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(added listing Hong Ngoc 1 Hotel)
(added listing Hong Ngoc 1 hotel)
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*<sleep name="Hong Ngoc 1 Hotel" alt="[email protected]" address="34 Hang Manh St,Hoan Kiem, Hanoi" directions="100m West of St Joseph's Cathedral. 20 minutes from Noi Bai Airport. " phone="84438285053" url="" checkin="From 13h00" checkout="11h30" price="45 - 125$" lat="" long="">Experience the essence of Vietnam at the Old Quarter of Hanoi. Their luxury Hanoian hotel offers guests a superb choice of luxury accommodation combined with an ideal location in the heart of Hanoi. Their hotel in Hanoi has numerous sizes and elegant kind of rooms with timber and granite flooring, furnished with state-of-the-art equipment. The Hong Ngoc Hotel is the ideal rendez-vous for both leisure & business customer.  
*<sleep name="Hong Ngoc 1 Hotel" alt="[email protected]" address="34 Hang Manh St,Hoan Kiem, Hanoi" directions="100m West of St Joseph's Cathedral. 20 minutes from Noi Bai Airport. " phone="84438285053" url="" checkin="From 13h00" checkout="11h30" price="45 - 125$" lat="" long="">Experience the essence of Vietnam at the Old Quarter of Hanoi. Their luxury Hanoian hotel offers guests a superb choice of luxury accommodation combined with an ideal location in the heart of Hanoi. Their hotel in Hanoi has numerous sizes and elegant kind of rooms with timber and granite flooring, furnished with state-of-the-art equipment. The Hong Ngoc Hotel is the ideal rendez-vous for both leisure & business customer.  
*<sleep name="Hong Ngoc 1 hotel" alt="[email protected]" address="34 Hang Manh st, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi" directions="Second block West of St Joseph's Cathedral, 20 minutes from Noi Bai Airport. Central of Hanoi Old Quarter" phone="84438285053" url="" checkin="13h00" checkout="11h30" price="45$-125$" lat="" long="">Exquisite Hanoian Experience
Experience the essence of Vietnam at the Old Quarter of Hanoi. Their luxury Hanoian hotel offers guests a superb choice of luxury accommodation combined with an ideal location in the heart of Hanoi. Their hotel in Hanoi has numerous sizes and elegant kind of rooms with timber and granite flooring, furnished with state-of-the-art equipment. The Hong Ngoc Hotel is the ideal rendez-vous for both leisure & business customer.

Revision as of 04:37, 4 May 2009

Ho Tay/West Lake, Hanoi

Hanoi (Vietnamese: Hà Nội), the capital of Vietnam, is a fascinating blend of East and West, with Chinese influence from centuries of dominance, and French design from its colonial past. It is largely unspoiled by modern architecture of the 1970s and 80s, and is now going through a modernization that is making it a rising star in Southeast Asia.


Invading forces from every direction agree: Hanoi makes a fine capital. It has held that title for more than a thousand years, through several invasions, occupations, restorations, and name changes. The Chinese conquered the imperial city of of Đại La in 1408 and renamed it Tống Bình. Le Loi repelled the invaders in 1428 and applied the name of Lê Thái Tổ (黎太祖); for his efforts, he received the crown and a slew of legends about his heroic exploits, many centered around the Hoan Kiem Lake in the Old Quarter. The Nguyen Dynasty gave the city its modern name of Ha Noi in 1831, but they had transferred power to Hue by then; it remained there until 1887, when the French made Hanoi the capital of all Indochina. It changed hands again in 1954, when it was ceded to Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh after almost a decade of fighting, and it became the capital of North Vietnam; upon reunification in 1975, it assumed that title for the entire country.

The first western-style universities in Vietnam were founded in Hanoi, and today, it is the leading center of scientific study and research in the country. Hanoi retains much of its older colonial charm, despite the battles that have raged over it; conflict had the side effect of making it largely oblivious to modern architecture, and as a result, few buildings in the city center area are higher than five stories. The Old Quarter is second only to Hoi An for uninterrupted stretches of colonial and pre-colonial architecture, well-preserved on dense warrens of narrow, wonderfully atmospheric streets. It trades the commercial boom and sprawl of Ho Chi Minh City in the South for a more understated charm, worth enjoying for an extra day or two, and with countless transport options and travel agents, it makes a perfect base for exploration of the North.

The Tourist Information Center - tel: (84-4) 926 3366 - on Dinh Tien Hoang, just north of Hoan Kiem Lake, can provide a fairly useful map (bewilderingly, the blow-up of the old town is missing making it useless in that part of town) and other English-language advice, as well as limited free Internet. They aren't completely without bias, however, and seem to support certain companies, for example An Phu Tour (bus company).

Get in

By plane

Departure tax
As of November 2006, international departure taxes should be included in the price of your ticket, but that doesn't necessarily mean they will be - check with the airline to be absolutely sure. If not, the tax (sometimes called "passenger service charge") is payable in US dollars (US$14) or in dong.

Most folks arrive at the Noi Bai International Airport, 35 km (45-60 minutes) north of the city. Several airlines run flights from Noi Bai, including:

  • AirAsia (tel: +603 2171 9222) [17] - Many good offers to Hanoi from Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur.
  • Vietnam Airlines - 25 Tràng Thi (corner of Quang Trung) tel: (84-4)9349660 fax: (84-4)9349620[18] - The primary national carrier.
  • JetStar Airlines (tel: 84-4 9550550) [19] - Discount Vietnamese carrier (formerly Pacific Air).
  • Malaysia Airlines (+60378433000) [20]- Malaysia Airlines flies daily to Hanoi from Kuala Lumpur with daily flights.

  • Cathay Pacific [21] - Upscale airline with flights to Hong Kong.
  • Hong Kong Airlines [22] - New carrier with daily flights to/from Hong Kong.
  • Thai Airways International [23] - Two flights daily to/from Bangkok.
  • Lao Airlines [24] - Small airline with 4 flights a week to/from Luang Prabang in Laos, also from Vientiane and from Phnom Penh.
  • Tiger Airways (tel: 84-4 9454565) [25] - Low-cost airline with daily flights to/from Singapore.
  • Singapore Airlines (tel: 84-4 38268888) [26] - Full-service airline with daily flights to/from Singapore.

From the airport

  • Taxis to downtown Hanoi can be hired at Noi Bai. The driver may try to deliver you to a hotel of his choice so he can collect a commission, but if you are specific about your destination, they usually give in. Taxis from the city centre to Noi Bai Airport charge a fixed rate of about US$14 to US$18 depending on the size of the taxi. However, it is cheaper if you pay in dong, given the prevailing USD/VND exchange rate.
  • Public buses to the city center from Noi Bai airport charge 5000 dong and take about an hour. Bus #07 crosses the Thang Long bridge and goes to the Daewoo Hotel on the western part of Hanoi. Bus #17 crosses the Chuong Duong bridge and goes close to the old quarter.
  • Shuttle-buses to the airport depart from opposite the Vietnam Airlines Office on Quang Trung (see above). Tickets cost US$2 and are sold in the building in front of which the minibuses park. From the airport, the fare is US$2 (the driver will potentially give you trouble if you have additional bags, but if you push, you will get the same US$2 rate.) The shuttle service will often offer to take you direct to your hotel for an extra dollar once they reach the office. This is purely voluntary, but experience says the drivers are fairly trustworthy and for the new arrival is a good way to get direct to the door. Check however, that your hotel isn't less then two minutes' walk!

