Hanoi

Vietnam

The Thriving City of the Soaring Dragon

Living in Hanoi,Vietnam, provides you with the chance to experience the unique character of a 2500 year-old city as Vietnam struggles to become a modern nation. The sights, sounds and colors are myriad, exotic and exhilarating — to have a bowl of pho on the street of the city where it was invented, to visit the 1000 year-old Temple of Literature, or to stroll through the cramped and crooked streets of the Old Quarter are experiences that can’t be duplicated.

Hanoi is a city where you will duck and dive to avoid the swarms of motorbikes that race through the broad boulevards and narrow back streets, enjoy haute cuisine delivered by Michelin-stared chefs, spend hours browsing ancient structures and monuments that mark the city’s tremulous past, find peace and serenity in incense-filled temples, shop the most glamorous brands in the world in the glitzy malls and explore amazing art galleries that have emerged as the result of Hanoi’s buzzing art scene all within a single day.

Life in Hanoi can be a double-edged sword. While the city has indeed evolved from a bleak and foreboding war-torn place into a sophisticated metropolis that offers swanky living, high-end restaurants and exciting nightlife venues, the other side of Vietnam’s cultural and political capital is chaos, noise, air pollution, crowds and traffic jams and unfortunately all this comes with the territory of living in Hanoi. However, expatriates who are prepared to forgo some of their western comforts and embrace the small-town ambiance and time-honored beauty that this amazing city has to offer, will find that life in Hanoi will be extremely rewarding.


What’s the draw?

  • A city whose greatest charms lie in its everyday, unexpected curiosities just as much as in the more renowned tourist attractions.
  • Mild seasons that offer great weather without the stifling heat experienced elsewhere in Asia.
  • Ease of access to visas and a low cost of living.

Live there:

Our expatriate guide to living in Hanoi presents the practical information you need to settle comfortably in Hanoi, to enjoy the cultural, artistic and culinary richness the city offers without being dismayed by the terms of day-to-day life. Within our comprehensive expat guide you will find information on housing, supermarkets, restaurants and the different neighborhoods you can call home, from the teeming Old Quarter to the calmer streets of West Lake.

Whether you’re an executive, a diplomat or an entrepreneur moving to Hanoi; whether you're alone or with a family, you’ll find all the information you need to arrange visas, accommodation, transportation, phone and Internet service and bank accounts. Most of all, you will be armed with all the knowledge you need to enjoy the richness and beauty that life in this city can offer.

Flourish in the City of the Soaring Dragon with the Expat Info Desk.

About Hanoi we have

Our guide was written by Scott Ezell and Kaitlin Rees and last published on Wednesday 17th October 2012.

Read this guide »

Five top tips

01Though there are many shopping options in Hanoi, you may find that the style or size you need is unavailable. Large western sizes can be very elusive!
02Learning Vietnamese offers an important window onto Hanoi society and culture & helps at all levels of social interaction and day-to-day convenien
03GET OUT OF TOWN! just a weekend away can work restorative miracles. Don’t wait till you feel run down—plan excursions in advance and keep
04Mail delivery from overseas is not always reliable, so try to think in advance of any books, CDs, or software you may need in Vietnam.
05Set up online banking before you leave, and be sure to notify your bank you’ll be using your ATM card in Vietnam—otherwise they may think

Interesting fact

Hanoi has a population of just over 3 million people. It is currently growing at a rate of 3.5% per year.