Where to stay in Hanoi first time: 7 Safest areas & districts

I had lived and studied in Hanoi for a couple of years, and I had traveled back and forth many times. I understand that finding the best place to stay in Hanoi as a first-timer can be challenging. 

That’s why, in today’s article, I will share with you what I believe are the best and safest areas to stay in Hanoi for first-timers and tourists (including a map) and best hotels for all budgets.

Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam, situated in the northern part of the country. It is one of the oldest cities in Vietnam and has a rich history and cultural heritage. 

Before get into the detail of the main topic, let’s look at some facts about Hanoi:

Hanoi has a history dating back over a thousand years and has served as the capital of Vietnam for much of its history. It was the capital of French Indochina during the colonial era and later became the capital of North Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

The Old Quarter is a maze of narrow streets and alleyways filled with markets, street food stalls, and traditional shops. It’s a bustling and colorful part of the city where you can find major attractions like Hoan Kiem Lake, Tran Quoc Pagoda, One Pillar Pagoda, and Temple of Literature.

The city has a strong French colonial influence, which is evident in its architecture. The French Quarter features elegant buildings, including the Opera House and the Presidential Palace.

Hanoi is renowned for its delicious street food, with dishes like pho (noodle soup), bun cha (grilled pork with noodles), and banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches) being local favorites. The city’s food culture is a must-experience for visitors.

As the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi is the political center of the country. You can explore government buildings such as the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the National Assembly House.

Hanoi has a dense network of streets, and traffic can be chaotic. Consider using a combination of walking, cyclos (traditional cycle rickshaws), and rideshare apps like Grab to get around the city.

The best time to visit Hanoi is during the spring (February to April) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is mild and pleasant. It can get quite hot and humid in the summer, and it can be cold in the winter. Pack accordingly.

Hanoi is often known as the gateway to explore northern Vietnam. From here, many tours depart to Halong Bay, Sapa, and Ninh Binh.

Is Hanoi safe to visit?

Yes, Hanoi is generally safe place to visit. It has a relatively low crime rate. But, like any urban area, it’s essential to stay vigilant against petty theft, especially in crowded areas or on public transportation. Also, be cautious when crossing busy streets, as traffic in Hanoi can be chaotic. 

Hanoi offers a variety of districts to choose from when deciding where to stay, each with its own unique charm and characteristics. 

Where to stay in Hanoi for the first time?

The best and safest areas to stay in Hanoi for first-timers and tourists are the Old Quarter/ Hoan Kiem District, Tay Ho (West Lake), Ba Dinh, Truc Bach, Dong Da, Hai Ba Trung, and Cau Giay. These are safe, central districts that provide a wide variety of accommodations for all budgets.

Most first-time visitors to Hanoi stay in The Old Quarter, in Hoan Kiem District, because it is the heart of the city. Staying here puts you within walking distance of many attractions like Hoan Kiem Lake, St. Joseph’s Cathedral, and numerous street food stalls and restaurants.

Tay Ho is a tranquil and upscale district located around the West Lake. It’s known for its scenic lakeside views and expat-friendly atmosphere. It’s a great choice if you prefer a quieter, more relaxed environment, and don’t mind walking/taking Grab taxi to the old town.

Ba Dinh is home to several important landmarks, including Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, and the Presidential Palace. You’ll find cluster of hotels around Giang Vo and Doi Can area. If you want to stay close to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, consider and Air BnB.

Hai Ba Trung, Dong Da, and Cau Giay are residential areas that are less touristy than Hoan Kiem district, offering a more authentic experience and more affordable accommodation options.

On one of my trips to Hanoi, I stayed at the Scent Premium Hotel. It was a good value for money hotel in central Hanoi, easy walking distance/short Grab ride to most attractions. My room is compact, clean and comfortable.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Hanoi for tourists. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the best areas to stay in Hanoi for tourists and first time
Map of the best areas to stay in Hanoi for tourists and first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Hanoi, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Hanoi have been carefully selected by me, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

7 Safest areas to stay in Hanoi for first-timers & tourists:

1. Old Quarter/ Hoan Kiem District

The Old Quarter/Hoan Kiem District, without a doubt, is the most popular base in Hanoi for many tourists, especially for first-timers. It is the heart of the city that offers a vibrant and dynamic experience. 

The Old Quarter is home to several major attractions, including Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple, St. Joseph’s Cathedral, and the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater. These attractions are within walking distance, making it convenient to explore them.

This area is renowned for its street food culture. You’ll find countless food stalls, local eateries, and restaurants serving delicious Vietnamese cuisine. It’s an excellent place to indulge in pho, bun cha, banh mi, and other local dishes.

The Old Quarter is a shopper’s paradise with its narrow streets filled with markets and shops. You can shop for souvenirs, clothing, handicrafts, and more. Dong Xuan Market, in particular, is a must-visit for shopping enthusiasts. You should always Bargain when shopping here!

