Hanoi Nightlife For Expats – Top 20 Bars, Restaurants, And Night Clubs part 1 – Pros and Cons

Hanoi Nightlife For Expats – Top 20 Bars, Restaurants, And Night Clubs part 1 – that will be the topic of today’s article.

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As a foreigner in Hanoi, you’ve probably been invited to plenty of so-called “traditional” Vietnamese bars. You know the ones: packed to the brim with smoking men drinking bia hoi and watching football. Besides, you’re not really into that scene anyway, what you want is a place where you can relax with your friends and enjoy some good food.

Hanoi Nightlife For Expats

However, you see everyone standing up when ladies walk in, and there’s an awkward moment of standing around waiting for a table before someone shoves you to make room. Well, that’s cool and all, but we’re not really into that either.

If that’s not your scene, Hanoi has a pretty decent selection of foreign bars and clubs if you know where to look. So throw away those leopard print pants and sandals with socks – it’s time to get down and party like a true expat! In fact, there are so many in Hanoi nowadays.

Have you been surfing the web to get the right information about living in Hanoi? Or you’d love to know more information about living in this city? Worry less, as we’ve got you covered today. We have compiled this article to work you through the pros and cons of living in Hanoi as an expat.

Not only is that, but you’ll also get to know about the nightlife and bars in Hanoi for expats. So, brace yourselves as we bring you the best of everything around. I’m sure you’re ready to check what we’ve got, right? Read further to understand the process.

Overview of the Pros and Cons of Living in Hanoi

Hanoi Nightlife For Expats

Living in Hanoi is a different experience depending on where you are. If you live in the Old Quarter or close to it, then you can expect endless noise and people, because that is where most of the locals live. If you’re living outside of this area, however, then things are much more peaceful.

Making friends outside of the country is easier than in Vietnam, and there are lots of other people who want to do the same. This means that it can be hard to meet people who share your interests when you live in Hanoi. Without further ado, let’s quickly walk you through the pros and cons of living in this city.


Living in Hanoi, Vietnam is a unique experience for foreigners. It’s a city with the charm and physical beauty to make it worth visiting, but it also has many challenges. There are positives and negatives to be found when exploring living in Hanoi. This article will highlight the 7 pros of living in Hanoi.

Very Diverse Food

There are many different dishes in Hanoi, and probably everyone has their favorite. But whether you like pho (Vietnamese noodle soup), banh mi (submarine sandwich), or cơm tấm (broken rice with grilled pork chop), one thing is for sure: the variety of food is excellent. From street food to fancy restaurants, you can find all kinds of food in Hanoi that you don’t have back home.

Transportation Is Cheap and Convenient

Getting around Hanoi would be a lot more difficult without motorbikes, but it’s also the most fun way to get around! If you get tired of the motorbike madness, you can easily hail a taxi or hop on the bus. You can also take a taxi or walk to nearby cities like Ba Vi National Park, Cầu Giấy, and so on.

Living Costs Are Very Low

You would think that with all this delicious food around, living costs would be very high. But no, each meal usually costs between VND 30,000 – 50,000 (USD 1-2), making Hanoi one of the most affordable places to live in Asia. In fact, the cost of living in Hanoi is not even half of what you would pay back home.

The City Is Filled With Culture and History

Despite being a capital city, Hanoi has preserved its past very well. You can find temples, pagodas, museums, and French colonial architecture – all without leaving the city center. The Old Quarter is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and definitely worth exploring. Also, Hanoi is where the famous Ho Chi Minh Trail started and where he passed away.

Hanoi Nightlife For Expats

The People Are Very Friendly and Helpful

Of course, there’s another side to every coin. While Hanoians can be very self-centered at times, they’re more than what you would expect for a city of 8 million people. When you live in Hanoi, it’s very easy to make friends with the locals, who are always ready to help you out no matter what time of day or night it is. You’ll feel at home here in no time.

There Are Many Rivers and Lakes Around

Some people say that water has a calming effect on the mind. If you’re one of those people, then life in Hanoi might be a good fit for you! Sometimes you just need to get away from days filled with nonstop noise and pollution and take in some fresh air. Luckily, there are many lakes and rivers surrounding Hanoi like Hoàn Kiếm Lake, Hoàn Kiếm River, and so on.

Lots of Foreigners Live Here

Many people who visit Hanoi say that it’s not very touristy despite having many historical sites and amazing things to eat. This is because fewer than 10 million tourists each year compared to the millions of local people. It’s not a surprise that many foreigners come here to live and learn from the locals, who are always willing to offer a helping hand.


Hanoi Nightlife For Expats


Hanoi is located in a valley and is surrounded by mountains. The city’s roads and industry are mainly based on the outskirts, where factories and densely populated residential areas can be found. To make things worse, Hanoi is very dry with little rainfall – it only rains for about 2 months of the year (between June and August). That spells trouble for the environment.

The environmental pollution in Hanoi is apparent – there are many trails of smoke coming from factories, cars drive around spewing their black fumes out into the air, and motorbikes are everywhere. The last ones might sound great because they don’t cause any pollution.

But think about it – how much of a carbon footprint does a motorbike leave? Not to mention the thousands of cars and trucks running around causing all kinds of smoke.

Traffic Jams

Traffic jams are a daily occurrence in Hanoi. The peak hours are between 8 AM and 9 AM, when everyone is on their way to work, from 5 PM – 7 PM. Traffic jams can be expected, but they’re usually not too serious – you’re still able to drive around the car by crossing into another lane.

But even though minor traffic jams are acceptable, the taxi drivers in Hanoi know how to make them much worse by driving around and honking as much as they want. They stop right in the middle of the road and stand there hopelessly.

Lack of Public Transportation

There are a few public bus lines in Hanoi, but the number of buses is very small. In order to compensate for this, there are also many private mini-vans which have been modified from regular cars and serve as a replacement for actual buses. These can be extremely packed with people standing inside because they don’t have enough seats.


The corruption in Vietnam is known worldwide. On the street, many police officers will start talking to you and say that you need to give them money for “stamping your passport” or you’ll be arrested. These people usually work together, which means they won’t let you go once you’ve paid.

Expensive Food

The food price is relatively high in Hanoi compared to the rest of Vietnam. For example, you can get a simple bowl of noodles from street vendors for around 5 USD, while at a restaurant, it might cost twice as much or more. Nevertheless, many affordable restaurants and cafes with good quality food so that this con can be easily avoided.

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