By train

Trains to Nanning, China depart from Gia Lam station, about 5 km north of Hanoi station. All other trains use the main Hanoi train station (Ga Hang Co, 120 Le Duan, tel: 825 3949), for daily services from cities in the south including Hue and Nha Trang. The Reunification Express goes all the way to Ho Chi Minh City, although there is very little 'express' about it.

There are also train services to the north-west (including Lao Cai, from which you reach Sapa - the onward route to Kunming in China is no longer open). To board trains bound for these destinations, you have to enter the railway station compound through the "backdoor" at Tran Quy Cap station. Just tell your driver which destination your train is heading to. Be mindful of any "helpful" stranger who offers to carry your luggage — he probably has a sum more than the cost of the ticket in mind for the help.

Tickets for all destinations are sold in the main station, though there are two counter halls, north and south, serving the respective destinations. Buy your tickets as early as possible, especially since sleeper-tickets can be sold out several days in advance. If you can't get a ticket anymore, try a travel-agent who still might have stocks. You may also try your luck in the station just before boarding time, agents still holding tickets will be eager to sell as the departure draws near. Nevertheless, travel agencies in Hanoi are known for their bad business practices. Some of them will try to overcharge you up to 300%, so it is better go to the train station by yourself and find out about the prices before you agree on any deal.

By bus

Most of the "open-tour" bus itineraries either begin or end in Hanoi, with Hue the next (or previous) stop (12-14 hours, US$8-9), and from there to Hoi An, Nha Trang, Dalat, Mui Ne, Ho Chi Minh City, and other cities in Vietnam, depending on the bus company.

Many of the same companies also sell tickets to Vientiane and Savannakhet in Laos (US$16-18), but do some research before you buy a ticket - rattle-trap scam buses abound on this route.

See Ho Chi Minh City to Shanghai overland if you're interested in crossing over to China by bus or train.

Get around

Traffic in Hanoi

Taxis are the best way to travel long distances, but the cyclos, or pedicabs, are a cheap way to make shorter trips. Taxi fares are not always consistent, and the rates for each taxi company have not been standardized. For lone travelers, rides on the back of motorbikes (actually low-powered scooters) are popular too (known as xe om, literally meaning motorbike-hug).

Some meter taxi owners in Hanoi will attempt to negotiate a flat fee in advance rather than use the meter. If you have a fair idea of how far you're going or how much you're willing to pay, this is probably a good idea. If the driver refuses, turning around and walking away will almost certainly change his mind. Don't sweat it, it's all part of the expected negotiation protocol. It has also become common for the drivers of some of the less reputable taxi companies to "fix" their meters to run faster hence giving differences in prices for the same distance by a factor of 30! The recommendation is to only use the reputable and reliable taxi companies. These are (as of March 2009) Hanoi Taxi (Tel (04) 853 5353) and Taxi CP (Tel. 04 826 2626). Another common thing with taxis is that the driver takes you for a "sightseeing" - and extends the tour to make more money. This is very hard to discover unless you know the city well, but if you catch your driver doing this (e.g. going around Hoan Kiem Lake twice), demand that he stop the taxi and leave the taxi without paying.

Motorbike drivers can be found on virtually every corner, especially in the Old Quarter. Expect to be offered a ride every half-block (or more). Negotiate a fare in advance, and again, turn around and walk away if you don't like their offer. There are far more drivers than tourists, and they know it - your fare could be the only one they get all day. You might want to write down the negotiated fare to avoid confusion. Even if you do speak Vietnamese, a driver might pretend that you said 50,000 dong instead of 15,000! In case of argument over fares after the ride, keep calm and repeat the original agreement (remember, you have the leverage). A typical 10 minute fare should cost no more than 15,000-20,000 dong. Many drivers will accept US dollars as well.

Negotiate first or avoid using the cyclos services, they demand 200,000VND (US$12) for a short ride of less than 100 metres. At the end of the journey, a few men will come over to translate, and they will pretend to help and later insist that you pay the demanded amount.

Motorcycles can be rented for around US$5-6 a day, and can be arranged by most hotels. This is good for making lots of trips around the city for individuals or duos, but be careful: Hanoi traffic is very difficult place to sharpen motorbike skills. Park on the sidewalk with other bikes, and be sure to lock the front wheel. Locals will help arrange the bikes near their stores.

Scam free, cheap but a bit difficult to comprehend at first, the buses in Hanoi are relatively fast and surprisingly comfortable. Pick up a map with printed bus lines at the Trang Tien street (the book street by the Opera house) and spend a few minutes to identify the over 60 bus lines, find your bus stop, wait for the bus, pay 3000 dong and of you go. If you are unfamiliar with the city, make sure to inform the conductor where you want to get off. Maps also available online at



Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (Open mornings only, 8-11AM; closed on afternoons, Mondays, and Fridays. Apparently closed October-December for maintenance of the body. Admission free.) The city down south may have his name, but only Hanoi has the man himself, entombed in distinctly Lenin-esque fashion - against his wishes, but that's how it goes. No talking, short pants, or other signs of disrespect allowed while viewing; photos are allowed only from outside, in the grand Ba Dinh Square. Purses are allowed into the tomb, but expect them to be searched by several bored soldiers along the way. Left luggage is handled in a complicated scheme: there is an office near the street for large bags, with separate windows for Vietnamese and foreigners, and a further office for cameras, which will be transported to a third office right outside the exit of the mausoleum. Items checked in at the first office, however, will stay there. Note that the mausoleum is closed for a couple months around the end of the year, when the body is taken abroad for maintenance.
Gone bananas at the Ho Chi Minh Museum
  • Ho Chi Minh Museum (19 Ngoc Ha St., Ba Dinh, Hanoi; tel. +84-4 846-3572, fax +84-4 843-9837; Open 8-11:30am, 2-4PM, closed Monday and Friday afternoons. Admission 10,000 dong.) [email protected]. Right around the corner, this gleaming white museum and its gloriously ham-handed iconography are the perfect chaser to the solemnity of the mausoleum. The building, completed in 1990, is intended to evoke a white lotus. Some photos and old letters are on display on the second floor, but the main exhibition space is on the third floor. Guards won't allow photos of the giant bronze Ho Chi Minh statue at the top of the stairs, but tend not to care about photos of the rest of the exhibits, which include cars crashing through walls to represent the chaos of post-war American capitalism, soldiers charging around with electric plugs, a cave hideout re-imagined as the inside of Ho Chi Minh's brain, and several other postmodern confections integrated with the main story of the man's life and his country's struggle. One of the more informative museums in Vietnam, and perhaps one of the oddest in the world. Guides are available in English, French, Chinese and Russian, but don't bother; the displays are labeled in English and French, and it's hard to imagine the guides doing much other than belaboring the point.
  • Ho Chi Minh's Vestige In The Presidential Palace Area (No.1 Bach Thao, Ba Dinh, Hanoi; tel. +84 08044529, fax +84 08043064. Open 7:30-11AM, 2-4PM in the summer, and 8-11AM, 1:30-4PM in the winter. Closed Monday and Friday afternoons. Admission 15,000 dong). The exit from the mausoleum takes you right into the grounds of the, uh, vestige, where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked from 1954 until his death in 1969. The nicely landscaped complex includes two of Ho Chi Minh's houses, kept shiny and "as he left them" by the authorities, as well as a garage with two of Ho's cars and a carp-filled pond. The Presidential Palace is also nearby, but it's not always open to visitors. Pamphlets are available in English, Chinese, French, and Korean. Guided tours are usually available if you wait.
One Pillar Pagoda
  • One-Pillar Pagoda&MDASH; Tucked away between the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Museum. Travelers find the One-Pillar Pagoda either charming and lovely or utterly pointless, depending on how many tour groups are crammed into the small grounds at the time of their visit. Either way, it's free.
  • Fine Arts Museum (Bảo Tàng Mỹ Thuật), 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street. Only party-approved art is shown here and there is no information in English and only little in Vietnamese. But it is an interesting museum at any rate, with pieces such as the wonderful pictures of soldiers on boats depicted on prehistoric bronze drums, Buddhist art, and revolutionary art of the 20th century wars. Also some interesting silk paintings. Entry is 20,000 dong (in 2009).
Temple of Literature
  • Temple of Literature (Văn Miếu) (On Quoc Tu Giam St., south of the Mausoleum. Admission 5,000 dong). The Temple of Literature was founded in 1070 and established as the country's first university six years later. The courtyard features numerous stone tablets, each mounted on the back of a tortoise, with the names of graduates.
  • Army Museum (Bảo Tàng Quân Đội), Dien Bien Phu Street (Admission 20,000 dong and 5,000 dong to take pictures). Vietnam's military history extends back some two millennia, and this museum covers it on four buildings with interestING pieces. Legends on museum exhibits are in Vietnamese, French and English. On display outside are the ubiquitous MiG-21 jet fighter, T-54 tank and many bombs and articles captured on Indochina and Vietnam wars.
  • Air Force Museum (Bảo Tàng Không Quân), Truong Chinh Street (southwest of the city center). There's a decent outdoor collection of Soviet-built MiG fighters, a huge Mi-6 helicopter, and other aircraft; unfortunately they've been exposed to the elements for some time and local kids climb over them.
National Museum of Vietnamese History
  • National Museum of Vietnamese History (Bảo tàng Lịch sử Việt Nam), No. 1, Trang Tien Street (Admission 15,000 dong/Students 8,000 and under 15 just 2,000. 15,000 dong for a camera/30,000 dong for a video). Hours: 8AM-11:30AM and from 1:30PM-4:30PM. This is a collection from Vietnamese history from about 1000 years back until 1945. Many antiques and the such. From 1945 onwards, you can go to the Museum of the Vietnamese Revolution located just a five minute walk away.

