Hanoi vs Ho Chi Minh City – Which city is better for the next trip?

Recently updated on November 2nd, 2019 at 10:31 am

The two big cities in Vietnam are more than 1,700 km apart. Located in the South, Ho Chi Minh City becomes a vibrant modern city. The capital Hanoi is more classical, with a less noisy pace and an interesting old town. However, both cities can become overly vibrant, visitors will need to have the secrets to find their way between complex transport systems. If you can’t decide where to go, consider below some differences between Hanoi vs Ho Chi Minh City.

Which city is suitable for cultural visits?

Both cities have impressive museums, temples, pagodas, and architecture from the French colonial period. However, Ho Chi Minh City has more amusement parks than Hanoi so if you like the excitement, come to this city.

Hanoi is suitable for those who have an introverted soul, to explore the art galleries or trends in fine arts, contemporary artworks, historical sites, war museums, etc. here.

Hanoians have a more traditional and polite lifestyle, while Saigon is influenced by international culture, especially the US and France, so it is more open and liberal.


You will easily find delicious and cheap local specialties in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Street food in both places is very unique and wonderful. In Hanoi, the most famous dish is Pho, you can find this delicious traditional food in any corner of the neighborhood at a very reasonable price.

The food of the sidewalk of Ho Chi Minh City is no less but somewhat sweeter. The wonderful aroma emanating from the streets of both of these culinary paradises has always attracted a lot of diners. You’ll have plenty to explore beyond “pho” and “banh mi”.

Coffee culture exists in both cities, but coffee in Ho Chi Minh City is sweeter than and not as strong as in Hanoi.

The two places have international cuisine worth exploring, but Ho Chi Minh City has a variety of quality and rich options, more high-end restaurants than Hanoi.


Ho Chi Minh City has more nightlife activities, although the capital of Vietnam also has many bars open until late. Hanoi’s Old Quarter is also very bustling in the evening, with thousands of locals and tourists walking the streets, sitting on plastic chairs drinking cheap beer, enjoying attractive street food.

If you are looking for a luxurious place to enjoy a romantic evening, or a nightclub where you can have fun until early morning, the Southern city is the most appropriate choice. However, Hanoi is more suitable for tourists who prefer tranquility.


Hanoi is the first choice if you like crafts, silk products, brocade or handicrafts, paintings … they are sold in many shops in the Old Quarter.
In Ho Chi Minh City, you can buy from cheap souvenirs at Ben Thanh market to buy fashion brands, watches … at luxury shops on Dong Khoi Street, with many kinds of goods available.

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Travel destinations near the city

Hanoi is a center connecting beautiful destinations, from Ha Long Bay (Quang Ninh), Trang An (Ninh Binh), to Sa Pa (Lao Cai) … Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO recognized heritage and Voted as one of the 10 greatest natural wonders in the world. While Trang An is called Ha Long on land, Sa Pa is famous for its hiking, walking and outdoor activities among the Northwestern mountains.

If you come to the South, from Ho Chi Minh City you can go to the Mekong Delta to explore the life of the people here. Swimming and participating in tourist activities infamous tourist areas such as Mui Ne, Phu Quoc, Con Dao ….

And the winner is….

Of course, this depends on what you look for. Hanoi is quite more suitable for visitors to experience the traditional culture of Vietnamese people, art and creativity, and a quieter life.

Ho Chi Minh City is the commercial center of the country, with many luxury hotels, high-class restaurants, and vibrant nightlife.

Hopefully, the information above will help you choose between Hanoi vs Ho Chi Minh city for your next trip.

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