Staying in the Old Quarter allows you to immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Hanoi. You can explore the historic architecture, pagodas, and temples that dot the district.

The Old Quarter comes alive at night with its many bars, pubs, and clubs. Whether you want to enjoy a quiet drink or dance the night away, there are options for all tastes.

Just be mindful that the Old Quarter can be noisy and crowded. Hotel rooms can be compact due to its nature. If you prefer a quieter atmosphere and don’t mind taking a Grab taxi to the old town, you can consider staying in Tay Ho or Truc Bach

Best places to stay in Hanoi Old Quarter for first-timers:

  • Luxury ($$$): Peridot Grand Luxury Boutique Hotel, 5-star good value for money hotel, centrally located in the heart of the city, offering a paid airport shuttle. Within easy distance to major attractions such as Dong Xuan Market, Thang Long Water Puppet Theater and St. Joseph Cathedral. 
  • Mid-range ($$): Hanoi Center Silk Hotel & Travel, very popular 4-star hotel, conveniently located within walking distance of popular Dong Xuan Market and Hoan Kiem Lake. Airport shuttle service and car rental available at the hotel.
  • Budget ($): Flora Centre Hotel & Spa, great hotel, centrally situated close to popular landmarks such as  Thang Long Water Puppet Theater, Hoan Kiem Lake and St. Joseph Cathedral.

2. Tay Ho District (West Lake)

Tay Ho District, also known as the West Lake District, is a picturesque and upscale area in Hanoi that offers a more tranquil and relaxed environment compared to the bustling Old Quarter. 

Tay Ho is centered around the West Lake (Ho Tay), which is the largest lake in Hanoi. The area offers beautiful lake views, serene parks, and a refreshing atmosphere. It’s a great place to unwind and enjoy leisurely walks along the lake.

Tay Ho is known for its expat community, so you’ll find a wide range of international restaurants, cafes, and shops. It’s a good choice if you’re looking for familiar cuisine or a more cosmopolitan atmosphere.

While Tay Ho is known for its natural beauty, it also has cultural attractions such as temples and pagodas. One of the highlights is the Tran Quoc Pagoda, which is located on a small island on West Lake and dates back over a thousand years.

West Lake provides opportunities for various water activities such as kayaking and paddleboarding. Cycling is a popular activity around the Lake. You can also find lakeside cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy the view.

While Tay Ho is a bit removed from the city center, it’s still well-connected by taxis and ride-sharing services like Grab. You can easily reach the Old Quarter and other parts of Hanoi when you want to explore further.

Best places to stay in Hanoi in Tay Ho for visitors:

  • Luxury ($$$): InterContinental Hanoi Westlake, an IHG Hotel, 5-star hotel located on the peaceful waters of Westlake, near the historic Kim Lien (Golden Lotus) Pagoda. Featuring a fitness center, yoga/Pilates classes, massage services, tour desk, and airport shuttle.
  • Mid-range ($$): Margaery Boutique Apartment, 4-star accommodation, located in a nice quiet area, short distance by bus/ Grab from the Old Town.
  • Budget ($): MoonLight Tay Ho, 3-star good value for money accommodation, near West Lake and Quan Thanh Temple, offering free parking for those who drive.

3. Ba Dinh District

Ba Dinh District is one of the central districts in Hanoi, Vietnam. It’s known for its historical significance, government buildings, and cultural attractions. 

Ba Dinh is home to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the One Pillar Pagoda, and the Presidential Palace. These landmarks offer insights into Vietnam’s history and are a must-visit for history enthusiasts.

In addition to the aforementioned sites, you’ll find the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Ho Chi Minh Museum, and Vietnam Fine Arts Museum in this district. These museums showcase Vietnamese culture, art, and history.

While Ba Dinh is centrally located, it tends to be quieter than the bustling Old Quarter. If you prefer a more peaceful environment but still want easy access to the city’s attractions, this district can be a good choice.

Ba Dinh is home to many government offices and embassies, making it a hub for diplomatic and official activities. If you’re visiting for business or official purposes, this district is conveniently located.

Ba Dinh provides opportunities to experience local culture, as it’s a mix of residential and commercial areas. You can explore local markets and try authentic Vietnamese cuisine in the neighborhood.

Best places to stay in Hanoi in Ba Dinh for tourists:

  • Luxury ($$$): Lotte Hotel Hanoi, 5-star hotel, Strategically located on Lieu Giai Street, featuring 24-hour front desk,  laundry, car rental and tour arrangements 
  • Mid-range ($$): FTE Ba Dinh Hotel, 4-star accommodation, short taxi/ xe om ride from Vietnam Museum of Ethnology and Vincom Center Nguyen Chi Thanh.
  • Budget ($): 22Land Residence Hotel & Spa Ha Noi, popular accommodation, offering paid airport shuttle services, a year-round outdoor pool, fitness center, and good taste breakfast.