It is housed in a colonial French building which was completed in 1932. The building, designed by the architect Ernest Hébrard is considered as a successful blend between the colonial French architecture and traditional Vietnamese architecture, called Indochina architecture. He created double-walls and balconies for a natural ventilation system and protection from sunshine.

  • Museum of the Vietnamese Revolution (Bảo tàng Cách mạng Việt Nam), 25 Tong Dan Street (and 216 Tran Quang Khai Street) Open every day except Monday, from 8AM to 11:45AM and from 1:30PM to 4:15PM Admission 10,000 dong. This museum gives a very informed and detailed account of the Vietnamese struggle against first the French (starting in 1858 -- on the first floor), then against the Americians (on the ground floor - ending on 30 April 1975).
  • Museum of Ethnology, (Bao Tang Dan Toc Hoc Viet Nam) [27]Nguyen Van Huyen St, Cau Giay district. Open every day except Monday, 8:30AM-5:30PM. Admission 25,000 dong for foreigners. It covers mainly the culture and ritual practices of the various ethnic groups in the whole of Vietnam - one of the key attractions of the museum is the open-air exhibition, which has houses of some ethnic groups, which even comes with inhabitants in costumes. The museum features actual explanations of the exhibits in Vietnamese, French and English. Accessible by bus no. 14 that starts from Hoan Kiem Lake - ask the conductor when to stop, and take a 500 m walk towards the museum (backtrack a little from the bus stop, and when you see a large street perpendicular to the street that you dropped off, take that street and walk down the street until you see the Museum of Ethnology to your left). The Museum of Ethnology is houses the excellent Chocolate and Baguettes cafe, which has excellent fare at a reasonable price - an excellent pit-stop after the museum visit.


Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi
  • Hoan Kiem Lake is a pleasant park in the center of town, within easy walking distance from anywhere in the Old Quarter. It's the locals' favorite leisure spot, and a great place to watch people practicing tai chi in the morning or to sit and read in the afternoon. Hoan Kiem means "returned sword", and the name comes from a legend in which King Le Loi was given a magical sword by the gods, which he used to drive out the invading Chinese. Later, while boating on the lake, he encountered a giant turtle, who grabbed the sword and carried it down to its depths, returning it to the gods from whom it had come. (You can see a version of the legend at the Water Puppet Theater - see below.) Rumor has it the giant turtles still inhabit the lake.
    • Ngoc Son Temple (admission 10,000 dong as of march 2009) extends out into the lake, with small but attractive grounds, displays on Vietnamese history and, more memorably, displays on the giant turtles, including a mummified specimen. The world's skinniest kitten lives on this island--please bring it some meat or fish.
  • Ho Tay, or "West Lake", is northwest of the city, and is mostly a residential hub of the well-to-do. Sofitel Plaza Hotel, one of the most luxurious hotels in Hanoi, is located on this lakefront.

Wartime sites

  • Hoa Lo Prison ("The Hanoi Hilton"), 1 Hoa Lo, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi. Open 8:30AM to 11:30AM and 1:30PM to 4:30PM, admission 5,000 dong. This prison was built by the French at the turn of the 20th century, in classical French prison design. This is where the French imprisoned and executed many of the Vietnamese freedom fighters. The prison was also used to hold U.S. prisoners of war. Now a museum (2/3 of the prison was torn down to make way for the Hanoi Towers), the museum exhibits the brutal French colonial regime and the struggle of the Vietnamese people against imperialism in chilling detail.
  • B-52 Lake— Until December 19, 1972, this was just a small brackish pond just off Hoang Hoa Tam Street, about 1km west of the mausoleum. On that day, in a twisted retelling of the Hoan Kiem legend (see above), Vietnamese anti-aircraft guns (possibly with the help of flying turtles) retook the enemy's eight-engined, 100-ton sword and sent it too, to the shallow bottom of the lake, where it remains today.
  • Downed Aircraft Memorial— Along Thanh Nien Street on Truc Bach lake there is a stone plaque commemorating the shooting down of a U.S. Navy (not "USAF" as depicted) aircraft in 1967. Peruse the Vietnamese script and you can pick out the name of John McCain, one of the airmen.


  • Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre (57 Dinh Tien Hoang St., across the street from the shores of the Hoan Kiem Lake; tel. +84-4-824-9494, fax +84.4.824-5117) [28]. A visit to the water puppet theater is a real highlight of a trip to Hanoi. Live musicians accompany folk legends from Vietnamese history, told with wooden men, women and dragons, dancing and splashing on the face of the water. The narratives are sung in Vietnamese, but a list of titles is available in several languages. Tickets are 40,000 and 60,000 dong. There are several performances throughout the day, but it's virtually impossible to buy tickets for the same day, and most performances for the following day will be sold out as well. Camera passes are an extra 15,000 dong, but whether you buy one or not is purely on the honor system. Don't worry about getting wet, but the seats are very small, and visitors with above-average height will have to squirm a bit.


Sit on a plastic chair in front of one of the Bia Hoi (fresh beer) establishments which are invariably situated on the corners of many of Hanoi's 'Old Quarter' streets. This preservative-free light beer is the perfect drink to sip as you watch the city's frenetic life bustle by. The beer costs less than twenty cents and gives you an excuse to relax and take photos of the passing local characters. Should not be missed. Moreover, once you reach the Old Quarter, you will find that almost every corner is filled with stalls selling Pho (Vietnamese noodle) and cafe (the name is not limited only to coffee, but also tea, sweets and grocery items, and yes, even to Pho!).


