“So, Which City Is the Best?”

After telling people I’ve spent years living in each of Vietnam’s 3 most famous cities, I’m sometimes asked, “So, which city is the best?” or, “Which city is your favorite?

The reality is, I can’t give any one single correct answer to those questions. It would be overly simplistic to try to use a linear 1-dimensional scale to declare either one of these cities as all-around “better” or “worse” than the others.

I can’t tell you that one city is all-around better than the others; it’s not that simple.

However, there may be a city that is the best fit for you and the point in your life where you are at right now. You might find that there is a city that aligns better with your current goals, hobbies, motivations, personality, and what you’re currently seeking from life. This post might help you to get some perspective.

Hanoi, Danang & Ho Chi Minh City are all different places with different characters, benefits and drawbacks.

There are, however, some common similarities shared among the three; let’s start there.

Similarities Between Hanoi, Danang & Ho Chi Minh City:

Friendly People

In all 3 of Vietnam’s most famous cities, as well as in the entire country, the vast majority of locals are incredibly friendly and kind people. From something as simple as a smile and a genuine “hello” to helping someone with a broken-down motorbike on the side of the road, Vietnamese people are some of the most open and helpful people you will ever meet.

From what I’ve observed, Vietnamese people want conversations to flow smoothly; they laugh and smile a lot and rarely try to shut someone down or make passive-aggressive comments. From my experience, most Vietnamese people look for things to agree on rather than things to argue about.

Motorbike Society

86% of households in Vietnam own at least one motorbike; Thailand is the only other country in the world that has a higher percentage of people who own motorbikes.

Conversely, only 2.3% of the population are registered owners of a car (although cars generally spatially occupy about 33%-50% of the streets during rush hour).

Although some places are more densely packed with motorbikes than others, wherever you do go in Vietnam, you’re most likely going to encounter more motorbikes conglomerated together than you’ve ever seen in a Western country before.

Charming, Unique and Eccentric Cafes (Coffee Shops)

There are all sorts of crazy cafes hidden away throughout each of the major cities. There are cafes with awesome views of famous traffic circles, cafes with Vietnamese historic themes, cafes where you’ll be surrounded by koi fish, cafes with cats & dogs, modern massive-glass-walled cafes, cafes where you get your own bed/workspace, cafes where you chill in beds with curtains by a swimming pool, cafes where you smoke Vietnamese tobacco (thuốc lào) in bamboo water bongs, hundreds of cozy small cafes nestled away in hidden corners, hundreds of cafes on the sidewalks of bustling streets and dozens of other different types of niche cafes that you can stumble upon among the mazes of the winding streets.

You could spend weeks or months checking out a different cafe each day and you’d still discover something interesting and unique every now and then. Perfect for if you’re a digital nomad who likes to work in cafes; in Hanoi, Danang & Ho Chi Minh City, there is no shortage of chill, eccentric and charming cafes.

A view of Long Bien Bridge in Hanoi.

Delicious, Afforable Food

Although each city has its own specialty dishes (check under each city’s “References” heading below for examples), you are able to find tasty food for a couple of dollars a dish on most streets, or in small open-air restaurants, within the urban centers of each city.

Each province in Vietnam has its own specialty dish(es).

Good Launch Points For Weekend Trips

Hanoi, Danang and Ho Chi Minh City are all within a few hours bus ride (or motorbike ride) of a variety of different breathtaking and distinctive locations boasting incredible natural beauty; check under the “References” heading of each city for some examples.

Ok, so now let’s get into some of the differences.

Hanoi (Hà Nội)

Down the Rabbit Hole

Hanoi is a special place; as in, there is nowhere else quite like it. Saying that being in Hanoi feels like stepping back in time kind of encapsulates the idea, but saying it’s like stepping into another world/reality/dimension is probably more accurate.

Many flags and cafes to the side of a traintracks on "Train Street" in Hanoi.
There are dozens of cafes on “Train Street” in Hanoi; trains come by a few times per day.

A completely one-of-a-kind place; you will see things in Hanoi you won’t see anywhere else. Most of the time I walked through the Old Quarter or near Hoan Kiem Lake I would see women walking or taking photos wearing “áo dài” (beautiful, elegant traditional Vietnamese dresses).

A woman wearing an “áo dài” on Long Bien Bridge, a rustic, historic and extremely photogenic bridge near Hanoi’s Old Quarter.

