If you’re planning a vacation to Vietnam, are you torn between seeing Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City?
To help you decide which city has the greater travel potential, I’ve compared the two in terms of food, safety, tourist attractions, and general atmosphere. Which one is best suited to your needs? Traveling in Vietnam isn’t the most straightforward experience, but it’s also one of the most gratifying and fascinating. I got the opportunity to see both of Vietnam’s major cities during my month-long vacation.
In some ways, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) are extremely similar.
In addition to the savoury street food selections, quaint traditional shops, and of course the constant frenetic stream of scooters crossing the streets, this city is a veritable feast for the senses.
Even so, they’re visually and tactilely distinct. In terms of being a travel destination, how do they actually compare? Let’s get right down to business! Food hanoi ho chi minh city and saigon’s cuisine The national food of Vietnam is pho.
The entire country of Vietnam is a treasure trove of cheap, mouthwatering eats. Mint, dill, lemongrass, and turmeric are just a few of the wonderful flavours to look forward to. There is no doubt in my mind that Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are excellent destinations to visit for foodies.
In Hanoi, pho, the Vietnamese national dish, is king. In almost every restaurant and street food stall, you’ll find this substantial noodle soup with meat and fresh vegetables on the menu. If you’re looking for a filling lunch that costs less than a dollar, this is it.
Banh mi (stuffed baguettes), bun cha (grilled pork and noodles), and gi cun (grilled shrimp) are all popular Vietnamese specialties (fresh translucid spring rolls).
There is a bit more diversity and modernity in HCMC. In addition to a robust street food scene, the city has a thriving café culture thanks to its French roots and a wide array of international restaurants.
The variety of cuisines available in the former Saigon makes it the foodie’s paradise in Vietnam.
In this case, Hanoi loses to Ho Chi Minh City. 0-1. Weather HCM City vs. Hanoi at hanoi, the saigo red bridge We didn’t see a ray of sunshine the entire time we were in Hanoi. However, there were a few bright hues to be seen.
Even though they are both in Vietnam, the climates of Saigon and Hanoi are vastly different. As a result of the country’s vast size, the climate varies considerably from one part of the country to the next. A city on the northern bank of the Red River, Hanoi may be found in the far north of Vietnam.
Summers will be hot and wet, and winters will be chilly and dry. During the northern hemisphere winter, Hanoi may be rather cold, thus the best time to visit is from September to November and from March to May. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s southernmost city, is located a whopping 1130 kilometres (!) from Hanoi. There are just two distinct seasons in a tropical climate (wet and dry).
The dry season, which lasts from December to April, is by far the finest time to visit and the warmer the weather, the better. Once again, the city of Ho Chi Minh triumphs. 0-2.
Safety In Hanoi vs Ho Chi Minh City
Safety Honest to God, Vietnam does not claim the title of safest or most free of scams nation. As a foreigner, it is inevitable that you will be taken advantage of by others.
The more you resemble a tourist, the more likely it is that you will be targeted. Be wary of pickpockets and overcharges in tour agencies, hotels, and stores in Vietnam, which are not hostile or violent. Carry your belongings as if someone could try to steal them. A little tiring at first but necessary to ensure the safety of your data.
In both Hanoi and Saigon, scams are not uncommon. Tours to Sapa and Halong Bay were heavily marketed in Hanoi, which resulted in a lot of pressure for people to book them, from my accommodation to the stores and street sellers in the area. Anybody who offers to pose with you for pictures will eventually try to get you to pay for their services, too. Ho Chi Minh City, on the other hand, was a lot more intense for me.
They tried to clone my credit card at a restaurant, and I’m quite confident of it (they removed the safety strip I had put in the 3-code digit on the back). Bag snatching has also progressed to a new level, with individuals perched on bikes robbing pedestrians as they cross the street.
With 6 million motorcycles in the city, that’s an issue but in the grand scheme of things, I felt more secure in Hanoi than I did in any other city I’ve visited.
Costs Between Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh
There are many options for where to spend your dong! As a rule, travelling to Vietnam is fairly affordable. Even while costs in major cities tend to be more exorbitant, a typical local eatery nevertheless has significantly lower prices than anywhere in the Western world.
