2-Week Southeast Asia Itineraries for Honeymoons, Families, and More. Learn more.
Hanoi vs Ho Chi Minh City: 6 Interesting Facts

Hanoi vs Ho Chi Minh City: 6 Interesting Facts

By Ruby ZhaoUpdated Nov. 2, 2022

Hanoi (capital city) and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) are the two biggest cities in Vietnam. Both provide travelers with multiple sightseeing activities, various shopping opportunities, plenty of food choices, distinctive accommodation, and more. Like Washington D.C. and New York in the United States, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City represent Vietnam's economic and political centers respectively.

When visiting these two cities, you will encounter many interesting differences.

6 Interesting Facts about Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh

hanoi vs ho chi minhHo Chi Minh City VS Hanoi

1. Urban Size and Population: Hanoi is 3324 square kilometers in size and had a population of around 7 million. Ho Chi Minh is smaller at around 2090 square kilometers in size but has a population of 12 million.

2. International connection: Ho Chi Minh City has the largest airport in Vietnam, Tan Son Nhat International Airport, while Hanoi has the second largest airport in the country, Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport. The airport in Ho Chi Minh provides more international flight connections and is the most popular gateway to the country.

3. City vibe: Hanoi has a more traditional appearance with old quarters, local markets, narrow lanes, and low buildings. Some people say Hanoi provides a more authentic view of Vietnamese life and culture. On the other hand, Ho Chi Minh is a modern city with the tallest skyscraper in Vietnam, newer and broader roads, trendy shopping malls, rooftop bars, and a variety of international restaurants.

4. Housing prices: The best apartments in the old city area of Ho Chi Minh will cost around USD9,000 per square meter while in Hanoi it will only around USD5,000. In business district areas, apartments will costs around USD4,000 per square meter in Ho Chi Minh and around USD3,000 per square meter in Hanoi. It is often said that Ho Chi Minh's economy is ahead of Hanoi's by around 5-10 years.

5. Western influence: Ho Chi Minh was greatly influenced by the US and France during the Vietnam War and French colonization. You will see many foreigners from all over the world traveling and living here in both tourist districts and residential areas. There are 19 districts in Ho Chi Minh and the new 7th is international and mainly for foreigners. In Hanoi, you will mostly only see foreigners in tourist areas.

6. Climate: Located in the north of Vietnam and surrounded by mountains, Hanoi is usually cooler than Ho Chi Minh. Take January for example. At this time, the lows in Hanoi are around 14℃ (57.2℉) while in Ho Chi Minh it is around 21℃ (69.8℉).

The Best Southeast Asia Tour for First-timers

What Our Customers Said

Consumer, Jun 2020
Lurinda Smith Barton Barnwell, Mar 2020
Eva and Jim, Oct 2019
Eva and Jim, Oct 2019
cdietp, May 2019
cdietp, May 2019
Terry, Feb 2019
Terry, Feb 2019

Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh Tour Ideas

Have you got an idea about which city you want to visit during your Vietnam trip? The tours in the surrounding areas of these two cities might help you make your final decision.

Hanoi:

To get to the Halong Bay cruise from Hanoi, it takes around 3 hours by car. The cruise company usually arranges a coach bus transfer from the hotel to the pier for free or with additional USD5-10 per person.

Don't want to share a bus or wait for pickups from different hotels? We're happy to arrange private transfers with/without an English-speaking guide for you. Contact Asia Highlights to tailor-make your tour.

If you don't want to spend 6 hours getting to and from Halong Bay and you're not interested in cruises, then Ninh Binh is a good option. Here you can also enjoy the karst landscapes and countryside scenery of North Vietnam. It takes about 2 hours by car from Hanoi to Ninh Binh. Your visit can be arranged within one day with guests returning to their Hanoi hotels the same night.

To reach Sapa from Hanoi, it takes about 6 hours by car or 9 hours by overnight train. Check out the Top Things to do in Sapa.

Ho Chi Minh:

One of the most popular tours near Ho Chi Minh city is visiting the Mekong Delta.