You’ll see people driving around on motorbikes with a tower of hundreds of egg cartons strapped to the back seat or all sorts of gravity-defying crazy sh*t; I’ve seen like 4 cut-in-half (big) pigs draped over the back seat of a bike. Almost every commute I’d catch a glimpse of something that’d make me do a double-take, like, “What the f*ck did I just see?”

Xe gà

When I lived in Hanoi, I felt like my life was a surreal adventure, like something in an adventure novel, more so than I felt in Danang or Ho Chi Minh City. In Hanoi, you can be completely submerged in a culture and way of life that is unlike anything that you’ve ever experienced.

A Strong, Proud Culture

Not only is Hanoi the political capital of the country, but it is widely regarded as the cultural capital of Vietnam, comparable to how Chaing Mai is regarded as the cultural capital of Thailand. Hanoi is over 1,000 years old and is often referred to as “the cradle of Vietnamese civilization” (as well as the entire Red River Delta).

A water puppet show in Hanoi.

When I met locals in Hanoi, they would generally be very enthusiastic to share with me different facts about their city’s culture and history; I could hear the genuine passion and pride in their voices. When I met Hanoian girls, they would actually want to take me out to show me a popular local street food spot, or a quick motorbike tour of historic landmarks. They weren’t expecting me to take them to a fancy, pretentious, expensive Western restaurant; they honestly didn’t care about that.

One of the first Vietnamese locals I ever met, in 2016, took me on a short motorbike tour to point out some special places in Hanoi; I thought that was pretty cool of her.

The City of Lakes

Hanoi has numerous different tranquil lakes; the most famous being Hoan Kiem Lake (Hồ Hoàn Kiếm) and West Lake (Hồ Tây). Truc Bach Lake (Hồ Trúc Bạch) is pretty nice too.

Hoan Kiem is like the center of the community in central Hanoi. On weekends, they close the streets surrounding the lake and thousands of happy people walk around, sing, dance, play games and do a variety of other activities together. All of it’s just for fun; nobody is trying to earn money.

The streets surrounding Hoan Kiem become a walking zone on the weekends.

During the day, you can sit on benches around the peaceful lake and listen to the wind rustling through the trees and the sounds of the city. Most of the time I would sit by this lake, a friendly local would come up and chat with me.

The legend of Hoan Kiem Lake (“Restored Sword Lake“) in a nutshell: Over 500 years ago a Vietnamese emperor was at war with enemies of Vietnam. On the shores of Hoan Kiem Lake, a giant turtle approached the emperor and gave him a mythical sword. The emperor used the sword to vanquish the enemies of Vietnam, and then he came back to the lake. As he reached the lake, the sword flew out of his hands and into the giant turtle’s mouth; the turtle then returned beneath the surface of the lake. The sword was returned. The sword was restored.

The West Lake is a large serene lake and is excellent for watching a sunset among one of the many cafes and restaurants along the perimeter; often people set up chairs facing the lake and you just buy drinks from them to sit in their chairs.

There are dozens of spots where you can eat and drink with a nice view of West Lake.

Also, West Lake is awesome to take a lazy motorbike, or bicycle, ride around. At night, couples will pull up their motorbikes to the edge of the lake; it’s quite romantic with the moon reflecting off the calm mirror-like surface.

Truc Bach Lake is a smaller lake adjacent to the West Lake, the streets surrounding it are packed full of great food spots and cafes.

Truc Bach Lake in the foreground and West Lake in the background, separated by Tran Quoc (Trấn Quốc) Pagoda in between two landbridges.

Pollution and Traffic

As you can see in the above image, Hanoi’s sky is usually not clear. Although this blanket of haze does contribute a feeling of coziness and to some pretty crazy and colorful sunsets, this air pollution is definitely not good for your health. Hanoi objectively has the highest level of air pollution in the country.

The reason for this air pollution is caused by the immense amount of motorbikes on the road. For the most part, Hanoi generally has thinner roads than the roads in Danang and Ho Chi Minh City, so traffic can get pretty tight and congested during rush hours; if Hanoi’s roads were arteries, then Hanoi would be having a heart attack during rush hour. Luckily my schedule was in a way where I rarely had to drive during rush hour; I’d recommend that you also try to avoid driving during rush hour.

Definitely removes some of the thrill and romanticism of riding a motorbike.

Home By Midnight

For the most part, bars, restaurants and everything else are completely shut by midnight (some spots in the Old Quarter stay open until 2:00 on weekends, but it’s not hectic). Hanoi is not a city where you will find people partying on the street together until the sun comes up.

Last call.

