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Hanoi vs Saigon: Which City is Better?

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Posted on 15 April 2019

Hanoi vs Saigon: Which City is Better? 5 Answers To Make Your Right Holiday Choice

Hanoi and Saigon (or known as Ho Chi Minh) are popular destinations among travelers. At first glance, both cities offer plenty of sightseeing and shopping choices, dining and nightlife options, as well as hotels catering to just about any spending preferences.

Photo by vietnamvisa


Hanoi is located in northern Vietnam and is home to pristine temples and expansive lakes, while Saigon, at the southern end, attracts travellers looking to learn more about Vietnam’s rather bleak history.


Photo by flickr


Have a look at  the comparison between these two cities– categorised according to dining, accommodation, nightlife, and more – to make the right holiday choice.




More temples & natural landscapes compare to the city of Saigon. Vietnam’s capital is teeming with well-preserved Buddhist shrines, beautiful lakes, and an Old Quarter filled with ancient ruins, some of which is prehistoric.

Photo by justgola


Notable landmarks include the Temple of Literature, Ngoc Son Temple, One Pillar Pagoda and the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long. Hanoi is renowned for its proudly preserved Vietnamese culture and traditions.


Photo by picfair



More war museums & colonial structures. Saigon has seen rapid urbanisation throughout the years, it’s still home to plenty of colonial buildings, war museums and historic remnants of the Vietnam War.

Photo by thecitylane


Travellers can visit the Central Post Office, Ho Chi Minh Square, War Remnants Museum and Reunification Palace in the city centre, while the Chu Chi Tunnel is just a short drive away.


Photo by citypassguide


2. Hotels


There’s more boutique-style Hotels in Hanoi (especially within the French Quarter) - most properties consisted of the original design concepts, personalised services and a wide range of facilities. Hanoi mostly caters to mid-range and wealthy travellers.

Photo by accorhotels



Ho Chi Minh City offers a wide range of accommodation options in the city centre, offering easy access to popular cultural landmarks and attractions. District 1 is home to sprawling five-star hotels.

Photo by travelandleisure


3. Dining


Home to a traditional dining, street food reigns in Hanoi as its narrow alleyways host many roadside vendors, local markets and family-owned restaurants.

Photo by flickr


The iconic Vietnamese pho (rice noodle soup) originates from Hanoi, where you can enjoy a generous bowl with plenty of fresh greens for less than 4 Malaysian Ringgit.

Photo by happyholidaysguides



Ho Chi Minh City is known as the food capital of Vietnam, where travellers can enjoy not only authentic French and Vietnamese delicacies, but also expat-owned bistros serving Japanese, Chinese, Mediterranean and American fare. From luxurious fine-dining venues to casual pizza joints.

 Photo by freewalkingtour


4. Nightlife


More casual bars Hanoi is arguably the city to be in if you’re looking for inexpensive booze and chilled out vibes. Drop by Bia Hoi Junction, a bustling nightlife district where travellers can enjoy local beers (bia hoi) for as little as VND 5,000 per glass while sitting back on plastic stools.


Photo by wiztours



More nightclubs & rooftop bars Catering to a more upmarket clientele and many skyscraper. Five-star hotels in Ho Chi Minh City District 1 have rooftop bars and swanky nightclubs that stay open until 3.00 AM or later.

Photo by vietfuntravel


For travelers who prefer to simply enjoy, live music bars and casual pubs can be found along the backpacker-friendly Pham Ngu Lao Street.


5. Shopping


Offers a more authentic shopping experience, Hanoi features bustling markets and colonial shophouses selling handicrafts, local artwork and fresh produce.

Photo by blog.christinas


No two streets in the pedestrian-friendly Old Quarter are similar, as each specialise in certain products such as silverware, shoes and silk materials.


Photo by hafoodtours



By contrast, Ho Chi Minh City is famous for its expensive and modern shopping venues, such as Vincom Center, Takashimaya Vietnam and Parkson Plaza Department Store.

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Meanwhile, fashion boutiques and art galleries are set along Dong Khoi Street in District 1, where display items can be bought at a fraction of what they cost elsewhere.


Photo by gypsyat60


Shopping is truly one of the highlights for travellers in Saigon.



While Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are popular holiday destinations in Vietnam, it’s clear that each city caters to different types of traveller. Hanoi is ideal for those looking to experience a more traditional lifestyle while Ho Chi Minh City’s urban landscape is best suited for luxury travellers.



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