Ho Chi Minh Versus Hanoi – Which City Should YouVisit?

Two of the most popular cities in Vietnam are Ho Chi Minh (formerly Saigon) and Hanoi. Both cities are a must visit on your trip to the country. However, if you have a limited time, you might have to choose between the two. So if you’re wondering whether you should go to Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi, then here’s everything you need to know.

Applying for your Visa to Vietnam

Vietnam visa on arrival desk in Da Nang city
Vietnam visa on arrival desk in Da Nang city

Whether you are entering Vietnam through Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi, you will need a visa to get into the country. Therefore, it’s important that you take care of your visa before anything else. Thankfully, applying for a Vietnam Visa is now so easy, thanks to Evisa-vietnam.com, a website dedicated to helping foreign travellers in applying for their Vietnam visa.

When using the website, you simply have to fill out the information with your name, passport number, and other important details. You will then be asked to make a payment. After you submit the form, wait for an email for the pre-approval letter, which you will print, as this is what you will present at the airport in either Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi.

Attractions in Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi

If you’re into museums and colonial architectures, then the city of Ho Chi Minh is a great city to visit. It’s home to a number of interesting museums and ancient old buildings, such as the War Remnants Museum and the Reunification Palace.

On the other hand, if you prefer natural landscapes and temples, Hanoi might be more suitable for you. Here, you’ll find the Hoàn Kiếm Lake at the city’s historical district. There are also several notable landmarks and temples in Hanoi, such as the Temple of Literature, One Pillar Pagoda, Ngoc Son Temple, and more.

Dining Options in Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi

Both cities are known for their wide array of dining options, but Hanoi has a more traditional food scene. Here, street food stalls and roadside vendors are all over the place. The Vietnamese Pho, which is Vietnam’s most famous dish, originates from Hanoi so it’s easy to find several stalls here selling the most delicious noodle soup and other traditional Vietnamese foods.

Ho Chi Minh’s dining scene is more diverse. As the country’s food capital, you’ll definitely be provided with a wide range of food choices in this city. But aside from the local Vietnamese dishes, Ho Chi Minh is also a great place to sample the best international dishes, such as French, Japanese, Mediterranean, American, and Chinese dishes.

Shopping in Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi

Hanoi is known for its wide range of local night markets providing a more authentic shopping experience. When night time comes, the Old Quarter of Hanoi comes to life with its bustling street markets selling food, clothing, souvenir items, and everything you can think of!

On the other hand, Ho Chi Minh is more famous for its more modern shopping scene, as the city is home to several shopping malls and modern shopping venues. If you prefer to shop on luxury items and signature labels, you’ll have more options in Ho Chi Minh. This is also where you can shop for affordable electronics, computers, gadgets, etc.

Nightlife Scene in Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi

If you’re into cheap beers and would prefer to hang out in a more chilled out place, then Hanoi is a great city to visit. The nightlife scene in the city is more casual, especially in the Old Quarter. When nighttime comes, the Bia Hoi Junction transforms into a bustling district where both locals and tourists can be seen enjoying cheap local beers while sitting on small plastic stools on the street side. 

For those who prefer to party at nightclubs, lounges, and rooftop bars, Ho Chi Minh may be the right place for you. The city’s nightlife scene caters to the more upscale crowd and most partygoers would often prefer to hang out at swanky clubs and stylish rooftop bars that are housed in the various 5-star hotels all over the city.


Both Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi are great destinations for your holiday in Vietnam. But as you can see above, each city has its own unique character. If you have plenty of time in the country, it’s highly recommended that you visit both. That way, you’ll be able to see for yourself which of these two cities is more suitable for you as a traveler.