Why stay in Hanoi?
Vietnam's capital city of Hanoi wasn't a tourist hotspot for many years, especially for Western visitors - but these days it's a popular destination for backpackers from all over the world. With cultural influences from both East and West, Hanoi is an interesting stop on any tour of SE Asia.
Hanoi has some museums which hearken back to its wartime days, including the Army Museum and Air Force Museum, where you can see some old instruments of combat. The so-called "Hanoi Hilton," Hoa Lo Prison, is mostly no longer visible. All that remains is the Maison Centrale gate and a small museum. There is also the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, where you can see the preserved body of Vietnam's former leader.
But Hanoi is not all war-related sights, of course. There are a couple lovely parks where you can while away the hours (just like the locals), relaxing lakeside. Hanoi is bargain-shopping heaven - its markets are fantastic for finding great deals on silk, custom tailored clothing, wood and lacquerware. You can enjoy an afternoon just wandering Hanoi's old town (though you'd be well-advised to keep an eye out for crazy motorists) or watching a Waterpuppet Theatre show. There's something for just about everyone here.
Hanoi is full of budget accommodations, so finding a cheap bed isn't going to be a problem. Finding one that's quiet enough so you can sleep, however, might be more of a challenge. Those crazy motorists on the streets have no qualms about blasting their horns at nearly all hours. Also remember that "hostels" are not just for the young backpacking crowd - they're perfect for any budget-minded traveler who wants to meet fellow travelers. A few Hanoi hostels worth noting are highlighted here.
Hanoi Backpackers Hostel was opened in 2004 by two Australians and is on a quiet street near the centrally-located St. Joseph's Cathedral. Hanoi Queen Hotel is listed in guidebooks, and is near Hoan Kiem Lake and other Hanoi attractions.
Golden Sun Hotel is also near the Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi's Old Quarter. Bodega Hotel is also in the Old Quarter and can help with your travel needs, including getting visas to Laos or Cambodia.
So, you're not completely enchanted with any of these options? Don't worry! There are plenty of Hanoi hostels listed here. Keep reading the descriptions until you find the right one for you.
If you need anything else for your trip, you're in the right place. You can search for cheap airfare to Hanoi and get on your way. And you can also read more about the city before you get there in our Hanoi Travel Guide.