Where to Stay in Hanoi: Advice from an expat in Hanoi about the best neighborhoods to stay in Hanoi, Vietnam! (Plus 20 Hanoi Hotels by District)
We created this guide in collaboration with a long-term expat in Hanoi, Rebecca McBride. We’re thrilled she agreed to share her passion and knowledge of Hanoi as our local city expert for this Where to Stay in Hanoi Guide, and hope it helps with your Hanoi trip planning!
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The capital of Vietnam is the perfect example of a country in transition, with the juxtaposition of old and new adding to the fascination of this bustling city.
I first set foot upon the streets of Hanoi as an impressionable teenager, guided by a mother who had already fallen hard for a city you either love or hate. Amazed by its rawness, I quickly followed in my mom’s footsteps, getting swept up in a world so very different from my western upbringing. A decade later and Hanoi still holds a special charm over me, as I live, work and miraculously ride my motorbike through the crazy buzz of traffic.
Hanoi is simultaneously fast and slow, easy and difficult, relaxing and exhausting. This is a city where a little research goes a long way, as choosing what to eat, where to go, and how to get there can be a tad confusing if you just aimlessly hit the streets. However, armed with just a basic understanding of local dishes, the lay of the land and a few Vietnamese words, exploration in the city yields some of the most interesting and stimulating street scenes you’re likely to see. Get ready for sensory overload; this is Hanoi.
- Hoan Kiem (The Old Quarter) – The historic soul of the city, it’s obvious why most tourists choose to stay here. Temples, old gates, and traditional shops make for a busy neighborhood that will shock your senses! From luxury hotels to backpacker hostels, there’s something for everyone here. And surely everyone can get beyond the $0.20 in many cafès and bars in the area! Hoan Kiem is the best area to stay in Hanoi if you want a convenient and cultural experience right in the centre!
- Tay Ho – Mostly an expat neighborhood, Tay Ho makes for a soft landing, culture shock wise. Modern shops and a good choice of dining and nightlife spots make this a convenient area for tourists. And for a glimpse into the more traditional side of Hanoi, visit the very colorful Flower Market. Tay Ho is the best area to stay in Hanoi if you’d like a western-feeling enclave in the city, while still being conveniently located for exploring Hanoi!
- Ba Dinh – Home to many of the city’s most visited attractions (Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, the Military Museum and the Old Citadel), this area is well-located close to the Old Quarter, but far less popular as a place to stay. If you want quieter streets and a still central location, Ba Dinh might be a great neighborhood to stay in Hanoi.
Off the Beaten Path Neighborhoods in Hanoi
- Truc Bach – This is a neighborhood where you can finally catch your breath. If you are tired of the hustle and bustle of the city, this is a good place to be based. There aren’t many famous landmarks (except for Tran Quoc pagoda), but the neighborhood is filled with restaurants catering to the large expat community, and it’s a great spot to relax with a book on the lakeside.
- Hai Ba Trung – Busy and modern: this neighborhood can be summarized with these two words. Here you can find the city’s most modern movie theater, lots of clothing shops, and hip cafès. Also, the local fabric market and tailor shops on Pho Hue St. are worth visiting for something more traditional.
Hanoi Travel Tips & Further Info
Photo by Lukasz Saczek via Unsplash
Popular Hanoi Neighborhoods
A trip to Hanoi wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the Old Quarter (Hoan Kiem), which functions as the historic soul of the city. Streets here are some of the oldest in the country, and even with the onslaught of the motorbike, these streets still ooze a trace of the tranquillity of bygone years. Take note of the temples on nearly every street as well as the ancient city gates. There are also reminders of the foreign presence Hanoi has felt over the years. The most obvious feature reminiscent of the French occupation is St Joseph’s, a Roman Catholic cathedral.
In contrast to remnants of the past, time spent on Beer Corner (Ta Hien and Luong Ngoc Quyen intersection) is a great way to experience how the modern tourism industry blooms within the old quarter. Absolute madness in terms of visual stimulation, people flock here to drink cheap beer and chat with anyone and everyone. When the police eventually shuffle people along you can continue your evening inside a bar hidden behind roller doors.
