On top of the fact that it is Vietnam’s capital city, Hanoi is also a city rich in flavour and charm. With its unique culture, shimmering city skyline and blend of old and new, Hanoi is sure to find a place in any expat's heart.
Living in Hanoi as an expat
With new construction projects continuously springing up, the city’s western edge is expanding ever outwards. This rapid development is securing Hanoi's place as more than just a city of political importance in Vietnam.
Expats moving to Hanoi will find a city that maintains a balance between significant development that includes large shopping malls, apartment complexes and new roads, and preserving a relatively cheap cost of living. With several lakes, fantastic restaurants, vibrant nightlife and some of Southeast Asia’s best preserved colonial architecture, Hanoi is an easy choice for many expats moving to Vietnam.
With a significant diplomatic community, numerous NGOs, ESL teachers and expat-employing businesses, Hanoi also has a range of healthcare and education facilities catering for its expat community.
Cost of living in Hanoi
The cost of living in Hanoi is fairly reasonable. There is also a multitude of accommodation options to suit any budget, however, expats living in the city centre will typically pay more. Seasonal fruit and vegetables are cheap, and eating out is also largely inexpensive. Western foods and restaurants will cost significantly more, though.
Getting around in Hanoi is a breeze thanks to the affordable bus network in the city and the abundance of taxi services. Buses in Hanoi charge a flat rate regardless of the distance a passenger is travelling, making them a savvy option for long-distance commutes. That said, most expats prefer to use ride-hailing services to circumvent the language barrier, this is still a budget-friendly option. Some ride-hailing services, such as Grab, offer a monthly subscription for regular commuters, which further reduces the cost.
Families and children in Hanoi
Hanoi is a family-friendly city, offering plenty to see and do for newly arrived expats and their children. Expat parents will also be delighted to find that Vietnam offers a rigorous public school curriculum and that attendance is free for children between the ages of six to 11. Be that as it may, most expats prefer to send their children to the eye-wateringly expensive international schools in Hanoi, which allow them to continue their studies in a curriculum and language they are familiar with.
Climate in Hanoi
The climate in Hanoi is characterised by the dry and wet seasons, as is usually the case in Southeast Asian countries. The wet season (May to October) is typically hot and humid, this is also when the city experiences the highest levels of rainfall. The coldest months are from January to March, but temperatures remain pleasant.
Overall, Hanoi is one of Southeast Asia's best expat destinations, and those willing to make the move will not be disappointed by the quality of life in the Vietnamese capital.
►Learn about Education and Schools in Hanoi
"As you know Russia is a cold country. The biggest plus for me is the warm climate of Vietnam. Recently I was often sick with colds and other illnesses related to the Russian climate. Here I feel much better. I lived in the city and it was always stressful. Here people see the world differently, it’s a different mentality."
Learn more about living in Hanoi in our interview with Russian expat Anastasia.
Are you an expat living in Hanoi?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Hanoi. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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