Cai Rang Floating MarketCai Rang Floating Market in Can Tho

You can take a day trip to Cai Be, Cai Lay, Vinh Long, or Ben Tre which takes around 1.5-2 hours by car. Lush rice paddies, fruit farms, coconut candy workshops, and boat rides will help you escape from hustle and bustle of the city and relax. Among the areas of the Mekong Delta, Cai Lay and Vinh Long are more pristine and untouched, but the tourist facilities in Cai Be and Ben Tre are more developed.

If you have 2 days available to explore more Ho Chi Minh, a good option is to stay one night in Can Tho (the biggest city in the Mekong Delta) to experience the Cai Rang Floating Market which is available only from 4 am to 8 am. Unlike the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in Thailand which is mainly for tourists, the Cai Rang Floating Market is still used by local people for trade.

You can also visit Cai Be, Cai Lay, Vinh Long, or Ben Tre on the first day before heading to Can Tho (another 1.5-2 hours). After enjoying the floating market on the morning of the second day, you can head back to Ho Chi Minh by car (3-4 hours). From Can Tho, there are direct flights to Hanoi and Danang (the closest airport to Hoi An).

Sync with Indochina's Heartbeat

Traveling from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh

For the first time visitors to Vietnam, it's a good idea to explore as much of this stunning country as possible. To do this, most travelers will not choose one city but add both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh together to their trip. There are 3 main ways to get from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh: by train, by bus, and by plane.  

Plane (Best Option): This is the most recommended means of transport for those who want to travel around Vietnam. Flights are short and take about 2 hours from north to south. Though it costs more than traveling by train or bus, flying is time-efficient and also affordable. Some budget airlines even provide ticket fares around USD50.

Train (Second-best Option): The journey by train will take around 34 hours and cost USD60-70. You will need to spend two nights on the train. Traveling this way is a good chance to see the countryside scenery, but be prepared for a bumpy and noisy ride due to the narrow tracks.

Bus (Third-best Option): The time it takes to travel by bus is similar to that of a train ride. There will be several stops on the way for a short rest. You can choose between seat buses and sleeper buses. The one downside of traveling by bus is that it is less spacious making it a big challenge to be comfortable for such a long journey.

Recommended Tours

Tour Vietnam Your Way with Us

No matter which city you choose to visit or whether you decide to visit both, we're here ready to work with you to create your personalized Vietnam journey.

Why Travel with Asia Highlights During the Pandemic

  • Tailor-made experience: All of your ideas/needs will be carefully considered to create your ideal trip.
  • Worry-free planning: Your 1:1 travel consultant in Asia will take all the uncertainty out of your planning, helping you navigate any travel restrictions. 
  • No-risk booking: 100% refund policy! (up to 14 days before departure)

Get Inspired with Our Sample Itineraries

At Asia Highlights, we create your kind of journey — your dates, your destinations, at your pace. You can have any trip tailor made for your travel.

More Travel Ideas and Inspiration

We are here to help you...
Start planning your tailor-made tour with 1-1 help from our travel advisors. Create My Trip
4.9 ExcellentTrustPilot rating TrustPilot Logo

The Asia Highlights Experience

1-to-1 Expert Planning

1-to-1 Expert Planning

Your tour will be tailor-made to suit you by a destination expert. Your personal travel advisor will always reply within 24 hours.

Personal Journeys

Personal Journeys

Enjoy having your own personal local guide and ride. Explore destinations at your own pace. Have as much flexibility as possible.

Authentic Experiences

Authentic Experiences

Go beyond the sightseeing. Understand the destinations by practicing the local culture and interacting with local people.

One-Stop Service

One-Stop Service

Leave all the booking work to us, including international and internal transportation, visas, hotels, meals, and activities.

About Us
At Asia Highlights, we are committed to providing you an affordable, quality private tour, whether it's a family vacation, a honeymoon, or your annual break — your planning will be made easy with just one specialist throughout. Know more ...
Rated 4.9 out of 5 | Excellent
Featured on
Medias