One of the most beautiful lakes in Hanoi is that of Hoan Kiem. Visit the Temple of the Jade Mountain, which is smack bang in the middle of this lake. Keeping with the theme of water, there are two water puppet show theatres on either side of the lake. Spend 40 minutes watching a centuries-old cultural tradition that began right where you are.
There are many places to stay in this area, ranging from cheap backpacker dorms to more upmarket hotels, making it an appealing place to stay for most people who visit Hanoi. The abundance of travel agents in this area is also convenient if you’re planning onward travel. However, the old quarter’s charm can run a little thin as the busy streets can overwhelm. If you’re looking for something more low key, consider staying in one of the quieter suburbs listed below and venturing into the old quarter as you please. If you want to be in the thick of the action, this is your neighborhood!
O’Gallery Premiere Hotel & Spa – This 4-star is one of the most popular hotels in Hanoi, and it’s easy to see why: stunning rooms, a tranquil retreat atmosphere, and top-notch service. Past guests love that staff go above and beyond, from booking tickets to purchasing SIM cards and setting up phones. Quiet, comfortable, well-appointed rooms have tea and coffee makers, modern bathrooms and good showers, and there’s a spa and restaurant on-site. Just a 10-minute walk to Hoan Kiem Lake, Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, and the night market, this is a convenient and beautiful choice!
Clean & Modern 4-Star
Hanoi Emerald Waters Hotel & Spa – A bright, clean, and well-located 4-star hotel with neutral decor and friendly staff that earn great reviews from past guests. Rooms are modern with flat screen TVs, clean and bright bathrooms, and toiletries provided. The hotel has a restaurant, business center, and spa, and is a 5-minute walk to Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, 10 minutes to Beer Corner, and 15 on foot to Hanoi Opera House and the Revolution Museum. The Basic Rooms have an internal window and no view; if this is important to you, book a room that says ‘city view.’
Hanoi La Siesta Trendy Hotel – A 4-star boutique on a quiet street on the edge of the old quarter, this property offers a tranquil retreat within walking distance to all the action! Modern, air-conditioned rooms are well decorated, with large comfortable beds and quality linens. Past guests noted the breakfast has both western and local options, the onsite restaurant has a nice view of the city. and there’s a cocktail bar and spa on-site. St. Joseph’s Cathedral is about an 8-minute walk, and Ngoc Son Temple, Dong Xuan Market and the Old City Gate are all reachable in 15 minutes or less.
Luxury Old Quarter Hotel – A 3-star hotel that has 4-star aspirations, this small and relatively new boutique is just a 10-minute walk from the Old City Gate, Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, and Dong Xuan Market. Air-conditioned rooms are modern and beautiful, with smart TVs, bathrobes and slippers. Past guests seem to love the great bath and showers, and there is also a small gym on-site. The ‘executive suites’ face the front of the hotel, which can be noisy; rooms at the back face a school, and are quieter but with less of a view.
Quiet & Simple 3-Star
Serenity Villa Hotel – A fresh and clean 3-star just a 2-minute walk from St. Joseph’s Cathedral, and less than 10 minutes to Ngoc Son Temple. Located at the end of a quiet street, the hotel is shielded from traffic noise, and air-conditioned rooms are well-appointed with tea and coffee, modern bathrooms, and flat screen TVs with foreign channels. The hotel is off the main road a bit, and some past guests say it was tough to roll their luggage down the street. If staff know you’re there, they will come out and help! Past guests mention friendly staff, comfortable rooms and the great location as pros of this hotel.
Hanoi Meracus Hotel 2 – Hotel 2 is a sister to Meracus Hotel 1, directly across Hoan Kiem Lake. Both are well reviewed 3-star hotels with modern, air-conditioned rooms. At Hotel 2, rooms have hardwood floors, a safe, minibar, and bathrooms with toiletries, hairdryers and tub and shower. The restaurant is breakfast-only, and offers a la carte (rather than buffet) options. Of note, not all rooms have windows, which is not uncommon in Asia. If this is concerning, be sure to add a request when booking. A 5-to-10-minute walk to the lake, the water puppet theatre, the night market, St. Joseph’s Cathedral and more.
