Hanoi vs Saigon! People often ask us which city is better since we have spent a considerable amount of time in both. A detailed comparison of both can be found here. From food to accommodation to nightlife to jobs, weather to activities, we’ll cover everything here 황제여행.
Is Saigon or Hanoi better? First impressions
Saigon is a huge metropolis
You will notice a big difference between Hanoi and Saigon if you open up Google images and search for both. You can see for yourself that Saigon is a large, vibrant and colourful metropolis with many tall buildings sprouting from the streets below. One summer, we returned to Saigon to find a brand-new skyscraper under construction and a metro system under construction. There are many international influences and investments in Saigon, which is a booming city. Compared with Hanoi, where there are just 2 McDonald’s restaurants, Saigon has 14 McDonald’s restaurants.
Hanoi is scattered with lakes & nature
In contrast, Hanoi offers a more peaceful setting with a greener touch and a traditional atmosphere. The city has a lot of lakes scattered throughout it. The sight of giant swan peddle-boats in the distance or a group of men fishing by the lake is a welcome change from the exhaust fumes from traffic nearby. Furthermore, Hanoi doesn’t change its appearance. In 2015, we visited Hanoi for the first time, followed by visits in 2017 and 2018. Especially in the Old Quarter, it maintains its originality and authenticity year after year.
Saigon vs Hanoi for food
Scrumptious food in Saigon
We’ll tell you now, Saigon trumps Hanoi when it comes to food. Aside from the friends we left behind in Saigon, the restaurants we visited daily are the thing we miss most. Saigon, whether it’s local dishes or international dishes, has a greater variety of different foods. We were never more than a 10-minute drive from any type of cuisine we desired. Whether that be a full English breakfast from Con Bo Map, an Italian pizza smothered with parmesan at Chef Mama’s, or a delicious simple chicken and rice from the cutest local family at Quán Ăn Vặt Hẻm 16, in District 3.
Well-known food dishes in Hanoi
Despite the fact that Saigon offers the best choice of food, we would argue that Hanoi has better quality food. Several of the Vietnamese dishes we love, such as ph*, b*n ch*, and bánh cuốn, originated in the north. The same dish has been served in many long-standing local restaurants for more than 50 years. We don’t know what else screams quality more loudly than that. Try to venture out of the touristy Old Quarter on your next visit to Vietnam, find a local restaurant, and eat a dish cooked by an expert. Take our recommendation and try nem nướng. A short walk away from the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is the restaurant at 155 **i C*n. Tell us what you think!
Hanoi vs Saigon for accommodation
Accommodation is a difficult topic, so please note that these are merely our opinions and experiences. As Saigon and Hanoi grow, the outskirts become more desirable, and more apartment buildings appear. The farther you go from the center of Saigon or Hanoi (District 1 or Old Quarter respectively), the cheaper the property becomes, and the more choices you have. It will result in longer commutes to work and fewer amenities in the surrounding area.
Specifically in Saigon, there are two ex-pat districts (districts 2 and 7) with very modern and affordable housing. It is our opinion that living in an ex-pat district takes away from the authenticity of living in Vietnam. In our previous research, we found that Hanoi’s accommodation prices are significantly lower than those in Saigon, regardless of location. We paid double the amount for our apartment in Hanoi in Saigon. Our Saigon apartment looked like an Ikea showroom, thanks to a cleaning service six times a week! Currently, we live in a cute, homey studio with a large balcony.