Saigon has a more developed appearance, as well as more infrastructure options and a wider range of services. Everything from sidewalk cafes to five-star restaurants can be found here, especially in the culinary department. Ho Chi Minh City is where I’ve enjoyed the cheapest and most costly lunches in Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh City, in my opinion, offers the finest value for money when it comes to budget tourism, simply because it has more to offer.
In Hanoi you can get by on less than $40 a day including hotel. Don’t get me wrong.
When it comes to travel costs, Ho Chi Minh City has a little advantage over Numbeo’s rankings. 1-3.
Accommodation In Hanoi vs Ho Chi Minh City
Both cities provide a wide range of superb hotels at reasonable prices. Booking.com has never offered me so many options with 9+ ratings as it does in Vietnam!! A place to stay in Hanoi It’s common for hotels in Hanoi to have innovative concepts and highly individualised service.
There are many colonial-style buildings in the Old Quarter that offer a variety of lodging options. To help you get started, I’ve compiled a list of the top places to stay in Hanoi and all of these accommodations are in the city’s historic core (the “Old Quarter”) and offer free WiFi and have received a TripAdvisor score of 9 or above!
For simplicity’s sake, here’s what I recommend in the Hanoi area Premier Hotel & Spa at O’Gallery
Located in the centre of Hanoi, this is a luxurious hotel. A welcome respite from the bustle of the city streets. The price of the hotel includes a sumptuous breakfast. This is a fantastic bargain! In contrast, accommodations in Saigon’s Hi Chi Minh City provide a wider range of choices, ranging from backpacker-friendly hostels on Pham Ngu Lao Street to upscale hotels in District 1.
Ho Chi Minh City’s best hotels Use this list of Ho Chi Minh City hotels and guesthouses as a starting point. There is free WiFi and a 9 or above rating for all of these in the centre of the city (District 1)! Alternatively, you can follow my lead and do the following: one of the best hotels in the region of ho chi minh city Shack of Nguyen
Shack-themed charmer with an original approach. It’s in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 but far enough away from the bustle to be peaceful. Now is the time to make your reservation and for the sake of fairness, I’ll give a point to both. 2-4.
It’s an understatement to say I fell in love with Hanoi’s atmosphere. It’s hard to believe that in the midst of a bustling city like Hanoi, there are pockets of genuineness and history. For good reason, Hanoi is regarded as the country’s cultural hub.
Listed below are the city’s top sights:
It’s a wonderful maze of alleyways to get lost in and enjoy great food, haggle in the hundreds of artisan stores for whatever you could possibly want in the Old Quarter. Each street is distinct and evokes a bygone era when each was dedicated to marketing a specific product.
An intellectual refuge from the bustle of the city, the magnificent Temple of Literature and its surroundings house Vietnam’s first national university.
At Hoan Kiem Lake, the city’s main point. Tai-chi courses can be found on the outskirts of the city.
War And Colonial Buildings In Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon
It’s significantly more difficult to get around in Ho Chi Minh City than Hanoi and to see the most popular destination, the Cu Chi Tunnels, you’ll need to rent a car or arrange a guided tour because it is so far away. Then again, there are still tasks to be accomplished. Here are the three most popular things to do in Saigon:
Go to the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theater to see an authentic Vietnamese puppet show that takes place in the water. It’s bizarre, but amusing all the same.
Yes, Saigon has its own Notre-Dame Cathedral thanks to the French presence in the city! A stunning example of colonial architecture that really stands out against the background of the city. The War Remnants Museum is located in Hanoi, where much of the fighting occurred during the Vietnam War, hence there are many poignant artefacts to be found. It’s shocking, impactful, and downright gory.
In the end, Hanoi comes out on top since it offers so much more to visitors. 3-4. Day tours from Saigon: Ho Chi Minh City to the Mekong Delta on a day trip The Mekong Delta by boat. The Cu Chi tunnels are an excellent day trip from HCMC. The Viet Cong army made use of this amazing but claustrophobic piece of engineering during the Vietnam War. A travel agency is the ideal place to schedule a tour.
