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Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and the country's second largest city by population. Its population in 2009 was estimated at 2.6 million for urban districts and 7 million for the metropolitan jurisdiction. The population in 2015 was estimated at 7.7 million people. From 1010 until 1802, it was the most important political centre of Vietnam. It was eclipsed by Huế, the imperial capital of Vietnam during the Nguyễn Dynasty (1802–1945), but Hanoi served as the capital of French Indochina from 1902 to 1954. From 1954 to 1976, it was the capital of North Vietnam, and it became the capital of a reunified Vietnam in 1976, after the North's victory in the Vietnam War.

The city lies on the right bank of the Red River. Hanoi is 1,760 km (1,090 mi) north of Ho Chi Minh City and 120 km (75 mi) west of Hai Phong city.

October 2010 officially marked 1000 years since the establishment of the city.The Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural is a 4 km ceramic mosaic mural created to mark the occasion.                         


There are generally four types of accommodations available to the Hanoi expat:

Rooms: You do not need a large salary to find a room in Vietnam, and it is the cheapest housing option. Rooms typically come furnished and can be found close to the city center.

Houses: Stand-alone houses can be furnished or unfurnished and are great for families that require space. Most houses have private driveways and are surrounded by a garden and/or a boundary fence.

Apartments: This accommodation is the most widely available and cheaper than renting a house. However, you will have to coordinate with the landlord to have your utilities connected. Apartments come in different sizes and can be rented furnished or unfurnished.

Serviced apartments: These are quite expensive and only make sense if your contract is short or your employer is footing the bill. They are generally located within hotels or high rises and offer an array of amenities and services including; furniture, housekeeping, maids, gyms, swimming pools etc. These services are typically included in the rent.



Typical Costs

  • Furnished apartments/villas/houses in Westlake or Ciputra: USD 2,000  - 5,000 / month

  • Service apartments in central city locations:  USD 1,500- 3,000  / month

  • Villas at Vinhome Riversides :USD 2,000 - 2,500 / month




Most expat parents send their children to international schools, although local schools are a cheaper alternative. However, as local schools are taught in the local language, expat children are usually better suited to schools which teach in their home language and the home country’s manner. There are many international schools in the country, and there are often open spaces even at the beginning of the school year, except in the top few schools.

Northern hemisphere countries (e.g. the US and European countries) usually follow the August/September to June/July school year. Most international schools follow this schedule as well. Some will have two semesters and some three trimesters (terms). The school year of Southern Hemisphere countries (e.g. Australia and South Africa) runs from February to December and isn’t a popular option for schools in Vietnam.

School directory:


Facts & Figures

Food and Dining

Vietnamese call their noodles ‘pho’ and it sells for about USD$0.50 cents. Other popular local food will probably be priced around the same. Hanoi has great-tasting bread which, with some coffee, will cost around ten centavos per loaf.

Restaurants abound in the city, and they offer cuisines from nearly every part of the world, from France to Italy to India to America and everywhere else in between. On a street called Hang Bac is a restaurant that sells really big pizzas to go with French fries and beverages for about 10 USD. There’s also a Spanish joint near the cathedral which sells for about 30USD for two. Of course, in more traditional diners, the cost is a lot lower.

Beer and Nightlife

Beers in Hanoi cost around USD$0.20 to 0.40 cents per glass. Popular brands are Beer Toi and Bai Hoi, which are both locally brewed draft beer. Imported brands are a bit more expensive, but still, a Heineken bottle goes well under 1 USD in most places. People in Hanoi love beers, and this is one of the common things they share with expats. Both love the fact that these drinks are affordable.


Motorcycle taxis are the most popular way to get around Hanoi. Nowaday with so much technology development, the Grab bike or Grabtaxi are very porpular. Some expats prefer to buy cars of their own, usually used cars that cost around $USD 5000. For motorbike, expats also like Honda or Yamaha brand. If some issue with driving lisence, the e-motorbike is very good choice!


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