Hidden Hanoi (137 Nghi Tam Road (aka Duong An Duong Vuong), Tay Ho, Hanoi, e: [email protected]; web: Located on the bund road in the Tay Ho district, Hidden Hanoi runs walking tours and cooking classes. There are many options, but the 1 hour walking tour of the local market, followed by the 3 hour cooking class, was a foody's delight (approximately US$50 per person). Cooking Class menus change daily, and there are other walking tours available. They also run language classes, and there is a dance school in the same building.

Vietnam Culinary School - Located right in the heart of Hanoi Administration Departments, the Vietnam Culinary School welcomes you to a fantastic food center place where you will discover and experience the culinary wonders of truly Vietnam Cuisine. The Culinary Class has fully equipped facilities offering you the chance to put your hand to practicing Vietnamese Cuisine. A typical day will commence with a visit to the morning market. Accompanied by an instructor, you will learn to select and buy Vietnamese ingredients for your personal cooking lesson. The class will be followed by a meal in a delightful restaurant sampling your own cooking as well as traditional Vietnamese dishes. Contact: [email protected] for more details.



Since the mid 90s, Vietnamese cuisine has been catching up again and is now very diverse and most delicious. Most famous remains 'Pho Ga' (chicken noodle soup) or 'Pho Bo'(Beef noodle soup). There are various dishes including chicken, beef, fish and seafood.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of restaurants nowadays in Hanoi catering to everyone's taste. Be careful in your selection of eatery as most often the food on offer is utterly appalling and prepared in the most unhygienic conditions. Often Western travelers need to contend with recurring bouts of diarrhea and should prepare themselves for the eventuality.

On Tô Tich, a small street connecting Hang Quat and Hang Gai, you can help yourself to a refreshing fruit milkshake (sinh tố) at one of the stalls (~7000 dong).

You can also try BBQ pork (slice) in soup with vermicelli and lots of vegetables at DAC KIM (24, Hang Ga, Hoen Kiem, Hanoi; open 8AM-8PM). They serve spring rolls too.

The Sofitel Metropole does an "eat all you can" chocolate buffet each day from 3PM to 5:30PM. The price of $15++, tea is available at $4++ per pot. The chocolate is of a very high quality and includes a chocolate fountain and chocolate ice cream as well as a variety of freshly-made "Belgian" style chocolates.

The community of Le Mat (aka the Snake Village) has numerous restaurants specializing in cobra foodstuffs. Live cobras are stored on the premises much the same way one would find live lobsters at a Western seafood restaurant. If one orders cobra blood wine from the menu, the waiter will take a live cobra, kill it on the spot, drain the blood into a shot glass of rice wine, and top it off with the cobra's still beating heart for you to gulp down! Not for the faint hearted. Le Mat is about ten minutes across the river from downtown.

A local delicacy in the Hanoi area is dog meat (thịt chó), which is especially popular in the winter. There are a number of restaurants along the Red River that specialize in it. Another exotic regional taste is ca cuong, an extract from the belostomatid, or giant water bug. Just a few drops are added to noodles for the unique aroma.


Look to the Old Quarter for atmospheric street stalls and reasonably priced Western and local fare.

  • Hebe cafe' 33, Luong Van Can street, near the Hoan Kiem lake, in the center of Hanoi Old Quarter (inside Hanoi Youth Hotel). Local and Western food at prices to suit travellers. US$1 breakfasts, US$2 pizza, US$8 hot pot.
  • Huy Café & Pizza Inn (32 Dinh Liet Street) offers a large Italian dinner combo (garlic bread, soup/salad, pizza/pasta, drink) for only 65,000 dong.
  • Kem Tràng Tiền (54 Phố Tràng Tiền) is one of the most popular spots for delicious and refreshing ice cream on a hot day. Beware of motorbikes when entering the establishment, since it is sort of a drive-thru/drive-in ice cream shop. Make sure to try the local cóm or đậu xanh flavors. Ice cream bars range from 5,000 to 8,000 dong. Cones are a bit more expensive.
  • Papa Joe's Coffee (112 Cau Go, tel. +84 926-2544; open 8am-11pm) Despite the name, this is actually a real restaurant, with pasta, soup, salads, sandwiches, and pretty good burgers (vegetarian included). Drinks and desserts are also on hand. Entrees are 45-65,000 dong. The best reason to eat here, though, is the view over the frantic traffic square and the shores of the Hoan Kiem Lake below. Great food and it has a frequent visitor program.
  • Pho on the corner of Nha Chung and Chan Cam sells the traditional watery noodle soup. All of the soups and sides include beef (bo) so this isn't for vegetarians. A large bowl of pho will set you back 12,000 dong and a bottle of Coke or a beer a further 3,000 dong.
  • Pho (10 Ly Quoc Su) sells apart from the Pho bo (noodle soup with beef) also noodles with vegetables - and of course beef on top of it. A dish will cost you something between 15,000 dong and 30,0000 dong.
  • Pho Tu Lun (Au Trieu) sells apart from the Pho bo (noodle soup with beef) also noodles with vegetables - and of course beef on top of it. A dish will cost you something between 15,000 dong and 30,0000 dong.
  • Bun Cha (corner Hang Non and Hang Manh, Old Quarter) - some rate this as one of the best examples of Bun Cha in Hanoi, and therefore Vietnam (apparently in the south, Bun Cha is specifically advertised as Hanoi-style). For about 60,000 dong each, you'll get a bowl full of tiny pork-mince rissoles that have been char grilled over an open flame, and a massive plate of pork rice paper rolls that have been fried in oil, twice. With this you also get a phenomenal dipping sauce (a sugar/vinegar combination), a massive plate of greens and herbs, more bun (rice noodle) than you can handle, and a bottle of local beer. It's full of locals and not so many tourists, so you can be assured the experience is authentic.


  • Pepperoni's near the Hang Gai end of Wha Chung is part of a small international chain of pizza restaurants. Locally run, they do regular special offers such as free desserts, eat-all-you-can buffets and loyalty schemes, whereby collecting tokens with east take-out entitles you to a free pizza. Pizzas start from around 65,000 dong and the menu also includes burgers, ice cream and apple crumble.
  • Cha Ca La Vong (14 Cha Ca Street, also 107 Nguyen Truong To Street) - This establishment is so famous, the street is named after it, instead of the other way around. There's only one dish on the menu, fried fish in grease, but they've been serving it now for five generations. Price is 90,000 dong (~$6 USD) per person and the portion is rather small. They also charge 1,000 dong for one napkin. They have eliminated the traditional shrimp paste recently as well.
  • Huyen Houng Restaurant, 20 Bao Khanh, Hanoi, 04.8288430. Choose from a wide variety of seafood dishes (many of which are swimming around in tanks) and other Vietnamese specialities. Friendly staff complement the tasty food. about 80000-120000 dong for a meal and drink.
  • Little Hanoi, 21 Pho Hang Gai, tel +84 4 928 5333. Upscale cafe serving mainly Westerners in a pleasantly lit restaurant.
  • Moka Café (In Nha Tho Street close to the cathedral) has an execellent selection of Western and Vietnamese food served in a coffee shop environment.
  • Tamarind Café (Ma May 80, Old Quarter; tel. +84 4 926-0580) [29]. Has a menu full of inventive vegetarian dishes, lots of fresh juices, and a relaxed, stylish interior. Don't come here if you're hungry though, as the portions aren't very big and it's a tad pricey.
  • La Salsa 'in Nha Tho street near the church in Old Town - just across the street from Moka Cafe) - French food and ex-pat hang-out.
  • Paris Deli (near St Joseph's Catheral) offers delicious Italian fare for hearty appetites.
  • Ciao Cafe at 2 Hang Bai St is a great place for coffee and cake. It's not full of cigarette smoke unlike other cafes in Hanoi. The upper floor is tastefully decorated and really cosy.
  • Kaiser Kaffee Restaurant at 34A Ba Trieu is an interesting little place which has excellent Vietnamese and Western food.


