Introducing the city

£1.00 | 29,145.1 ₫


Gasoline £0.55 | 16,113.3 ₫

One-way ticket £0.24 | 7,000.0 ₫

Beer £0.69 | 20,000.0 ₫

Main Course £1.37 | 40,000.0 ₫

About Hanoi

With its scooter-ridden streets, the Vietnamese capital is the country's second largest city and offers the strongest taste of Vietnamese culture.

Apparently Hanoi means 'the city in the bend of the river' and much like the nearby Red River, navigating this city is far from straight (forward). Plus, with a population of around seven and a half million people, there's no respite in the Vietnamese capital, where an impossibly busy city places you right in the thick of the action.

Yet, once you brave the mazey streets and bustling districts such as the historic Old Quarter, you'll wake up to a city that's thriving with culture revealing touches of French and Chinese occupation. Age-old pagodas and citadels make for excellent sightseeing, food stalls spill out onto the pavement at every turn and shops invite bargain hunters in search of high-quality knock-off goods. This is a city that throws you head first into Vietnam and asks you to instantly embrace the history, culture and attractions. And if that means putting up with the horn-happy scooters that fill the roads (even if they do drive you around the bend), then so be it.

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When Should You Visit?

October is the best time as it is the beginning of the dry season, the air is cleaner and the heat is more bearable.

During summer Hanoi can see temperatures reach around 40 degrees Celcius on some days, whereas in winter the city can get cold with temperatures falling as low as ten. Rainy season is between May and August/September and dry season is considered September/October to April. Spring can see very warm days although rainy days are common and autumn brings slightly warmer temperatures and less rainy days.

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Travioor top tips

Nightlife Laws

Insider Info

  • Arriving in Hanoi can be slightly overwhelming as the roads are absolutely crammed with scooters and motorbikes. If you're trying to cross a road, there are 'no' rules so the best thing you can do is just go or you'll be waiting all day and night. Embrace the carnage but always be aware of traffic and only rent a bike if you are confident; Hanoi is by no means the best place to learn.
  • You'll find an incredible variety of cheap goods and souvenirs available throughout Hanoi in many markets, districts and malls. If you need a new pair of shoes or trainers, there's a whole street lined with shops dedicated to selling decent major brand knock-offs for as little as £10 per pair. If you're staying at Downtown backpackers hostel, they'll point you in the right direction (it's around a 10 minute walk and known as 'trainer street' to tourists).
  • Don't read too much into the law that bars and nightclubs close at midnight. You'll find plenty of people sneaking tourists into their bars after hours on the sly. Although if the authorities pass by they call for quiet, the music goes back up again when they've gone.

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Food and drink

Main Course £1.37 | 40,000.0 ₫

3-Course Meal £17.16 | 500,000.0 ₫

Cappuccino £1.54 | 44,812.5 ₫

Beer £0.69 | 20,000.0 ₫

The Scene

If you're looking to experience authentic Vietnamese cuisine, you're in the right place. As is the case in the majority of Asian cities, portions are small but are filled with flavour and incredibly cheap. Restaurants and street stalls spill out onto the streets with tiny tables and chairs perched beside the road. However, given its capital status, a variety of international options such as Indian, French and Italian restaurants can also be found here, as well as fast food chains like KFC.

Vietnamese cuisine is typically dominated by rice, noodle and soup dishes. Popular staples include Xôi xéo (sticky rice topped with ground, dehulled mung bean and fried onion) which locals enjoy for breakfast and lunch, Bánh cuốn (a steamed crepe made from rice, flour and water stuffed with ground pork, wood-ear and seasoning) and Phở (a noodle soup) which originates from the city itself. Plus, if you love seafood you should definitely try Cha ca La Vong (grilled fish with bún, peanut, green onions, dills and shrimp paste).

You'll find nearly every Vietnamese classic in every district with the Old Quarter one of the best spots to be. After you've eaten, wash it down with the local beer Bia Hơi at Bia Hoi Corner or try rượu nếp cẩm (sticky rice wine).

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Hanoi’s Story

Much of Vietnam's most significant history falls in the last couple of centuries. Hanoi didn't get its current name until as late as 1831, crowned by Emperor Tu Doc, before going on to be the capital of the French Indochina between 1902 - 1953. Following the August Revolution of 1945 it also become the capital of Vietnam.

The well documented American War (or Vietnam War) took its toll on the city between 1955 and 1975, destroying many buildings and killing hundreds. Since this time much of the damage has been repaired, although you will find many locals (particularly the older generation) who show strong animosity towards any American related merchandise or symbols such as American flags on T-shirts.


Chào anh (M)/Chào chị (F) | Hello
Xin cảm ơn | Thank you


The official language of Vietnam is Vietnamese and it is a very difficult language to learn or understand as there are different diacritics for tones and letters. In Hanoi there are more people who will understand English than in most other cities in Vietnam although far less speak it than in other Asian capital cities. In the main tourist spots you will get by fine using English but don't count on having a lengthy conversation in English with the locals. Even trying to use Vietnamese can be diffcult given the various tones one is supposed to use; however, the locals will appreciate the effort. Here are some basic phrases below:

  • Goodbye: Tạm biệt
  • My name is: Tôi tên là
  • I'm from: Tôi đến từ

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Need to know

+84 Dialling Code
113 | 115 Emergency Services

Get The Low-Down

  • There are many ATMs located in Hanoi but many have a maximum withdrawal limit of around 1,000,000 VND (around £35). 
  • The roads are extremely busy so always be aware of traffic.
  • Bikes are the quickest way to get around but don't ride your own if you're inexperienced.
  • Get your visa arranged before you arrive in Vietnam
  • Be wary of wearing American symbolised merchandise (e.g T-shirt with an American flag on), as it can be seen as disrespectful.


Find out about the visa requirements for Vietnam here.

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Travioor Recommends

1. Imperial Citadel

The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a symbolic representation of the city's historical and cultural importance.

2. The Old Quarter

Experience the bustling Old Quarter where narrow streets are packed with scooters and motorbikes, as well as traders selling cheap food and goods.

3. Hoan Kiem Lake

Known as Turtle Lake, Hoan Kiem Lake sits in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city, featuring Ngoc Son Temple on the island at its centre.

4. Hoa Lo Prison

View the jail cells, solitary cells and courtyard where American POWs were held during the Vietnam War at this fascinating prison museum.

5. Temple

Take in the beauty of the Temple of Literature regarded as one of the most significant and peaceful religious buildings in Hanoi.

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