4 locations that will please you when living in Hanoi


Whether you are about to settle down or pay a visit to a whole new country, choosing a place to live is of great importance. Here in Vietnam, you can choose from apartment for rent in Dong Da, West Lake area, or Ha Dong District. Speaking from my own experience, home life has a huge effect on our dealing with cultural shock and the way we adapt to an unfamiliar living environment. Let us here be open and honest, finding a right home is a tremendous job concerning tons of factors: budget, location, property, security, transport and on top of that are our personal preferences.
To make the task less head aching and help you narrow the search down, here are 5 locations with varying characteristics that may please you when living in Hanoi. Coming all the way down to this list, you will find some “hidden gem” places revealed – the ones that are yet to be shared anywhere among online expat community.

West Lake

The very first place to recommend is definitely West Lake (Tay Ho). This has been long known as the “foreign village” for its lovely views over the water, clean and large walkways for outdoor activities and a wide array of western restaurants, bars and shops, but at western price.
The truth is real estate here is one of the highest in the country as well with the renting rate going for more than 250$/month for a room in a house and 300$/month for an apartment, the price can go on and on for the more luxurious houses and apartments. If you go in a group, West Lake property is ideal. If not, seeking for some partners to share the house renting cost.
It is not hard to do so mainly because most foreigners love and enjoy living in well-furnished to five star residences West Lake offers. Overall, living in this area is costly, but if you can afford it, the location is a jewel.

Old Quarters

There are good reasons why many foreigners call this area home even though it is so crowded that sidewalk turns into markets for commercial purpose and facing jammed traffic has become a norm. Old Quarters (Pho Co) is the entertainment center with frequent cultural and national events to enjoy like water puppet show, independence celebration, arts and flowers exhibition.
There are abundant choices for you to dine ranging from cheap street food to luxurious dishes at fancy Western and Asian style restaurants. Other facet of the Old Quarter that makes it attractive place, especially for outgoing, gregarious visitors to live is its lively nightlife. The streets are bustling with talks, cheers and music and do not sleep till 4:00 am, some bars even open all night long to serve the energetic explorers.
A modern house for rent in the Old Quarters costs somewhere around 300$/month, the price varies largely depending on the accommodation. For a mecca with fine dining and high quality of life, Pho Co is indeed a great place to settle down.

Dong Da District

If immersing yourself in the local culture is something that you are looking for, Dong Da district is a promising land for you. Living here, you can choose to go to either market to experience and master your bargain skill or supermarket for instant convenience.
The food, in general, is cheap simply because it is sold at Vietnamese price for residents around. Many of food stalls open at a specific time of the day like early morning for breakfast or evening for casual talk after long day working. Living here, you get everyday experience witnessing local people’s routine and lucky enough, you may sense the so called neighborly support – one of typical Vietnamese characteristics.
Its close proximity to Hoan Kiem Lake has drawn to Ba Dinh district a large resident population which lives more quiet life yet frequently yearn for entertainment. Compared to West Lake and the Old Quarters, the price for rent is more and less 800$/month for furnished apartments and below 300$/month for houses.

Ha Dong District

If you’re looking for suburb charm then Ha Dong district may just be the perfect place for you. This is a great alternative to the much busier and heavily populated districts mentioned above, but still easy access to the city center.
Ha Dong is close to Ba Vi, Son Tay, Vinh Phuc, making it easy day trips to many tourist attractions such as the national park, Dai Lai lake, Duong Lam – the ancient village. For those who plan to live in Vietnam longer than a year, Ha Dong offers you an opportunity to witness its rapid industrialization.
Strolling around here, you may still encounter curious yet friendly looks from the locals. Of our 4 recommendations, houses or apartments for rent here cost are about 200$/month for a decent one. A perfect location for those who aren’t seeking for luxury.
Go online, ask people, befriends with the local, there are a lot of ways to search for a perfect place to settle down. Our advice in general is to avoid the costliest places, such as those in West Lake and Old Quarters if your money is tight. Travelling is about enjoying the journey, localizing yourself in a foreign community, you certainly don’t want to make things tougher than it needs to be by picking a place that eventually stresses you out.
If you are free to choose, where would you live in Hanoi?