4. Truc Bach 

Truc Bach is a charming and historic neighborhood belonging to Ba Dinh district. It offers a unique and quieter experience compared to the bustling Old Quarter. 

Truc Bach is nestled between West Lake and Truc Bach Lake, providing a picturesque and serene environment. You can enjoy beautiful views of the water and take leisurely walks along the lakeside promenades.

Truc Bach has historical significance as it was the site of John McCain’s capture during the Vietnam War. You can visit the monument dedicated to this event and learn more about the history of the area.

The neighborhood is home to some interesting cultural sites, including Chau Long Pagoda and Quan Thanh Temple. These are smaller compared to some of the more famous temples in Hanoi.

Truc Bach offers a more authentic local experience, with traditional markets, local eateries, and shops. You can savor local dishes and experience everyday life in Hanoi.

Best places to stay in Hanoi in Truc Bach for travelers:

  • Budget ($):  La Santé Hotel & Spa, close to the Truc Bach Lake and West Lake. Also a short taxi ride from Hoan Kiem Lake, The Huc Bridge and Ngoc Son Temple. 
  • Mid-range ($$): Thien Thai Hotel, 4-star accommodation located in the northwest corner of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, a few minutes walk from Dong Xuan Market.
  • Budget ($): An Nguyen Building, great accommodation, located within walking distance from Tran Quoc Pagoda, Quan Thanh Temple, and West Lake.

5. Hai Ba Trung District

Hai Ba Trung District is one of the urban districts in Hanoi, located to the southeast of the city center. It is a huge disitrict, so I recommend staying in the areas around Pho Hue, Trieu Viet Vuong, and Ba Trieu Street for easy access to the old town.

Hai Ba Trung is primarily a residential district, which means you’ll get a taste of everyday life in Hanoi. It’s less touristy, allowing you to experience authentic Vietnamese culture.

Accommodations and dining options in Hai Ba Trung District tend to be more budget-friendly compared to some of the upscale areas in Hanoi. If you’re looking to save on accommodation while still having access to the city’s attractions, this district can be a good choice.

Best places to stay in Hanoi in Hai Ba Trung for tourists:

  • Luxury ($$$): Melia Hanoi, 5-star hotel located on Ly Thuong Kiet Street, close to Hoan Kiem Lake, Thang Long Water Puppet Theater, and  Trang Tien Plaza.
  • Mid-range ($$): The Lapis Hotel, 5-star hotel, a short distance from the iconic Hanoi Opera House.
  • Budget ($): Canary Hotel, this accommodation located 15-minute walk from Hoan Kiem Lake, the Old Quarter and the Water Puppet Theater. 

6. Dong Da District 

Dong Da District is one of the urban districts in Hanoi, Vietnam, located to the southwest of the city center. It  is primarily a residential area, so you can experience authentic daily life in Hanoi. 

While not as historically significant as some other districts, Dong Da is home to Dong Da Mound, a historical site commemorating the victory of Emperor Quang Trung over the Qing Dynasty in 1789. The site offers a glimpse into Vietnam’s history.

You’ll find a variety of local eateries, street food vendors, and restaurants serving Vietnamese cuisine. It’s a great place to sample traditional dishes and try local flavors.

Best places to stay in Hanoi in Dong Da:

  • Luxury ($$$): Grand Vista Hanoi, 5-star hotel in Dong Da district, paid airport shuttle service,  24-hour front desk, and Soundproof rooms.
  • Mid-range ($$): Rose Garden Residences, great apartment hotel, short Grab ride from Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, and Hanoi train station.
  • Budget ($): Libré Homestay, great accommodation, short distance from Vietnam Fine Arts Museum and Hanoi Temple of Literature. Also close to One Pillar Pagoda, Imperial Citadel and Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

7. Cau Giay District 

Cau Giay District is a relatively modern and rapidly developing area, known for its universities, business centers, and a mix of residential and commercial neighborhoods.

Cau Giay is home to several universities and educational institutions, making it a hub for students and academics. If you’re visiting for academic or educational purposes, staying in this district can be convenient.

Cau Giay offers modern amenities such as shopping malls (e.g., The Garden Shopping Center), supermarkets, and a variety of international and local restaurants. It’s also home to Indochina Plaza Hanoi, a mixed-use development with shopping, dining, and entertainment options.

There are some parks and green areas in Cau Giay where you can take a break and enjoy some outdoor activities, such as Nghia Do Park.

Best places to stay in Hanoi in Cau Giay:


In conclusion, the Old Quarter/ Hoan Kiem, Tay Ho (West Lake), Ba Dinh, Truc Bach, Hai Ba Trung, Dong Da, and Cau Giay are the best places to stay in Hanoi for tourists. They are the most popular and safest districts in the city, offering plenty of things to do and see for all visitors. 

You can continue reading about Hanoi and other destinations in Vietnam in these articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the popular areas and neighborhoods that you can stay during your trip to Hanoi. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

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