Looking for a Luxury Hotel in Hoan Kiem?
While most of the hotels in Hanoi’s Old Quarter fall squarely into the ‘mid-ranged’ price point, there are a few highly-rated 5-star luxury properties to choose from as well. The stunning Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi (9.4/10 on Booking.com) is a top choice to the east of the lake, and gets rave reviews from past guests. Alternatively, check out the Apricot Hotel (9.1/10 on Booking.com) on the southwestern lake shore.
Tay Ho is expat central, with arguably more foreigners roaming the streets than locals. If you’re making the trip to Tay Ho along the dyke road you’ll be treated to a 4 km long mosaic mural which was built to celebrate Hanoi’s 1000 year reign as Vietnam’s capital (1010 -2010). Tay Ho offers some decent cafes and fun night spots. If you’ve been on the road for a while and you’re after a slice of western living then this is the place to stay. That said, you’re never too far from an authentic Vietnamese scene in Hanoi and a quick trip across the busy dyke road will land you at the flower market. Literally truck loads of flowers are delivered here each night from surrounding plantation fields. It’s a sight worth seeing, but the action only really happens between 2 and 7am, so set your alarm!
Intercontinental Hanoi Westlake – A luxurious 5-star with a resort property feel to it, this hotel has a gorgeous setting on the edge of beautiful West Lake. Posh rooms with balconies offer either city, pool, or lake view, along with big bathrooms with modern walk-in showers and bath tubs. Three restaurants and two bars on-site, as well as a fitness center and seasonal outdoor pool. This is more of resort experience as it is away from the tourist hub, perfect for those looking for a peaceful atmosphere. Taxis to the Old Quarter are very cheap and will have you there in under 10 minutes for the equivalent of $3.00-$4.00 US.
Fraser Suites Hanoi – 5-star self-catering apartment-style accommodation with all the amenities of a resort. A large outdoor pool, modern, and fully-equipped 24-hour gym, and an onsite restaurant with a buffet breakfast. It is also attached to a shopping complex with restaurants and a western-style supermarket, so you can easily grab some groceries for the apartment. The suites are modern and equipped with kitchens, laundry machines, and all linens, towels, and toiletries. The hotel also offers a regular complimentary shuttle bus to and from the Old Quarter, but taxis are cheap.
West Lake Home Hotel – A fairly new, modern and affordable 3-star hotel on the lake. Well-appointed air-conditioned rooms with hardwood floors, bathrooms with tub and shower, satellite TVs and coffee and tea making facilities. Onward travel and tours can be booked through the front desk, and the hotel offers a daily buffet breakfast; other restaurant choices are close by. Still a decent walk to Old Quarter sites, but a taxi in will only be about $3.00 US.
Ba Dinh is quite a large suburb, with intricate alleyways splaying off busy roads. Many “must-see” tourist sites are here, including Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum (go early), the Military Museum and the Old Citadel. Armed with a map and some sturdy shoes you can easily make a day out of exploring this area (but please, not in sticky Summer). If you’re too hot to walk or strapped for time, use cyclos or just take a taxi. If you’re craving some down time in some green space then a couple of hours in the Botanical gardens should work wonders.
The hotels dotted throughout Ba Dinh are generally not as popular for western travellers as those in the nearby Old Quarter. However, if you value quieter streets over close proximity to restaurants and travel agents you may consider staying in this area.
5-Star Ultra Luxury
Lotte Hotel – Offering an ultra-lux experience, this 5-Star offers beautiful rooms with views and an observation deck 830ft up! Rooms are posh and comfortable with quality fixtures, minibar, coffee and tea making facilities, and bathrobes. The hotel features both an indoor and outdoor pool (closed on Mondays), a gym, a restaurant and bar. In the building’s attached shopping center, you’ll also find a food hall. This hotel is in the business sector, but a taxi to the Old Quarter will only run you about $3.00-$4.00 US.