  • La Restaurant & Bar, 25 Ly Quoc Su, Hanoi, 9288933, 0913221971. Situated near St. Joseph's Cathedral in Hanoi's old quarter, this elegant, air-conditioned restaurant has a choice of delicious Western and Vietnamese dishes. While the selection of vegetarian dishes is somewhat restricted, the food is excellent, if pricey by Hanoi standards. La will definitely satisfy longings for quality food after weeks of eating on the street. Think Parisian bistro meets fine dining Asian. About 300,000 dong for a meal and drinks.
  • Green Tangerine, 48 Hang Be, tel 04/825-1286. Excellent French restaurant offering rich and delicious French fare with both an a la carte selection and a set menu. Popular with expats, it is located just a few steps away from busy Hang Be street.
  • Restaurant Bobby Chinn, 1 Ba Trieu St, Hanoi, tel 04/934-8577. An amazing restaurant with the trademark green pea pods as the logo. Without a doubt one of the more hip dining experiences of Hanoi, though a bit steep in price compared to Hanoi standards. The interior alone is worth a look, while the menu is delightfully eclectic.
  • Saigon Restaurant at InterContinental Hanoi Westlake - introduces an innovative dining concept to Hanoi – the freshest blend of Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine. The restaurant features contemporary Asian design, dramatic glass-fronted kitchens and inspiring views of the city’s ever-changing skyline.
  • Sunday Brunch at Sofitel Metropole - If you live to eat and enjoy innovative and unconventional cooking, then treat yourself and your loved ones to the famous Sofitel Metropole Sunday Brunch. It's from noon to 3PM every Sunday and will set you back US$50++/head, but then it also sports approx. 40 meters of buffet with everything your heart can desire, from sushi to carvery, from fresh french oysters to homemade ice cream - you name it - they've got it. Among the highlights are a 3 storey chocolate buffet with a chocolate fountain and the goose liver creme brulee.


Bia Hơi is abundant in the streets of the Old Quarter. At the crossing of Ta Hien and Luong Ngoc Quyen five separate venues fill up with travellers in the evenings, but you can get more local atmosphere on some of the side streets.

Hanoi is a lively city on the weekends, but the Old Quarter closes relatively early (at midnight) on weekdays, so you might want to start your night early.

  • The LOFT Bar & Restaurant [30] LOFT Bar & Restaurant, 143, Ba Trieu Street, Hai Ba Trung District (5 minutes walk from vincom towers), 049744398, [1]. 4PM to 12 midnight. One of the more diverse bars located in Central Hanoi that has a good mix of expatriates & locals. A live band plays from Mondays to Saturdays. The lounge is on the second floor comes equipped with another bar so there's always a place to order drinks from.
  • The Jazz Club by Quyen Van Minh [31] - (31 Luong Van Can - Old Quarter). A good place to drink, eat and listen to jazz music. Founded by Mr Minh (already legendary in Hanoi in the early 90s) in 1999, the bar reminds one of the old bars of New Orleans and of the best around the world. Also the kitchen is very good. Live music really starts at 9PM until 11PM. You can also buy gifts such as t-shirts and CD's. Open between 7PM and midnight.
  • Culi Café, 40 Lương Ngọc Quyến, (84-04)9262241 [email protected] [32]. For the feeling you haven't left your hometown or just need a break from Bia Hoi, this Kiwi-run bar might be the answer. Air-con lounge upstairs, with wireless connections, sports occasionally screened in the bar downstairs. The same bar also runs a travel agency.
  • Green Lake (Ho Guom Xanh) 32 Le Thai To, is a crowded bar with weekly performances by popular local singers. A place for the definitive Vietnamese entertainment scene.
  • Le Maquis is a small bar on the northern end of Ta Hien. It's more like a loud rock music binge and smoke pub than a stylish lounge, but there's usually a happy crowd until late and the place has an authentic feel.
  • Sunset Bar, InterContinental Hanoi Westlake, 1A Nghi Tam, (84-4)62708888. Dramatically positioned on its own island in West Lake and reached in the evenings by a stroll along a torch-lit bridge, Sunset Bar’s tropical Asian ambience and stunning sunset views over the lake afford guests a sanctuary from which to escape the bustle of downtown Hanoi.
  • Student bar, left of the St. Joseph Cathedral's Entrance (West of Hoan Kiem Lake). A nice little bar for cheap and good fruit shakes. As the name suggests, very young audience, that sits each night on ridiculous amounts of little chairs on the sidewalks, taking their fruit shakes.
  • Nola, 89 Ma May str. (located in the heart of the old quarter). open from 7 a.m to 11 p.m. a communal spot with friendly services. three floors are three beautiful views and comfortable place. put your bag anywhere then you can have a rest. email us: [email protected]


Hanoi hotel scams
Although many hotels in Hanoi are helpful and trustworthy, there are still some scam artists around. Touts will try to lure you into a hotel. If you decide to go, be sure to have them pay the transport, and don't hesitate to leave if you do not like the place. Also, do not believe anybody other than the front desk clerk if they tell you that a certain hotel is "full". They'd rather take you to a place that pays them a commission. Any hotel will be keen to have you book a Ha Long Bay trip through them, but wait a day to judge the quality of service you're receiving there - that'll give you some idea of what kind of travel agency they intend to refer you to.

Be aware that unscrupulous hotels will promise deals that are poorly explained until check-out - for example, "daily free water and fruit" that is only free on the first day. In the Old Quarter, Thien Tan Hotel, Old Street Hotel and Ocean Star Hotel indulge in this scam, so avoid them. If you've booked into a rotten hotel and you're planning to leave, don't be shy about taking photos of the minibar right before you leave, lest a few bottles go missing while the staff are "checking" your room. Also, ask explicitly whether tax is included in your room rate. Better hotels will include the tax, but scam-havens like the Old Street Hotel see it as an opportunity to squeeze an extra dollar or two out of you.

You might return late at night to your hotel room to find that all your belongings have been cleared out and you will be accused for not having called during the day. They will then make you believe that there was something wrong with the plumbing in your room, that they were fully booked and you have to change to another hotel which is, of course, much more expensive. There are some hotels that will tell you their room is facing an electricity or water leaking problem and arrange you to stay at a much cheaper, maybe lousy hotel on the 1st day. But they actually do reserve the room for Western foreigners. In the old quarters, Hanoi Plaza hotel indulges in this scam.

With the overwhelming amount of motorbike traffic and the common rule to honk a few times before even considering the brakes, it is wise to check your hotel room's location before taking it. Having a room on the street side means being exposed to the honking which doesn't end till 1 AM and starts again around 5 AM. If you go more upmarket, chances are there will be sound-proof glass, but it is still wise to check first.

