Hanoi is a bustling city in a vibrant growing country, so when the chance to come here for the Trump – Kim summit came up I decided to spend a month not just visiting, but living here.
Here’s my guide to living in and visiting this fascinating Vietnamese city.
How to get to Hanoi
Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam, so there’s a lot of flights that come here, although far less than tourist meccas like Saigon. Keep in mind that Hanoi airport is pretty far from the center of the city, and pretty much in the middle of nowhere.
There are buses here from every major city in Vietnam, including sleeper buses, as well as connections to Laos. The bus from Nanning in China to Hanoi takes about 7 hours.
Train-wise it is 12 hours to Hue or Danang, or 12-14 hours on the international service to Nanning.
Accommodation in Hanoi
Accommodation is pretty crazy cheap: you can get a dorm bed in the old quarter for a few bucks and a very nice private room for $20.
Long-term rental-wise, an apartment will cost about $20 a night. If living here, rent costs whatever you want it to cost depending on your needs, but a nice apartment will cost $300.
What is there to see?
There’s tons to see, but from our point of view the top tips are Uncle Ho’s mausoleum and the Hanoi Hilton!
If you want to get your backpacker jollies then head to the Old Quarter.
What to eat?
Vietnamese food is great! Top tips would be Vietnamese BBQ and hot pot. There’s also a ton of good French restaurants. Street food is kind here, and you can’t go wrong anywhere, although head to the Old Quarter if you don’t feel too adventurous.
Nightlife of Hanoi
Go back 5 years and the city was a bit of a backwater, but these days it’s kicking in the Old Quarter with cheap beers and cocktails on the streets.
The rest of the city tends to close by midnight, but keep two great things in mind: most places have vodka, and then there’s the daily brewed “Bia Hoi”, which costs about 00.20cents USD.
Is it worth visiting Hanoi?
It isn’t Saigon when it comes to nightlife, but it has a lot of charms and you will have fun visiting.
Expat-wise there seems to be new bars and restaurants popping up almost every week to cater to foreigners. Wages for foreigners here are decent and you won’t meet too many people who don’t enjoy living here.
Getting out of Hanoi
Hanoi is connected to the rest of Vietnam by bus and rail. Local flights are cheap, and there is the international train to Nanning, but don’t rush: spend as much time here as you can.