Although traditional Hanoian women are typically very honest, loyal, caring and loving, it is extremely unlikely that you’ll find one who will want to go out drinking with you all night.

For a big city, Hanoi is quite safe, secure and pure; however, the flip side to that is that vices are going to be restricted.

Hanoi: A Special Place

Different Hanoians I’ve met have told me, something along the lines of, every time they leave the city, a deep-down part of them always misses it; every time they return, they feel like they’re finally comfortable again. It’s like an intangible feeling and they can’t exactly put their finger on it as to why.

I can understand and appreciate this. Something about Hanoi seems to creep into your psyche the longer that you’re there. Being nestled amongst the charming, rustic, authentic, narrow, thin, twisting historic streets makes you feel snug, secure and hidden from the edged realities of the outside world and your past. It’s like a fuzzy blanket for your mind; the feeling is difficult to understand without experiencing it firsthand.

Adjusting to, and getting around, Hanoi has its challenges, but if you take the plunge and fully immerse yourself in the world of Hanoi, you will find a place quite unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Consequently, when you’re surrounded by a reality where absolutely nothing reminds you of anything you’ve ever known, you’ll grow to be a more open-minded and diverse individual than you ever could in a familiar environment.

Hanoi holds a special place in my heart and mind, it is truly a unique and enchanting place full of tough, proud people; I’m looking forward to returning there someday.

Hanoi Quick References

Famous Architecture in Hanoi:

The Mausoleum of President Ho Chi Minh:

The Mausoleum of President Ho Chi Minh in Ba Dinh Square.

St. Joseph’s Cathedral:

St. Joseph’s Cathedral near Hoan Kiem Lake.

Long Biên Bridge:

The historic Long Bien Bridge has been repaired and rebuilt multiple times since it was first constructed in 1903. It’s pretty exhilarating to ride a motorbike across (no cars allowed).

Delicious Hanoi Specialty Food (Look For These Names On Signs):

Bún Chả Hà Nội:

Bun cha Hanoi is my #1 all-time favorite Vietnamese dish. The first time I tried bún chả, I ate it every day for a week.

Phở Cuốn:

I like to call them “Vietnamese mini burritos” (but healthier). Most pho cuon rolls have beef inside, but these pork ones look pretty dece too.

Excursions from Hanoi:

Hạ Long Bay:

Halong Bay, world-famous and breathtaking, but usually crowded with boats full of tourists.

Sa Pa:

Sapa is a mountain town famous for terraced rice fields, but is quickly becoming ultra developed.

Hà Giang:

Ha Giang is a remote province near China with mountainous terraced rice fields. Possibly where the concept of a postcard was first conceived.

Ha Giang is magical and gorgeous.

Ninh Bình:

Ninh Binh, where the most recent King Kong movie was filmed.

Hanoi Main Party Street:

Tạ Hiện Street:

Ta Hien Street (“Beer Street”), balls-deep into the Old Quarter.

Hanoi Expat Area:

Tây Hồ:

Tay Ho, a peninsula sticking out into the West Lake.

Danang (Đà Nẵng)

Surreal City

The first time I went to Danang in 2017, I couldn’t believe it. I was like, “Ok, so what’s the catch? There’s this incredible beach and breathtakingly lit-up city, and I can just live here for like $1,000 a month? Really? Why the f*ck doesn’t everyone do that then?”

Danang honestly looks like heaven on Earth; it’s hands-down the most aesthetically gorgeous city I’ve ever seen.

Stunning Beach

There are actually a few beaches near Danang, but the most popular and most impressive (imo) is My Khe (Mỹ Khê) Beach. When standing on the wide serene white-sand beach, you can look to your left to see the massive marble “Lady Buddha” statue nestled into Monkey mountain on the Sơn Trà peninsula that sticks out into the cerulean sea.

You can see the bright-white Lady Buddha statue on the mountain in the background.

Danang is awesome because if you’re living anywhere near the city center, you can be at the beach within a 5 to 10-minute motorbike ride. If you’re living in the expat area, you can be at the beach within a 5 to 10-minute walk.

Everywhere in Danang is just a few minutes from the beach. Everywhere in Danang is just a few minutes from the river too.

Eye Candy

Danang is completely lit up by colorful LEDs. The famous Dragon Bridge (Cầu Rồng) alone has 5,000 LEDs. This bridge not only symphonically blends between vibrant hues of color but also “spits” out fire and water on the weekends.

