Hanoi is a big city with many distinct districts to choose from, each offering something of their own. Some people prefer to be in the energy of the city, while others prefer to move away from the city center for a quieter, more relaxing experience. But don’t worry, whatever your interests, Hanoi always has something uniquely cater to you. Scroll down to explore the 5 most well-loved areas to settle down in Hanoi.
1. Hoan Kiem (the Old-quarter)
This is the most popular area for tourists to stay while in Hanoi, Hoan Kiem district is very central, and you are right in the cities Old Quarter. Here you will find all the touristy sights, famous temples, along with crumbling gorgeous french architecture, bustling markets, street vendors and busy roads.
Although it is the smallest district in Hanoi, Hoan Kiem’s rich historical value and hectic local life really hold up to its reputation. Staying here can help you experience an authentic Hanoi lifestyle with very northern craft shops and signature food houses scattered across the district.
However, not many expats decide to settle down here because it’s more suitable to just be a tourist. It is the most expensive area to live in Hanoi, costing double what you would pay in the other neighborhoods.
Being super central and surrounded by all of the quintessential Hanoi things.
It is very busy, so honking and lots of traffic will be common.
2. Tay Ho
This is considered the most expat-dominant neighborhood in Hanoi. It is a combination of modern infrastructure and thousand-year-old history. With a large number of foreigners staying here, the need for western-like spots started to rise significantly. Restaurants, wine bars, pubs, and boutique shops, altogether make West Lake District the most vibrant area in the capital. Living inside this entertainment and tourism center will never bore you.
Tay Ho is situated right on gorgeous Westlake giving it sweeping views all the way across Hanoi but that does make it a little bit further outside of the city center.
Many western conveniences, less pollution and more bang for your buck!
May feel almost like you aren’t even in Vietnam and it is more isolated – farther away from the center of town.
3. Ba Dinh
Ba Dinh District is where most of Hanoi’s historical monuments can be found, including Temple of Literature, Presidential Palace, One Pillar Pagoda, Hanoi Flag Tower, and Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum. Great for travelers looking to escape the often overcrowded Hoan Kiem Lake area, Ba Dinh District also has mid-range hotels, quaint restaurants, and several neighbourhood bars that overlook the tranquil Hanoi Botanical Gardens.
Again, it is not a desired settling place for many foreigners because of its administrative and touristy nature. Yet, if you’re looking for a quieter neighborhood in the central area, Ba Dinh is a good choice.
Hanoi’s main cultural and historical monuments are set within this area.
Not many bars and pubs in the area. Shopping opportunities are scarce.
4. Truc Bach
Truc Bach, a smaller region of Ba Dinh, is in many regards a suburb itself. It’s a popular place for expats to live but few tourists find their way here. A quiet area, especially on the island of Ngu Xa, this is a nice place to catch your breath.
A quick walk around this area in the morning will transport you back in time, older generations out walking, doing their morning moment exercise, hazy mist lifting off the lake, friends sipping a coffee or groups of old men playing checkers. Life on and around the island is slower than the busy Hoan Kiem and not as westernized as in Tay Ho. Small shops, restaurants and cafes are discreetly tucked away, a full district that embodies the words “hidden gem.”
Accommodation around these parts tends towards a nice smattering of midrange hotels and longer-term studio apartments.
Great location – very local, but full of hip and interesting cafes and bars. Not as much traffic or pollution and lots of trees and you are close to the lake.
The lake sometimes smells bad and the prices may be higher than other districts.
5. Hai Ba Trung
South of Hoan Kiem, Hai Ba Trung is definitely a suburb worth visiting and one most tourist only scratch the surface of. If you’re looking for a place to shop for clothes, this is it. Leafy streets with relaxed vibes harbour cute clothing stores and coffee shops.
The area is predominantly Vietnamese families but recently there has been an uptick in the rental properties and Airbnb’s available. Trendier lofts and studios are popping up, making this up and coming neighborhood an awesome option if you’re looking for a quieter version of Hoan Kiem without venturing too far away.
In Hai Ba Trung District you can get all of the cultures without all of the tourists! It is still in a great location but just slightly removed from the craziness of the Old Quarter, a location that can give you the real taste of Hanoian life.
Similar prices to the Old Quarter but being slightly further away from less western conveniences.
Here are the 5 most well-loved Hanoi Neighborhoods that, I believe, can satisfy even the pickiest travelers. With this comprehensive guide, I hope that you can choose yourself a suitable place to stay. And from that point, be prepared to be surprised with every corner you walk around by the depth of culture, the deliciousness of the food and the never-ending friendliness of the people. Hanoi is all yours to explore!
Find out more tips and guides about Where to stay in Hanoi.
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