  • Hong Ngoc 1 Hotel ([email protected]), 34 Hang Manh St,Hoan Kiem, Hanoi (100m West of St Joseph's Cathedral. 20 minutes from Noi Bai Airport.), 84438285053, [2]. checkin: From 13h00; checkout: 11h30. Experience the essence of Vietnam at the Old Quarter of Hanoi. Their luxury Hanoian hotel offers guests a superb choice of luxury accommodation combined with an ideal location in the heart of Hanoi. Their hotel in Hanoi has numerous sizes and elegant kind of rooms with timber and granite flooring, furnished with state-of-the-art equipment. The Hong Ngoc Hotel is the ideal rendez-vous for both leisure & business customer. 45 - 125$.
  • Hong Ngoc 1 hotel ([email protected]), 34 Hang Manh st, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi (Second block West of St Joseph's Cathedral, 20 minutes from Noi Bai Airport. Central of Hanoi Old Quarter), 84438285053, [3]. checkin: 13h00; checkout: 11h30. Exquisite Hanoian Experience Experience the essence of Vietnam at the Old Quarter of Hanoi. Their luxury Hanoian hotel offers guests a superb choice of luxury accommodation combined with an ideal location in the heart of Hanoi. Their hotel in Hanoi has numerous sizes and elegant kind of rooms with timber and granite flooring, furnished with state-of-the-art equipment. The Hong Ngoc Hotel is the ideal rendez-vous for both leisure & business customer. 45$-125$.


The Old Quarter is littered with guesthouses and hostels catering for budget travelers.

  • Camellia 5, 81 Thuoc Bac Str (about 10 mins walk from Hoan Kiem lake), (84 4) 828 2376 or (84 4) 828 3128 (, fax: (84 4) 828 2404), [4]. checkout: 12 noon. Small hotel on the heart of Old Quarter. Clean rooms and baths with good air-con, satellite TV, free internet and breakfast. Friendly English speaking staff who will help you book good value tours from reception. From 12 US$12.
  • Especen Hotel, 28 Tho Xuong street & 41 Ngo Huyen street, Hoan Kiem dist, Hanoi (Located 30 meters from St. Joseph's Church (Cathedral) on a quiet alley off of Au Trieu street.), (84-4) 38244401 (, fax: (84-4) 38259460), [5]. checkin: 24 hours; checkout: 24 hours. Rooms are new, clean, bright and quiet. Great value hotel. $10 to $23/private room (single room $13, double room $15/night). (21.029094,105.848511)
  • Hanoi Backpackers' Hostel, 48 Ngo Quyen St, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi (One block north of St Joseph's Cathedral. Signposted from there. Free train station pickups), (84-4) 828 5372 (), [6]. checkin: 24 hours; checkout: 24 hours. The only actual youth hostel in Hanoi, run by two Australians who have lived there for many years. Clean air-conditioned rooms (including female-only dorms plus double rooms), powerful and hot showers, frequent BBQs on the balcony, free wi-fi and internet and excellent staff who are always available to help. All dorm beds have a large personal locker (no extra fee), shelf and nightlight. Tour bookings, train tickets and visa extensions/applications can also be dealt with here by guests and non-guests alike. Part of the Hostelling International association, so valid card-holders will get a discount. Also possibly the cheapest hostel in the world where you can apply for such a card which can be used elsewhere. $7.5 per night dorm / $30 per night double inc breakfast.
  • Astoria Hotel 151 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem, Tel :+84 4 938 0455, fax:+84 4 938 0458 [33]. A brand new hotel in the center of the Old Quarter. The Astoria Hotel has 25 rooms with fully modern equipment like a/c, sattelite TV, and free internet. Breakfast is included in the room rental price. From $23.
  • Hanoi Boutique Hotel, 28 Bat Su St, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, (84-4) 39233609 (), [7]. checkin: 24 hours; checkout: 24 hours. Hanoi Boutique Hotel is located in the heart of The Old Quarter, just a few blocks from Hoan Kiem Lake, Water Puppet Theater and alongside a thriving outdoor market. Along Bat Su street (china bowls), you will find cafes, an award-winning spa, pharmacies and various shops and stores carrying clothing, handicrafts, and other amazing finds! The hotel offers a most comfortable and glamorous accommodation in The Old quarter. All rooms are wonderfully decorated and feature fantastic facilities such as hard-wood floors, in-room private computer with wireless internet access, cable flat screen LCD TV, DVD player, tea and coffee making facilities, hair-dryer and private bathrooms with shower cabin. With friendly and knowledgeable staff who go that extra mile to ensure your stay is the best possible, and able to arrange and book the best tours of Halong Bay, Sapa, Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Mui Ne Beach and Ho Chi Minh City. $25 per night double inc breakfast (and free internet).
  • Hanoi Paradise Hotel, 01 Yen Thai St, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, (84-4) 9286139. Recently opened, and offers the rare amenity of a heated indoor swimming pool.
  • Hanoi Royal 2 Hotel 11 Hang Manh, Hoan Kiem, Tel +84 4 928 6479, Fax +84 4 824 6725. [34]. A two star hotel located right at the centre of Hanoi. Prices start at USD $28.
  • Hanoi Youth Hotel, 33 Luong Van Can street, tel: +84 4 8285822 [email protected] [35]. Conveniently located near the Hoan Kiem lake, in the center of Hanoi Old Quarter. The hotel has 17 rooms, including standard, superior and deluxe with rates from US$12-30. Rooms are large and have big beds, and WiFi, but air-con is sometimes poor. However, this seems to have changed recently and now the rooms can become quite cool.
  • Kangaroo Hotel, Hang Luoc St (about 10 mins walk from Hoan Kiem lake), (84-4) 8258044 (). checkout: 12 noon. Small hotel in the Old Quarter. The rooms have comfortable beds, amazing hot water pressure for showers and good air-con/fan combos. Amenities include satellite TV, free internet and free breakfast daily. Very helpful staff with good English. The famous Cha Ca restaurant is less than a 4 minute walk. From 4 US$4.
  • Lucky Eden Hotel, 35 Quan Thanh, tel: +84 4 7341 249 [email protected], is located near the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, and close enough to most popular places in Hanoi. From cheap single rooms to deluxe rooms.
  • Old Quarter Hostel, 91 Hang Ma, +84 902 29 1886,[36]. Just a few minutes by walk to Dong Xuan Market (wholesale market), they offer very clean, spacious and secure rooms, located in the heart of Hanoi's Old Quarter. Staff are incredibly helpful, offering advice and able to book tours for you. Bunk is $6, single or shared rooms at $10 to $15 respectively, including the 10% tax and prices include free internet and free breakfast.
  • Pacific Star Hotel, 32 Cuanam St, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, (84-4) 39364520 (), [8]. checkin: 24 hours; checkout: 24 hours. A great base for business and leisure travellers alike, this hotel is a short walk from Hanoi’s Old Quarter and offers bright and spacious accommodation. Located near Lake Hoan Kiem, the Pacific Star Hotel provides guests with a host of useful facilities. Start the day with a hearty breakfast. While you read a newspaper, the friendly staff can organise a rental car or various day trips for you. Thanks to free wired internet available in each of the guest rooms, you can easily stay in contact with friends and family. Exchange your money at the front desk and explore Hanoi’s many attractions. Upon your return, you can have a drink at the bar or order in room service. $30 per night double inc breakfast.
  • Real Darling Café Guesthouse, 33 Hang Quat, Old Quarter (2 minutes walk from the north side of Hoan Kiem Lake) tel: +84 4 826 9386 fax: +84 4 824 3468 [email protected]. This guesthouse has basic but cheap rooms (US$6+, dorm beds US$3/night, long stayers can get lower rates) with a fan, hot showers and optional air-con; there's a steep climb up to all the rooms but they'll help with your bags for a tip. There is no housekeeping service in the sense that rooms won't be cleaned while you're occupying them. Helpful and friendly staff; "free" internet access on the ground floor (the fine print limits this to 15 minutes per day). The café offers delicious and cheap food; they run a cheap and fair travel agency downstairs that doesn't try to rip you off; bicycles and motorbikes for rent. Keep an eye out for construction on Hang Quat (Fan Street), though.
  • Stars Hotel [37] 26 Bat Su, Old Quarter tel: +84 4 828 1911 or +84 4 828 1912. Outstanding hotel staff, very friendly and helpful. (Ms Vuhn, Mr Guang & Mr Doh) Clean rooms with impressive bathroom. Breakfast available. Just a few mins by walk to Dong Xuan Market and Hoan Kiam Lake. Rates from USD$15 - $28. Free internet available in some rooms and also at dining room at ground level.
  • Thanh An Hotel at 46 Hang Ga Street offers rooms with attached bathroom after some haggling for 80000 dong. Owner speaks fluent French and decent English.
  • Win Hotel, 34 Hang Hanh St, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi" phone="(84-4) 38287371" email="[email protected]". Very well received guest house, close to Hoan Kiem Lake with rates from USD 20 to USD 30, has gotten some positive reviews from travelers.
  • Wing Hotel, 23 Hang Non, Old Quarter, not far from Real Darling. The Wing Hotel has clean rooms, friendly and professional staff and a book exchange. Breakfast is available. Some rooms have balconies overlooking the street. A double can cost as low as 160,000 dong, although the standard price is 192,000.