If you’re planning a trip to the south, the Mekong Delta is a must-see. It is possible to take a private long-tail boat tour of the river and get a glimpse of the unique aquatic lifestyle of the local people. Trips to nearby attractions during your spare time in Hanoi the top recommendations for a halong bay kayaking tour guide At Halong Bay, I was in ecstasy.
You can get to one of the seven modern wonders of the world from Hanoi. The limestone cliffs of Halong Bay rise majestically from the still waters of the bay. Although it is technically possible to visit on a day excursion, most visitors prefer the slower pace of a 1, 2, or 3-day cruise. I’ve developed a guide on how to choose the best cruise in Halong because there are so many possibilities.
Halong Bay on land” is a popular day excursion from Hanoi, and Ninh Binh is a popular stop on the itinerary. Rice fields, pagodas, and limestone cliffs form an idyllic panorama unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
My very favourite portion of Vietnam and I strongly recommend spending at least two or three days here. ‘ Both cities offer fantastic day trips, but Hanoi has the advantage. four-fourths of a Vietnamese guide to Halong Bay Your first visit to Vietnam?
Don’t leave anything to chance on your vacation to Vietnam by skipping over my top tips and tricks.
What You Should Know About Vietnam Before You Go
In terms of personality & social interaction, Northern Vietnamese are known for being a little more brusque and formal than their southern counterparts. They’re not rude, mind you. It’s just that people in Hanoi are still influenced by traditional beliefs, and this can make them appear less pleasant.
Ho Chi Minh City, in my opinion, was greatly influenced by foreign civilizations, particularly those of the United States and France. People are increasingly receptive to interacting with people from other countries and embracing modernity and innovation and in my opinion, the city of Ho Chi Minh City is well deserving of the people’s choice award.
Shopaholics can save time and money by shopping in Hanoi as opposed to Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon. There are so many gowns that I don’t need here! Shopping in these two cities does not have the same influence as it has in other Asian cities, such as Bangkok but if you’re on a budget, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are the best places to shop and the names of the streets in Hanoi’s Old Quarter are still based on their pre-colonial origins.
Shoes, silk, and silver are just a few of the products they specialise in. It’s not uncommon to see souvenirs, textiles, and other handcrafted goods for sale. In Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City, you can haggle almost everything.
Takashimaya Vietnam and Vincom Center, two high-end shopping complexes in Hanoi, round out the city’s shopping options. High quality apparel and electronics shopping at the best prices. This is largely determined by the type of merchandise you intend to purchase. Despite the close race, Hanoi comes out on top due to its authenticity. 5-5! Which Is Better, Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City? As a result, it is a draw. 5-5! I’m at a loss.
The truth is that Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh are two very distinct cities, and they both offer a unique perspective on Vietnam. In order to get the most out of your trip, incorporate both if you’ve got the time. In the end, it all comes down to what you want to accomplish in Vietnam and how you like to travel.
In a sense, it’s a fight between tradition and innovation, the old versus the new.
Why Should You Go To Hanoi Instead Of Ho Chi Minh
Hanoi has the air of a small town to it even though it’s a huge city but the Old Quarter has managed to retain its uniqueness and there is a greater emphasis on the country’s artistic, traditional and creative side in this region.
If you’re only in Vietnam for a few days, Hanoi is the place for you. It boasts a great blend of culture, parks, and architecture, as well as enough activities to keep you busy for a long time plus, Halong Bay and the Ninh Binh region, two of Vietnam’s most popular tourist destinations, are within a few hours’ drive of the city.
What’s The Difference Between Hanoi And Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City is a lot more crowded and hectic than other Vietnamese cities. It features a plethora of activities for tourists, as well as a better infrastructure. In terms of cuisine, shopping options and nightlife, it’s more Westernized.
Unquestionably one of Asia’s most exciting metropolises!
You should stay in Ho Chi Minh City if you are in Vietnam for an extended amount of time and as a result, it should come as no surprise that a large number of entrepreneurs and digital nomads have made Saigon their temporary home. The coffeeshops and co-working spaces are the nicest I’ve ever seen anywhere in the world, side note.
In the midst of the mayhem, HCMC offers excellent prospects for raising one’s standard of living.