3-Star Value Option
Adamas Hotel – A clean 3-star within a 10-15 minute walk to the Old City Gate, the night market and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. The hotel changed its name in 2016 from Demantoid Hotel to Adamas, which is worth noting as pasts guests said taxi drivers can get confused by the change. Along with a new name came some nice upgrades: rooms have personal safes, satellite TV, coffee and tea making facilities, and daily bottled water. The restaurant on site serves a daily buffet breakfast.
Hardwood Floors + Sauna
Momizi Business Hotel – This 3-star hotel provides good quality for the price and rooms that feature all the essentials. The rooms are nicely furnished with hardwood floors, a flat-screen TV, a desk, and a kettle. The hotel also features a sauna and a hot tub, which is a nice touch in the colder months (Hanoi gets chilly!). The hotel offers its guests a private shuttle to the airport (30 minutes away), which is another nice bonus on arrival and departure!
Hanoi's Less Visited Neighborhoods
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.
Truc Bach serves up lakeside coffee shops, swan paddle boats to venture onto Truc Bach lake in, the authentic Chau Long wet market and Hanoi’s best book shop (The Bookworm). You can also grab a soft serve ice cream and enjoy the sunset from my favourite pagoda in Hanoi, Tran Quoc.
Truc Bach has an array of international and vegetarian cuisine scattered throughout the local specialities of frog hotpot and Pho Cuon (a type of noodle roll). Accommodation around these parts tends towayds a nice smattering of midrange hotels and longer term studio apartments.
Tam Hotel – A 3-star hotel with wooden floors, modern furniture and an incredibly helpful staff. Some of the rooms feature a balcony, in addition to a kettle and a flat-screen TV with cable channels. Away from the bustle of the old town but close enough to walk to most sites of interest, the hotel is a 10-minute walk to the Old Quarter Gate and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, and it’s surrounded by plenty of local restaurants and shops. It’s also a a 2-minute walk to West Lake and Truc Bach Lake.
An Nguyen Building – Situated in a quiet location but close to the main attractions, these apartments feature modern furniture and ensure a comfortable stay. The air-conditioned flats include a sitting area, a dining room, and a kitchen with a microwave, a fridge, and a stovetop, so it’s easy to cook all your meals at home. The hotel is a 5-minute walk to West Lake, Tran Quoc Pagoda and Quan Thanh Temple, and a 15-minute walk to the famous Dong Xuan Market.
4-Star By The Lake
Flower Garden Hotel – Right by the lake, this hotel is a small hotel with nice rooms and a well-rated buffet breakfast. The interiors combine bold and colors and modern furnishings along with a traditional Asian-inspired decor. The rooms offer bathrobes, satellite TV, and tea and coffee making facilities. The Crystal Lotus restaurant on the roof-top offers great views over the city. The hotel is a 4-minute walk away from the lake, and a 10-minute walk from both the Chợ Đồng Xuân Market and the Ga Long Bien Train Station.
South of Hoan Kiem, Hai Ba Trung is definitely a suburb worth visiting and one most tourists 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. For a shopping splurge head to Vin Com tower where you’ll also find the city’s most modern cinema. If you prefer not to buy off the rack there’s always the local fabric market and tailor shops on Pho Hue st. The Women’s Museum is in this area as is the recently famous Obama Bun Cha restaurant.
If you prefer to stay in an area that is more developed (albeit still busy) then Hai Ba Trung may be a good option for you.
The Ann Hanoi – An intimate boutique hotel with very nice furnishings. The air-conditioned rooms are large and offer a seating area and a kettle. Guests can relax in the rooftop pool deck area, get work done in the business center, or stay fit in the gym. Past guests say the staff was always very attentive; the breakfast is good but has been mentioned to be a bit overpriced. The Old Quarter is a 10-minute walk away, while the Hanoi Opera House and Hoan Kiem Lake can be reached in 15 minutes on foot.
Midori Boutique Hotel – A small hotel with peaceful and quiet rooms and traditional decor, while still being located close to Hanoi’s main attractions. The rooms are well-appointed and offer air conditioning and LCD TVs with English channels. In the morning, guests can choose between a traditional Vietnamese and western breakfast. Past guests were very pleased by the attentive and helpful staff, and the comfort of the rooms. Hoan Kiem Lake can be reached with a 30-minute walk, and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is 15-minutes away by scooter.