It’s not only the dragon bridge that’s covered with LEDs. When taking a breezy nighttime stroll beside the expansive Han (Hàn) River running through the center of Danang, you’ll see multiple different lit-up bridges, mini skyscrapers and even a giant Ferris Wheel displaying sensory-stimulating patterns of lights; except you’ll be seeing double because everything will also be reflecting radiantly and symmetrically off of the inky river below.

The 4 LED-Lit Bridges (from front [south] to back [north]): Tran Thi Ly Bridge (unpictured, it’s directly below the camera), Dragon Bridge (foreground), Han Bridge and Thuan Phuoc Bridge (in the background).

Easy Life

In my experience, I found things in Danang to be about 25% cheaper than in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Danang has a much slower pace and laidback vibe; you can feel it in the air.

Danang is an extremely safe city, even petty theft is relatively rare in Danang (but it does happen). I’ve been blackout drunk, on the street, with jewelry around my neck multiple times in Danang and I’ve always been completely fine. I’ve left my motorbike unattended on the street for days, and my phone in bars all night, never had a problem.

The streets are wide and the traffic is negligible compared to in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Most days you’ll be greeted with a crystal-clear blue sky, but in recent years the air pollution levels have started to creep up.

Living in Danang is an easy life, for sure.

Less Variety

Being a fraction of the size of the other cities, Danang understandably has much more limited options for restaurants, bars and personalities. There are a few big nightclubs in the city center, a couple of beach bars and maybe a couple dozen sports bars and pubs scattered throughout the city center and expat area.

The expat population is quite homogeneous in that most expats in Danang are middle-aged white dudes; the expat area is actually nicknamed “Crackertown” (really). Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met a lot of cool middle-aged white dudes; I’m all for sitting outside on a breezy day and day-drinking with middle-aged white dudes. I’m slowly gettin’ to be a middle-aged white dude myself. However, personally, I like chilling with middle-aged white dudes in moderation, not necessarily 365 days a year. They don’t much like my type of music either. Also, the guy-to-girl ratio in most bars in Danang is generally around 5:1 or worse (the clubs downtown are usually a bit more even though).

Bring a Book

As there are fewer options for entertainment and mental stimulation compared to a big city, if you tend to have a more hyperactive mind, you may find yourself getting a bit bored and stir-crazy after a while.

Despite having a population of over 1 million people, Danang has a small-town-sorta vibe, complete with small-town charms such as people gossiping about each other, running into your ex at the night market and just a general lack of anonymity.

Danang: Idle Paradise

Danang allows a super-relaxed, chill and easy lifestyle, but it may not necessarily be somewhere where you are going to expand your mind and become a more diverse, worldly individual, or make a lot of profound memories that you will look back on. However, if you’re feeling like you’re at a point where you just want to kick back and enjoy life, then Danang is the ultimate place for that.

Danang is insanely beautiful; walking along the riverside you’ll feel like you’re in a dream, especially around dusk. Stress-free and uncomplicated, you’re not likely to ever feel overwhelmed or disoriented like you easily could in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.

A young Western man standing next to Danang river and many different beautiful heart lights. The LED-lit city skyline can be seen in the background.
Walking along the riverside in Danang is mesmerizing.

If anyone asked me for a recommendation as to where they should go for a relaxing vacation, I would 100% say Danang. Many Hanoians and Saigonese regularly holiday in Danang. Once covid f*cks off a bit, I’ll probably make it my mission to spend at least a couple weeks there each year.

Danang Quick References

Famous Architecture in Danang:

Lady Buddha:

The Lady Buddha Statue at Linh Ung Pagoda.

Delicious Danang Specialty Food (Look For These Names On Signs):

Bánh Xèo:

Banh xeo are like “Vietnamese (savory) pancakes”.

Mì Quảng:

I really like noodle dishes like this that have a bit of broth at the bottom, but not too much that it’s like a soup.

Excursions from Danang:

Hội An:

A Western man and a Vietnamese girl on a boat lit by lanterns in Hoi An.
Hoi An is a romantic destination and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Back when I was fat.

Huế & Hải Vân Pass

Hue Imperial Citidal.

Bà Nà Hills:

The cable car, bridge and view (on a clear day) are pretty awesome but the rest of Ba Na Hills is kinda just like a Disneyland.

Lý Sơn:

Ly Son is a destination lesser-known by foreign tourists. It’s four volcanic islands with crystal clear water and unreal seafood.

Danang Main Party(ish) Street:

Bạch Đằng Street:

Bach Dang Street is mostly just for walking around and enjoying the river, but there are a few popular clubs and bars along there.