  • Vietnam Hotel Hanoi Hotel Pacific Star Hotel Hanoi, 32 Cuanam St, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, (84-4) 39364520 (), [9]. checkin: 24 hours; checkout: 24 hours. A great base for business and leisure travellers alike, this hotel is but a short walk from Hanoi’s Old Quarter and offers bright and spacious accommodation. Located near Lake Hoan Kiem, the Pacific Star Hotel provides guests with a host of useful facilities. Start the day with a hearty breakfast. While you read a newspaper, the friendly staff can organise a rental car or various day trips for you. Thanks to free wired internet available in each of the guest rooms, you can easily stay in contact with friends and family. Exchange your money at the front desk and explore Hanoi’s many attractions. Upon your return, you can have a drink at the bar or order in room service. $30 per night double inc breakfast.
  • Hanoi Capital Hotel (Located in the Center Old Quarter), 04 Hang But Street (Very close to the Lake,Night Market, Shopping street.), +84 4 39233407, [10]. checkin: Any time; checkout: 12:00 Noon. Nice and quiet location, with clean facilities and spotless furnishings. All rooms have wooden floors, big windows, IDD telephone, air-conditioning, cable TV, refrigerator, DVD Player, bathroom woth bath and hot shower, hair-dryer, coffee and tea making facilities and ADSL Internet. Serving a daily breakfast buffet which is delicious. From 38 $ to 65$ including buffet breakfast..
  • Hanoi Luxor Hotel, 59 Hang Cot, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam, +84439275115, [11]. Hanoi Luxor Hotel offers 45 tastefully decorated rooms- all equipped with mini bar, LCD, AC, hair dryers and coffee, tea making facility. Luxurious restaurant offering Asian European cuisine which will leave your impressively satisfied. Modern sauna and massage services will you recover your health after a hard workday and busy visit. Rates start at USD 60.00++.
  • Hanoi Pacific Hotel, 30 Cua Nam Str. Hoan Kiem Dist. (5 min. from train station), (84-4)39362587 (), [12]. In the Old Quarter,the Pacific hotel is centrally located to all shopping destinations and key Hanoi attractions. Very friendly staff can help to arrange tours, tickets, etc in good English. Hot water, satellite TV, computers with internet in rooms, and a/c are among the perks in this hotel. US$25-75.
  • Continental Hotel - 24, Hang Vai, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi [38]. Boutique-style hotel which has clean and spacious rooms. Hotel staffs are courteous, friendly and warm. Walking distance to Hoan Kiem Late and with easy access to restaurants and shops. Around US$24 for a single room, US$28 for twin sharing, incl bf and taxes.
  • Ocean Stars 2 Hotel, No.10 Ngo Dao Duy Tu lane, Hoan Kiem, +84 4 8281711 (, fax: +84 4 9263745), [13]. Established in November 2007, Ocean Stars 2 Hotel is situated in the heart of Hanoi's Old Quarter. The 25 rooms offer hot water, private bathrooms, and fan or air conditioning. There is also a fridge, satellite TV, telephone access, internet access in the rooms and the lobby. Note, this hotel is not located on Dao Duy Tu St, instead on Ngo Dao Duy Tu. Look for the alley at 52 Dao Duy Tu St. US$16-30.
  • Hanoi Phoenix Hotel,No.43 Bat Su street, Hoan Kiem district, tel: +84 4 9232683, fax :+84 4 9232111 [39]. Situated in the heart of Hanoi's Old Quarter. The 30 rooms offer hot water, private bathrooms, and fan or air conditioning. There is also a fridge, satellite TV, telephone access, internet access free of charge in the rooms and the lobby. Prices start at US$11, plus breakfast.
  • Hanoi Elegance Hotel, No 85 Ma May Str & No 8 Hang Bac Str., tel: +84 4 9263451, fax:+84 4 9263452 [40]. In a street in the Old Quarter that thanks to a curb doesn't see as much through-traffic and thus is quieter than most. The newly built boutique hotel offers luxury accommodation in elegant settings with modern facilities & amenities served by professional staff. Rooms US$28-70 with TV, fan, air-con, hot shower, bathtub or jacuzzi and optional breakfast. In-room computer with internet access is free of charge. The friendly staff can help with arranging tours etc.
  • Queen Travel Hotel, 65 Hang Bac-Hoan Kiem, + 84 48260860 (, fax: + 84 4 8260300), [14]. "The stylish Queen of the Old Quarter" touts its friendliness and reliability.
  • Rising Dragon Hotel 61 Hang Be Street [41]. Vietnamese and American managed, next to Hoan Kiem Lake, it has new facilities in a renovated historic building of the Old Quarter. Prices start at US$25 (all taxes included, plus breakfast, internet, and wifi).
  • Sunshine Hotel, 42 Ma May Street [42]. Clean rooms and friendly staff in the middle of the Old Quarter (around US$30 incl. taxes & breakfast).
  • Viet Anh Hotel, 11 Ma May St., Tel: +84-4 9261302, Fax: +84-4 9261306, [43]. A terrific hotel with friendly staff, reputable tours, and newly remodeled rooms, located on a shady, beautiful street in the Old Quarter. Internet and a good buffet breakfast (with chef on hand) are included in the room rate. Room rates can be negotiable depending on the season, with some as low as US$15, but official prices range from US$18 for a standard room to US$60 for a family suite.
  • Hanoi Heritage Hotel, 84438344727, [15]. Hanoi Heritage Hotel is located in the center of Hanoi within walking distance to the Giang Vo International Exhibition Center. Hanoi Heritage Hotel is recognised as an international 3-star hotel with 68 rooms and suite. 625 La Thanh road, Ba Dinh, Hanoi. Rates start at USD 55.00.


