Hoan Kiem Lake. The rooms are large and spacious with different amenities like TV, Wifi, spa services, ticketing services, and even room service. This is the ideal hotel if you are willing to spend a bit more on your accommodation for luxury and comfort while traveling with your kids.
Where to Stay in Hanoi for a Luxury Vacation?
The capital of Vietnam is not short on luxury accommodation options. In fact, you can find at least one luxury hotel in every district throughout the city. If you are interested in exploring the city, while also soaking up some glamour and splendor, it is recommended to find a hotel in one of the main districts.
This hotel is one of the most high-end hotels in the Old Quarter and is a favorite with many returning tourists. The decor throughout is modern and glamorous with sharp contrasting colors. The location is conveniently between Don Xuan and Hoan Kiem Lake. There are a variety of different room layouts but all are insanely spacious and comfortable. This hotel goes above and beyond with their services and amenities. The rooms offer TV, Wifi, private bathrooms, and a small kitchenette. The hotel also has spa services, ticketing services, and room service.
This hotel is located adjacent to the Old Quarter in Ba Dinh but is still within close walking proximity to the many attractions. The building offers stunning views over the Westlake and the Red River. This hotel is home to an outdoor swimming pool, a full spa, and even an in-house restaurant. The rooms are spacious, bright, and modern and are equipped with anything you might need. The hotel has a rooftop bar with a stunning panoramic view of the city, making it the perfect place to make new acquaintances. This hotel is the perfect luxury choice for those looking for some privacy and quiet in the city.
Where to Stay for Hanoi’s Local Vibes?
There are several different neighborhoods to experience a more authentic side of Vietnamese life in Hanoi.
The most convenient neighborhood to visit for local vibes is Hai Ba Trung.
Here you will be able to see the reality of life in Hanoi for the young and trendy Vietnamese through their shopping, trendy cafes and hangouts, and from the markets around the area. This area is also within proximity to Hoan Kiem and various other attractions.
When visiting Hai Ba Trung, you will be able to see the local people at the markets bustling around and collecting their groceries, selling their goods, going to work, etc. This is the perfect neighborhood to admire the local people without looking out of place and attracting unwanted eyes and attention as a foreigner.
Here are the best accommodations for different budgets.
Hanoi is a unique and vast metropolitan paradise; there is something here for everyone to enjoy.
With its beautiful parks and lakes, pagodas, and temples, and Hanoi’s famously busy Old Quarter, this city has a lot to offer in its small but crowded package.
Hanoi is separated into many different districts and within these are thousands of accommodation options. No matter where you decide to stay and explore, you will more than likely find the perfect hotel for your trip.
My personal favorite budget / backpacking hotel in Hanoi is Bubba Bed Hostel. This hostel has an unmatched location in front of the Old City Gate and fosters the perfect environment for travelers. The staff are very friendly and attentive here, and the vibe is perfect for solo travelers looking to make some new friends. You can check all its details and photos here as well as the updated prices.