Guides & Tips

Top 3 Prime Stay Areas in Hanoi for Tourists

Mai Anh
3 min. to read

For tourists who have never explored Hanoi before, it can be challenging to determine the most suitable accommodation or the best areas close to major attractions. This post is for you, providing you Top 3 best areas to stay in Hanoi along with guidance to the nearby attractions for a perfect first vacation. Let’s dive in and discover what these 3 areas are!

Table of contents

1. Hoan Kiem (Old Quarter): Exploring the Heart of Hanoi

2. Tay Ho (West Lake): A Peaceful Haven in Hanoi

3. Ba Dinh: Where Hanoi’s History Lives

1. Hoan Kiem (Old Quarter): Exploring the Heart of Hanoi

Introduction

Located: At the heart of Hanoi.

Hoan Kiem is the cultural epicenter and political hub of Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam. This district serves as a melting pot of Hanoi’s cultural attractions. As such, it’s no wonder that tourists visiting Hanoi often choose to stay in the Hoan Kiem district.

You’ll be immersed in a fascinating blend of tradition and modernity, where ancient architectural wonders seamlessly intertwine with contemporary structures. Immerse yourself in the local community’s lifestyle and soak up the vibrant atmosphere of this area.

Key Attractions

Hoan Kiem Lake

A serene oasis in Hanoi is home to Ngoc Son Temple, and Huc Bridge, an iconic landmark

Long Bien Bridge (1898 – 1902)

Spanning the Red River, offers stunning river views

Find additional information about Water Puppet Theater at >>> Water Puppet Theatre: Hanoi’s Artistic Heritage

Discover the Hoa Lo Prison, a significant historical site

Activities and Experiences

Here are some activities and experiences in this area for tourists, allowing you to explore the culture and history as well as immerse yourself in the local community’s lifestyle:

  • Enjoy a stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake.
  • Wander through Hanoi’s Old Quarter, shop for souvenirs, sample street food, and admire the well-preserved colonial architecture.
  • Dive into the bustling atmosphere of Dong Xuan Market, where you can browse through stalls selling everything.
  • Take a guided tour of Hoa Lo Prison, also known as the “Hanoi Hilton,” to learn about its history as a former colonial prison and later a prisoner of war camp during the Vietnam War.
  • Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Vietnam at Vietnam National Museum of History, which showcases exhibits on the country’s diverse ethnic groups.
  • Watch a traditional water puppetry performance at Thang Long Water Puppet Theater, where intricately crafted puppets come to life on stage.

Savor a bowl of authentic Pho at a local eatery in Hanoi’s Old Quarter

Surrounding eateries

These eateries offer an authentic taste of Vietnamese cuisine, providing an immersive culinary experience in Hoan Kiem district:

  • Pho 10 Lý Quốc Sư – Traditional beef and chicken Pho, offering an authentic taste of Vietnam.
  • Bun Cha Hang Manh – Grilled pork with vermicelli noodles, providing a genuine local experience.
  • Xoi Che Ba Thin – Traditional Vietnamese sticky rice and dessert dishes.
  • Bun Thang Cau Go – Unique and flavorful Hanoi-style noodle soup.

Pros and Cons of Accommodation

You should stay at a hotel in Hoan Kiem District if:

  • You want to stay close to Hanoi’s main attractions such as Hoan Kiem Lake, the Old Quarter, and the Opera House, etc.
  • You want to experience luxurious and high-end accommodation.
  • You want to enjoy local cuisine and shopping at nearby stores.

You should not stay at a hotel in Hoan Kiem District if:

  • You want to avoid the hustle and bustle of the city center and prefer a quieter space.
  • You want to save on costs, as prices in Hoan Kiem District are usually higher than in other areas of the city.

2. Tay Ho (West Lake): A Peaceful Haven in Hanoi

Introduction

Located: At the northwest of Hanoi’s center.

Tay Ho offers a peaceful escape with its main feature being the West Lake, which is the largest freshwater lake in the capital. Characterized by lush greenery and upscale residences, it attracts expatriates and locals seeking tranquility or choosing to reside in this area. Visitors can enjoy leisurely walks along the lake, boat rides, and lakeside dining. Notable landmarks include the historic Tran Quoc Pagoda, the bustling Quang Ba Flower Market, etc.

Staying in Tay Ho provides a serene retreat within easy reach of Hanoi’s attractions.