  • Daewoo Hanoi Hotel 360 Kim Ma St, Ba Dinh District [44] US$170+. The Daewoo Hotel was the first "5 star" hotel in Hanoi and has since been renovated. This hotel is located about 15-20 minutes by taxi from the center of town, which makes it a quieter if less convenient place for tourists to stay. The hotel is part of a larger apartment and business complex that includes 7 restaurants and cafes, 2 banks, and even a dance club. There is a large pool, exercise room, business center with translation services, and free broadband internet access in the rooms.
  • Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi, 83A Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem District (in walking distance to Hoan Kiem Lake and Old Quarter), +84 4 3822 2800 (, fax: +84 4 3822 2776), [16]. checkin: 14:00 hrs; checkout: 12:00 hrs. Conveniently located in the heart of Hanoi's business district, a 40-minute drive from Noi Bai International Airport and only 5 minutes from the city centre, Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi is specially tailored to meet the needs of discerning corporate travellers. There are 154 well-appointed rooms and suites, 93 of which are non-smoking rooms, and 20 connecting rooms. All rooms are equipped with LCD flat screen TVs and a wide selection of international cable TV channels. Mini-bar, IDD telephone, personal safe, tea and coffee making amenities are also available. Broadband cable and WiFi Internet is accessible in all guest rooms and throughout the public areas of the hotel. Prices from US$140. (21°1'29.29N,105°50'38.52E)
  • InterContinental Hanoi Westlake - 1A Nghi Tam, Tay Ho District, (84-4)62708888 [45]. The newest 5 star hotel in Hanoi, superbly situated on the serene waters of Westlake and adjacent to the famous 800-year-old Golden Lotus Pagoda. Featuring 359 stylish guest rooms and suites with private balcony, the hotel has won Vietnam's "Best City Hotel -Hanoi/Hochiminh City" in TTG's Travel Awards 2008 and listed in Conde Nast Traveler's Hot List 2008.
  • Melia Hanoi Hotel - Ly Thuong Kiet street [46]. USD139++ onwards. Rooms are big and offer great views of the city, service is also excellent. Rates include an excellent international buffet breakfast. Located within very short walking distance from Hanoi Towers and Hoa Lu prison, and is about 15 mins slow walk from the Old Quarters.
  • Sheraton Hanoi Hotel, K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu Rd, Tay Ho District. On the shore of Hanoi's largest West lake, this hotel greets guests with lush gardens, sweeping lawns and tranquil courtyards. Rooms are furnished with traditional decor and Asian accents, with modern amenities.
  • Sofitel Metropole Hanoi Hotel, 15 Ngo Quyen St, Hanoi 10000. Within walking distance of the Hanoi Opera House, this French Colonial style hotel is patroned by mostly older European travelers who enjoy the luxuries this hotel offers. The cuisine served by the restaurants is tasty and fresh.
  • Sofitel Plaza Hotel (formerly Meritus West Lake), 1 Thanh Nien Road, Ba Dinh District. Renowned as the most scenic hotel in Hanoi with a zig zag facade and stepped architecture. Hotel is spotless and well maintained with very friendly staff.
  • Sunway Hotel, 19 Pham Dinh Ho Street, Hai Ba Trung District. While it's a four star hotel, the 143 rooms in this hotel appear quite dated and lifeless. The food in the restaurant is reasonably good and they serve a breakfast buffet daily.



  • Hanoi code: 4

- Note the recently added '3' in front of all local numbers. Example:

  • Old dialling style: 1234567 (from within the city) or 04-1234567 (inter-provincial) or 0084-4-123456 (from overseas)
  • New dialling style: 3-1234567 (from within the city) or 04-3-1234567 (inter-provincial) or 0084-4-3-123456 (from overseas)


There are plenty of internet cafés all over the city. Most are used by Vietnamese teens playing online dance or battle games. Rates vary, but can be as low as 3000 dong/hour. Some of the better cafés, particularly in the Old Quarter, have computers that are Skype-capable for international phone calls. Close to Hanoi Youth Hostel there is a cybercafe that charge tourist ten times the actual cost. It is next door, and has no name. If you are in a hurry use another one.

Monks crossing the street

Stay safe

Like everywhere else in Vietnam, traffic in Hanoi is dominated by an incredible amount of motorbikes, all of which seem to be making a mad, desperate dash for something just out of reach — all of the time. In other words, pedestrian traffic can be overwhelming for visitors, especially in the narrow streets around the Old Quarter. When you leave the curb, look both ways, and take each step slowly and patiently while trying to make eye contact with any oncoming drivers. The key word here is slowly — don't rush. This way the drivers are aware of you, and can take you into account (along with all of the other motorbikes). It may look, and indeed is somewhat chaotic, but be patient and pay attention when you're crossing any street, large or small, and you should be fine.


Embassies & consulates

  • British Embassy, Central Building, 31 Hai Ba Trung, ++ (84) (4) 9360550 (, fax: ++ (84) (4) 9360562). 08:30-12:30 & 13:30-16:30.
  • Embassy of India 58-60, Tran Hung Dao Hanoi Tel. 00-84-4-253409 252310

Embassies in Hanoi with websites

  • Czech Republic: [51]

Others without website

Check the link: [62].

Get out

If you are the adventurous type or simply bored temporarily of the city atmosphere, then consider a cruise in the northern countryside. A round trip will bring you to a lot of charming villages and through hills and valleys with stunning nature. Main roads are generally in good condition and you can easily do a couple of hundred kilometers a day. The villages and provinces are generally safe at night, and you get to see a lot of Vietnamese culture such as various tribe folks. While bus services are in fact available (albeit not always reliable), a recommended alternative is to rent a bike or car and make the trip on your own. Motorbikes in decent quality can be rented for as little as US$5 a day, and many places have suggestions for routes.

  • The Halong Bay tour— Staying overnight in a boat on the breath-taking Ha Long Bay (or in a hotel on Cat Ba Island) is the most popular side-trip from Hanoi.
  • The Perfume Pagoda is an ancient Buddhist pilgrimage site about 60 km southwest of Hanoi. A full-day excursion involves a boat trip, hiking up a mountain, and visiting various temples and grottoes.
  • Bat Trang is a village world-famous for its pottery, 9 km southeast of Hanoi. It is accessible by taking Bus 47, which originates at Long Bien. Just hop on (the bus will be clearly labelled with the number 47 and the text "Long Bien - Bat Trang"; bus fare is 3000 dong one-way as of 2008) and take it to the last stop, which is directly opposite the pottery market (haggle for lower prices, and insist on paying in Dong). Head back up the street to the factories to see artists at work.
  • Cao Bang, featuring the beautiful Ban Gioc waterfall, is five hours away by bus, near the Chinese border.
  • Staying overnight in a boat on the breath-taking Ha Long Bay (or in a hotel on Cat Ba Island) is the most popular side-trip from Hanoi.
  • The northern village of Sapa, is home to ethnic minorities, gorgeous mountain scenery, and trekking paths connecting many tiny mountain villages, is also a popular two or three day trip. It is accessible by train (to Lao Cai) followed by a minibus link to the town. The trekking paths have no signs, so a hiring a guide is well-advised.
  • Tam Coc/Hoa Lu: Located in Ninh Binh province, this day trip is a combines heritage tourism and natural landscape tourism. Hoa Lu is the site of the first capital of Vietnam in the 10th century, and was home to two kings-- Dinh Bo Linh (Dinh Tien Hoang) and Le Hoan-- there are now two shrines dedicated to these two kings. About 30 mins away from Hoa Lu is Tam Coc [three grottoes]-- also known as Halong Bay on land. It features karst landforms surrounded by padi fields, and is accessed by little wooden boats. Boats are for hire at 3.5 USD/trip, which takes about one hour. This is an excellent alternative to Halong Bay for those who have short attention spans, as the boat trip takes a mere hour vis-a-vis Halong Bay boat trips, which take 5 hours - 2 days. One minor annoyance involves peddlars on boats hawking their wares, and your boat rower trying to sell you embroidery. Trip can be booked in Hanoi backpacker cafes at about 20USD.

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