Atlanta Residences – Featuring modern furnishings and lots of light, these residences combine the best of an apartment and hotel, serviced with daily housekeeping. Fully-equipped kitchens, bathrooms with both a shower and a tub, and air-con in every unit. Past guests loved being in a less touristy neighborhood but close to the city attractions. Guests can reach the Hanoi Opera House in a 13-minute walk, while the Old Quarter is 30 minutes away: easy by taxi or moto taxi.
So Where Should You Stay in Hanoi?
Where you stay in Hanoi will largely depend on the amount of time you have, and whether you can sleep soundly with earplugs in!
- The noisy and fast paced Old Quarter is ideal if you want to be in the centre of the action and get a real feel for Hanoi’s busy street life. If you only have a couple of days, the Old Quarter is probably the best area to stay in Hanoi so you don’t feel as if you’re missing out!
- Although there are considerably less accommodation options in Truc Bach, this is a much quieter area that will call for some lake side relaxation. Still centrally located, Truc Bach is only a 5-10 minute taxi ride to sights in Ba Dinh and the Old Quarter. For those who prefer a quieter and laid back vibe, consider staying in Truc Bach.
- Those looking for a more up market experience should check out Hai Ba Trung and for an extended stay in Hanoi you may consider either Tay Ho or Truc Bach. These areas provide more creature comforts than others and longer term studio apartment rentals are common.
How to Get Around Hanoi
Unless you’re traveling up from the south (Vietnam’s shape makes picking a travel route relatively easy) you’ll most likely fly into Noi Bai International airport. If you’re arriving at night think about a hotel pick up, saving you the hassle of navigating city streets in the dark. During the day, public transport into the city is a good option. Safe and cheap, the bright orange number 86 public bus leaves outside from the left hand side of the airport terminal, going roughly every 20 minutes.
Unfortunately there is a lack of dependable public transport in Hanoi other than the 86 and you will most likely find yourself in a taxi at some stage. Taxis are cheap and usually reliable but avoid scams by always making sure the meter is switched on. The price of your journey will depend on length – rates are advertised on the outside of each cab.
Hanoi is a spider web of suburbs that stretches quite far west and east. Areas of interest are all relatively close, fanning out from the city’s historic Old Quarter. Despite footpaths overloaded with everything from chicken families to metal grinding workshops, walking is a great way to see the city. If you’re not feeling up to the challenge of navigating the streets on foot, the quintessentially Vietnamese Cyclo offers you a front row seat to the cinematic street scenes. I would only recommend jumping on a motorbike if you’re competent and confident.
A Note About Our Hotel Recommendations In This Hanoi Neighbourhood Guide
Our hope with this Where to Stay in Hanoi Guide (and our Where to Stay in Taipei, Where to Stay in Shanghai, Where to Stay in Beijing…you get the idea) is to make it easy to find the best area to stay in Hanoi for your particular travel style, goals and budget. Hanoi is a densely populated, busy city, and it’s worth figuring out where you want to base yourself and where you want to explore!
As we hired local expert Rebecca to write this Hanoi guide, we’re a bit limited in terms of hotel knowledge…because, of course, locals don’t live in hotels! Rather than leave you to figure this out all on your own, we’ve researched and chosen some of the highest-rated hotels in each Hanoi neighborhood. The idea with these guides is that we put the research in for you, and choose the places we personally would want to stay, and the places we felt we’d be comfortable recommending to a friend or family member, across different budget ranges. Our aim is to help you have a fantastic vacation to Hanoi, be it a grand Southeast Asia tour or a city stop over, without spending hours on research.
We hope we’ve succeeded…but please don’t blame us if we haven’t – at the end of the day, we expect you’ll check the most recent reviews and specific conditions in the city, using our listings as a starting point and framework, and choosing then selecting the best hotel and area to stay in Hanoi for your own unique trip!
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