Key Attractions

Truc Bach Lake

Adjacent to West Lake, Truc Bach Lake is renowned for swan paddle

Quang Ba Flower Market

A vibrant hub of colorful blooms and lively activity, open from early morning until late night

Activities and Experiences

Here are some activities and experiences in this area for tourists, allowing you to immerse yourself in nature and have a wonderful experience:

  • Rent a bike or stroll around West Lake: A fantastic destination for relaxation and enjoying the serene scenery of the largest lake in the city.
  • Visit Tran Quoc Pagoda: One of the oldest and most famous pagodas in Hanoi, located by West Lake.
  • Buy fresh flowers at Quang Ba Flower Market: Explore and choose the most beautiful flowers for gifts or decorations at this renowned flower market.

Surrounding eateries

These eateries offer an authentic taste of Vietnamese cuisine, providing an immersive culinary experience in Tay Ho district:

  • Kem Tràng Tiền: Located on Thanh Nien Street – a famous ice cream parlor among locals.
  • Bánh Tôm West Lake: The iconic West Lake dish: “bánh tôm” (deep-fried shrimp cakes) – Located on Thanh Nien Street.
  • Additionally, around the lake, you’ll find numerous pubs and bars catering mainly to foreign visitors, offering an opportunity for exploration and enjoyment.

Pros and Cons of Accommodation

You should stay at a hotel in Tay Ho District if:

  • You want to stay in a quiet setting with a beautiful view.
  • You want to stay close to Hanoi’s center but not too crowded or noisy.

You should not stay at a hotel in Hoan Kiem District if:

  • You want to experience the bustle of the center.
  • You do not desire convenient transportation.

3. Ba Dinh: Where Hanoi’s History Lives

One Pillar Pagoda

Introduction

Located: At the west of Hanoi’s center.

Ba Dinh District is a historic area in Hanoi, Vietnam, known for its significant landmarks and cultural sites. Visitors can explore the Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, and the One Pillar Pagoda. The district also offers tranquil green spaces, such as the beautiful Botanical Garden, perfect for leisurely walks and relaxation amidst nature. With its rich history and serene ambiance, Ba Dinh District provides a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam’s past and present.
Staying in Ba Dinh District offers a tranquil getaway while still being within easy access to the vibrant attractions of Hanoi.

Key Attractions

presidential mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum

The final resting place of President Ho Chi Minh, a significant historical site in Vietnam

Temple of Literature

Vietnam’s first national university and a Confucian temple dedicated to scholars and sages

Quoc Tu Giam Temple

Find additional information about the Temple of Literature at >>> Essential Insights into Hanoi’s Temple of Literature

Activities and Experiences

Ba Dinh District is an exceptionally significant area, encapsulating the historical landmarks of the Vietnamese nation. It is home to numerous historical museums, cultural landmarks, and notably, the National Assembly Building. With its rich tapestry of historical and cultural heritage, Ba Dinh District serves as a focal point for understanding Vietnam’s past and present. So the experiential activities here will be cultural such as:

  • Learn the history of this place by visiting the monuments and museums in Ba Dinh: Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and Presidential Palace; Vietnam Museum of Ethnology and Ho Chi Minh Museum.
  • Stroll around the parks and lakes to see the beauty in the lifestyle of the people here: Botanical Garden
  • Discover the secrets of the temple and temple areas to better understand the spiritual culture of the local people: Temple of Literature; Thang Long Imperial Citadel – One Pillar Pagoda

Surrounding eateries

While Ba Dinh District may not boast iconic signature dishes, it is home to numerous culinary streets and longstanding eateries. Therefore, tourists will have no difficulty finding dining spots around their accommodation; simply stepping onto the streets will lead them to longstanding eateries. Here are some culinary streets around your area:

  • Doi Can Street: Avocado & Yogurt Ice Cream NIK (No. 1, Alley 218, Doi Can Street); Tần Chicken Noodle Soup Ms Biên (No. 3, Alley 285, Doi Can Street); Traditional Rolled Rice Pancakes; etc.
  • Ngoc Ha Market: Pho Tron (Mixed Pho) Ms Lien (16A Ngoc Ha Market); etc.

Traditional Rolled Rice Pancakes

Pros and Cons of Accommodation

You should stay at a hotel in Tay Ho District if:

  • You want a convenient location: Ba Dinh district is centrally located, making it easy to access popular attractions and the city center.

You should not stay at a hotel in Tay Ho District if:

  • You prefer complete tranquility: While Ba Dinh is quieter than the city center, there may still be some noise from traffic and nearby activities.

Are you unsure what to do when you’re in Hanoi? >>> Explore Hanoi Weekend Guided: what to do and where to go

For tours to Hanoi:

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