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Where to Stay in Hanoi?

The rather aloof first appearances of Hanoi are dispelled in an instant for tourists who head to The Old Quarter, with its rambling lanes overflowing with street hawkers, beret wearing cyclists, overflowing cafes and shophouses selling all manner of goods from dish cloths to hamsters. There are whole streets devoted to selling one item, whether it be black market whiskey or cheap cigarettes although these streets are fast becoming more tourist-focused with mini hotels and restaurants popping up everywhere.

On the other side of the Citadel lies the Ba Dinh district which is home to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum where the great leader lies in state, a slow and respectful line of Vietnamese and international tourists filing past his embalmed body. Close by is Ho Chi Minh’s house on stilts, the Presidential palace and the 11th century One Pillar Pagoda.

Hanoi Accommodation Options

There was once only a handful of hotels where westerners could stay in Hanoi but these days there is a much broader choice for visitors to the city. Thanks to its starring role on the backpacker trail, Hanoi has many cheap hotels and guesthouses, many of them to be found in the Old Quarter. Look out for Especen minihotels in this area which offer very good value. You’re also on the doorstep of Dong Xuan Market and the popular Kim Dong Water Puppetry Theatre.

The Hoan Kiem district has cheap hotels and luxury hideaways in equal measure. You can stay in a dorm for just a few pounds in Trang Tien or splurge at the Sofitel Legend Metropole, the grand dame of Hanoi’s hotels famous for being the location where Graham Green wrote The Quiet American with superb French cuisine and a fabulous colonial feel about it, despite much renovation. There are loads more budget hotels and low cost options in the Ba Dinh District, particularly around Quoc Tu Giam.

Hanoi Hotel Recommendations?

Even if you don’t have the money to stay at posh The Caravelle Hotel, try and make it up to the rooftop car for a drink. It’s where the foreign correspondents during the Vietnam war would congregate to let their hair down and it still has that historic magic. The Hilton Hanoi Opera offers a wonderful mix between western luxury and eastern heritage and is in a good central location while the Rose Hotel is an excellent small hotel in the Old Quarter with incredibly reasonable rates.

Transport in Hanoi

Hanoi airport is 28 miles from Hanoi’s central area and you the most common ways to get to your hotel is by minibus or taxi. Once in the city, taxis are reliable but far more fun are the rickshaws that will ferry you about for far less money. Hanoi is also a cycling city – all the locals use a bike and you can hire one at depots all over the city but most common in the Old Quarter.

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