Danang Expat Area:

An Thượng:

I usually try to avoid expat areas, but An Thuong is actually alright. It’s near the beach, and prices aren’t too bad compared to Hanoi and HCMC expat areas.

Ho Chi Minh City (Thành Phố Hồ Chí Minh) AKA Saigon (Sài Gòn)

The City That Never Sleeps

On my first night in Vietnam, a local on Beer Street in Hanoi said to me, “Ho Chi Minh City never sleeps, because the money never sleeps.

Although New York City was originally termed the city that never sleeps, Ho Chi Minh City is like a SE Asian cousin of New York City in some ways. For one, they’re both the financial centers of their respective countries.

Many bars are open late, especially in District 1. Some bars won’t close at all if there are still people buying drinks. When I go out drinking, I usually end up getting home as the sun cracks the horizon.

I’ve never been one for going out drinking for just a couple hours, might as well go for 12h+ sesh and make it worth it.

Bars are open until early hours and people go to the market at 4:00 AM to buy fresh ingredients for their kitchens, shops and restaurants; Ho Chi Minh City truly does never sleep.

The city is full of bustling open-air Vietnamese-style restaurant-bars (where groups of locals usually pound cases of cheap beer), as well as hundreds of Western-style establishments with closed doors and aircon. On a typical weekend (and on some weekdays too), thousands of restaurants and bars, large and small, are completely full.

Open-air Vietnamese-style restaurant-bars get absolutely lit on weekends.

Ho Chi Minh City is notorious for having dozens of rooftop bars (and pools) with outstanding views, but most of them aren’t cheap (although I have found one or two reasonably-priced spots).

Most rooftop bars are extravagant and overpriced, but I found a good one with hip-hip, $2 Budweiser bottles and a dope view of the city center and Landmark 81.

Cosmopolitan City

As New York City is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in America, Ho Chi Minh City is undisputably the most cosmopolitan city in Vietnam. There are a variety of different types of restaurants boasting cuisines from all over the globe.Near the city center, you’re liable to find an Indian restaurant, a steak house, a sushi restaurant, an open-air Vietnamese restaurant-bar, an Italian restaurant, a Chinese hotpot restaurant, a cafe, a Western fast-food joint, a Korean BBQ and a Vietnamese food stall all lined-up adjacent to each other on the street.

Ho Chi Minh City has more expats than any other city in Vietnam; in 2019, Ho Chi Minh City was actually ranked as the 3rd best city in the world for expats.

Ho Chi Minh City scored well on “Happiness Level”, “Local Cost of Living”, “Finance & Housing” and “Urban Work Life”.

In Ho Chi Minh City, you will encounter a variety of different types of expats and travelers, people of different races, ages, countries, personalities and genders; a heterogeneous mix. You’ll often see Vietnamese (guys and girls) and foreigners mingling with each other on the street and in bars (except less so in the expat area).

The City Has a Pulse

When going out at night, whether on your bike or on the back of a motorbike taxi, you can feel the excitement in the air like static electricity as you zip through the city. Within 5 minutes, you could pass by hundreds of people eating, laughing and drinking on chairs and plastic stools on the sidewalk; the energy is contagious.

Within the distance, you’ll be able to see Landmark 81 (the 16th tallest skyscraper in the world) lighting up the skyline with hundreds of meters of LEDs, like a lightning rod attracting buzzing electrons to add to the elation in the atmosphere of the lively city below.

Landmark 81, the 16th tallest skyscraper in the world.

Most Vietnamese hip-hop comes out of Ho Chi Minh City too, you’ll be hearing a few Vietnamese bangers if you spend a lot of time at bars, clubs and even cafes (outside of the expat area).

Vietnamese hip-hop has been exponentially gaining popularity in Vietnam recently.

Girls in Bars, Not Bargirls

Ok there are a lot of bargirls too, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

In Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll see a more even ratio of guys and girls in the bars. Whereas in Hanoi and Danang, women are generally more likely to go for milk tea or to a cafe at night, in Ho Chi Minh City it’s much more common to see women sipping cocktails or beers in most bars. In my experience, if a girl doesn’t work the next day, then there’s a decent chance she’ll be down to go out drinking late with you.

Sin City?

Although there is a lot of freedom and opportunities to play, there are repercussions to that. You’ll see more drug addicts, local and foreign, than in the other two major cities in Vietnam. Petty theft is quite common, especially phone snatchings from motorbikes. Also, watch your jewelry and the stuff in your pockets when you’re out on a busy street.

