Hanoi is a charming city located on the banks of the Red River, which used to be a major trade route connecting Vietnam to China. To me, the city’s main attractions are hunting for delicious Northern Vietnamese cuisine, and hanging out at the vibrant late-night beer joints.
If you enjoy architecture, you’ll also like the beautifully preserved French colonial buildings throughout the city, as well as landmarks like the ancient Temple of Literature, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, and Hoa Lo Prison.
That said, to help you on your way, I outline the essential things that you need to know below. And I link out to more in-depth articles on each topic covered.
About Hanoi & Why To Visit
Hanoi became the official capital of Vietnam in 1954 after years of French rule, and has quickly became one of the most vibrant cities in Southeast Asia. Although a lot of the city is dotted with modern skyscrapers, you’ll still find plenty of charm in the streets of the Old Quarter.
Apart from being home to many iconic attractions itself, Hanoi is also a popular base for travelers heading to other destinations like the iconic Ha Long Bay, or the Sapa Mountains.
The main reasons why I personally love Hanoi are the abundance of cheap and delicious street food, unique cultural attractions, as well as the colorful nightlife.
Things To Do
Quick info on things to do
Hanoi has a lot of attractions that can be easily explored on foot, but tours and trips to further destinations are readily available too. I’ve written an article about Hanoi’s top 12 things to do, so you can see which attractions catch your eye.
Apart from going on adventurous tours and visting some of the city's attractions, sampling yummy Hanoian food, and enjoying Hanoi’s colorful nightlife scene are also things not to miss out on.
Where To Stay & Getting There
Quick info on where to stay
The best area to stay in Hanoi is no doubt the Old Quarter, as you’ll be in convenient walking distance or a short cab ride away from most of the city’s main attractions.
To help you choose the best accommodation to fit your budget, I’ve written an in-depth article about the best hotels in the Old Quarter, across a variety of price points.
Quick info on getting there
The airport closest to Hanoi is the Noi Bai airport, from which you can choose from several ground transfer options to get to your hotel.
To help you choose the ideal transfer method that fits your budget and comfort level, I’ve written an in-depth article about how to get from Noi Bai Airport to the Old Quarter.
The Bottom Line
With its cheap and delicious food, colorful nightlife, and cultural attractions, Hanoi is a fascinating city that will give even travelers on a shoestring budget bang for their buck. I hope the linked guides will help you make the most out of your stay 🙂