Two men on a motorbike snatching a camera from a woman on a street in Vietnam.
Check out my “7 Tips to Protect Your Phone from Theft While Traveling or Living Abroad” article for some advice on avoiding this happening to you.

More Materialistic than the Rest of Vietnam, but Less than a Western Country

For better or for worse, Ho Chi Minh City has more of a Westernized attitude than anywhere else in Vietnam. Although still much less materialistic and consumeristic than a Western country, you will occasionally encounter greedy Western tactics such as deceitful advertising of prices, bars and restaurants trying to inflate the bill with hidden charges, or even bars just straight-up adding sh*t you didn’t order.

Some of the more upscale Western clubs and rooftop bars try and keep their extortionate prices a secret until after you’ve already paid the cover charge. They train their staff, and even the doormen, to not answer questions about the prices until people are already inside and paid cover; a super greedy, deceitful, tryna-Westernize-everything, greasy maneuver.

Fair f*cking question.

Although most people in Ho Chi Minh City are awesome, you are much more likely to encounter someone with a gold digger mentality in Ho Chi Minh City than anywhere else in Vietnam; gold diggers tend to conglomerate to Ho Chi Minh City from all over the country, like tech startups to the Silicon Valley.

Pollution and Traffic

Pollution and traffic in Ho Chi Minh City are better than in Hanoi but much worse than in Danang.

Ho Chi Minh City: Big City Mentality

Ho Chi Minh City is excellent if you crave the hectic mania that comes from living in a large high-energy city. You’ll most likely encounter a wider variety of different types of people than you would in Hanoi or Danang.

Ho Chi Minh City’s theme song imo.

It’s a city where you can truly have a night out that twists and turns; there are more possibilities and there’s a much broader range of outcomes to your night (for better or for worse).

Fall in love cautiously. Keep your street smarts about you to avoid getting ripped off or your belongings snatched. There are safer cities and there are more dangerous cities in the world. Don’t be paranoid, but don’t forget, Ho Chi Minh City definitely has teeth to it.

Although more similar to a Western city than the rest of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City still definitely claims its own character, a vibrant, energetic, dynamic, thrilling, slightly-dangerous character that’s easy to get addicted to.

Ho Chi Minh City Quick References

Famous Architecture in Ho Chi Minh City:

Independence Palace AKA Reunification Palace:

Independence Palace AKA Reunification Palace in District 1 in Ho Chi Minh City.

Notre Dame Cathedral:

The Notre Dame Cathedral has been closed for years to carry out renovations.

Delicious Ho Chi Minh City Specialty Food (Look For This Name On Signs):

Cơm tấm sườn:

Com tam suon, broken rice with a pork chop on top. Vietnamese food.
Com tam suon, broken rice with pork ribs (often boneless). Notice how the rice grains are all broken in half; it’s easier to digest than full grains of rice imo.

Excursions from Ho Chi Minh City:

Đà Lạt:

A lot of Saigonese like to escape the heat of Ho Chi Minh City in the hills of Dalat; a lot of fresh fruit in Vietnam comes from Dalat, and it’s one of the few places in SE Asia with pine trees.

Vũng Tàu:

2 hours from HCMC, you can take a break from the big city and get some seafood and beach in ya.

Mũi Né:

You can find sand dunes and a peaceful beach at Mui Ne.

Phú Quốc:

Phu Quoc has a lot of resorts and a cable car that looms high over the sea.

Ho Chi Minh City Main Party Street:

Bùi Viện:

The infamous Bui Vien street, like an abusive ex that you just can’t keep away from.

Ho Chi Minh City Expat Area:

Thảo Điền:

Thao Dien, the Westerner Headquarters in Vietnam.

So Which City Is Right For You?

If you are trying to decide which city you want to live in for years to come, I would highly recommend spending at least 2-4 weeks in each city, and try to experience the city as much as possible. Talk to strangers, try out food you’ve never tried before, check out bars and restaurants, wander around the city center, swipe right a few times, whatever.

If you’re just traveling, then definitely try to spend at least a few days in each of the big 3 cities, and try to check out some of the notable locations surrounding each city too if you have time.

If you’ve already spent time in Hanoi, Danang and Ho Chi Minh City, then let us know what your thoughts were; let’s hear it in the comments.


James | MosaicWriting.com



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Martin Martin
Martin Martin
9 months ago

actually great read mate, Im living personally in Hanoi for 5 years, but considering switching to Da Nang (beach, nature + clear air)