Finding places to live in Hanoi

Where to Live in Hanoi as an Expat?

Image: Somerset West Point Hanoi

It can be tricky to find a nice place to live in Hanoi, like any rapidly-growing metropolis.

If you are staying in Hanoi for longer than a month, you’ll want to find a place outside of the touristy Old Quarter — the noise, the crowds, the congestion, these are all fun for weekend visits, but they become tedious for a long-term stay.

We discuss some places for a variety of budgets including:

Tip: Best websites to find rental-apartments and roommates in Hanoi, see our list below

Best Neighbourhood: West Lake

Higher-end, boho living with European expats and funky amenities

West Lake is a fun and much sought-after neighbourhood to live, and probably not your first choice unless you are willing to pay mid- to high-end prices for apartments. But keep your eye open for deals, especially on the walkable peripheries of West Lake.

West Lake is the centre for expats of European ancestry (versus other neighbourhoods dominated by Koreans and Japanese). The neighbourhood lies just north of the Old Quarter, along the eastern side of the lake of the same name. It has a lot of the same consumer-facing amenities as the Old Quarter, but there is more greenery, less traffic, and more funky establishments that cater to hip nomads and young expats families, such as artisanal pizza, craft breweries, and co-working spaces. Here, you won’t find the mega-malls that plight the suburbs of Hanoi.

West lake serviced apartments for expats
English signs for “serviced apartments” are everywhere in West Lake. Credit: William@VietnamDaily

It is relatively expensive to live within West-Lake proper, especially if you want a lake-view apartment. On the plus side, you are less likely to be disturbed at night with loud parties, karaoke, or incessant honking. There are a lot of narrow, 3- or 4-story apartments within the maze-like alleyways that snake through the cramped residential blocks.

If affordability is your top priority, you can simply cross east of the Âu Cơ highway — the unofficial boundary between the Western-catering Tây Hồ and the more local-Vietnamese neighbourhoods of Thôn Đông, towards the Red River. You’ll get the benefits of living local-style but within walking-distance to the West-Lake amenities.

Tip: many serviced apartments also have listings on See our list of websites to find housing online in Hanoi

Đội Cấn/Liễu Giai – A Pleasant Spill-Over from West Lake

Mid-range, peripheries of West Lake

If you want something close and to West Lake, but more affordable, check out the communities of Đội Cấn and Liễu Giai to the south of the lake, and Bưởi on the west side of West Lake. Both of these areas areas predominantly local-Vietnamese and have fewer amenities (possibly none in English). They serve as a sort of overflow-zone for foreigners who want to be close to the cool-vibe of West Lake, but without the high-prices and craziness. The neighbourhoods feel safer, quieter and more authentically Vietnamese than the centres of Hanoi.

Đội Cấn/Liễu Giai are on the south side of West Lake, not far from the museums and government offices of the French Quarter. There are lots of small, local cafes and restaurants that cater to normal Vietnamese people. These local restaurants are almost always more delicious and cheaper than the touristy joints in West Lake.

Neighbourhood of Đội Cấn/Liễu Giai in Hanoi, a nice place
Cozy residences and small businesses along in area of Đội Cấn/Liễu Giai, on the souther tip of West Lake and close to the French Quarter. Photo credit: Head Honda Phong Ha

Bưởi is on the west-side of the lake and is a popular hangout for Vietnamese students, with lots of coffee shops, bicycle rental shops, corny street-events for young children. You can find lots of homestays in tall, narrow apartments hidden in the back-alley mazes away from the Lake. In addition to local amenities and wet-markets, it also is the location of new mega-mall/condo developments along the Võ Chí Công highway — we find this a great mix of traditional/local establishments and new mega-mall developments.

In these three neighbourhoods, there will be high-end apartments along the lake with lake-views. So, to find mid-range and affordable apartments, you’ll need to go inland a bit within the maze of local-style alleyways. Don’t be surprised if people cannot communicate in English very well.

Văn Miếu – Close to the Old Quarter

Low to mid-range, on the periphery of the exciting Old Quarter

The neighbourhood of Văn Miếu sits to the west of the Old Quarter. It is far enough that it isn’t so touristy with foreigners, but it does have attractions that cater to Vietnamese tourists like the Temple of Literature and the Tet festival park at lake Hồ Giám

In Văn Miếu, you’ll get all the benefits and amenities of living close to the Old Quarter, but without the exorbitant prices. There are lots of cool shops for all types of real-world needs (opposed to the boho nonsense of West Lake) and a great variety of both local restaurants and high-end restaurants.

Unfortunately, being so close to the Old Quarter, the traffic is still pretty bad along the main arteries. But, Văn Miếu offers plenty of quieter accommodations along side streets and deep alley-ways that are affordable, for both low- to mid-range incomes.

Walking to the Old Quarter could take a long time (~30 minutes for 2.5 km). But, along the way, you pass the iconic train street and Tống Duy Tân street-food street.

Super Cheap Accomodations in Hanoi

Tips where to find the best deals

There are plenty of affordable options across Hanoi, but they aren’t necessarily clustered in one area. Instead, search by subtraction — avoid West Lake and the Old Quarter and their peripheries. For example, go past the more-industrial street of Đê La Thành or cross the Long Biên bridge . Seek opportunities down long maze-like alleyways and side-streets, and avoid places where there are major condo-developments.

For extended stays, consider saving money by bunking-up with a roommate. You can find roommates on expats Facebook Groups like Hanoi Rental Commity.

Accomodations for Young Families with Children in Hanoi

Head to Condo-land for child-friendly accomodations

If you are looking a safe place for children in Hanoi, without the fear of motorcycles-on-the-sidewalk traffic, you are best to leave the Urban centre altogether and venture out to Condo-land. Look for large recently-constructed condo-buildings: many of these have playgrounds and large lobbies that are bustling with young-children and elderly nannies during the work-day. These condos will offer your children plenty of play-friend opportunities.

For example, head out to Goldmark City or the Phú Gia condos. These condo-developments form a ring around the city, and are close to major highways. Many of the the new condos will also have short-term rentals on websites like (e.g. PentStudio West Lake) so you can get to know the vicinity and its foibles before you commit to a lease.

The down-side of living on the far outskirts of Hanoi is the level of construction: where there is one condo development finished, there will be five others in the process of development, resulting in a lot of noise, dump-trucks, dust, etc.

High-End Accomodations in Hanoi

There are three kinds of high-end accommodations in Hanoi:

  • normal, unremarkable accommodations that are located in desirable neighbourhoods like West Lake, the Old Quarter, or have a nice lake-view;
  • planned mega-developments that are meant to attract and concentrate wealthy elites (e.g. government workers, diplomats, and industrialists) where the residents can advertise their wealth and park their cars safely without hassle (e.g. CiPutra); and
  • dispersed, hidden places that are can be found in every neighbourhood.
Ci Putra is a planed neightbourhood for wealthy elites outside of Hanoi
Ci Putra – an ambitious, ostentatious planned-community for Hanoi’s wealthy and elites to the north-west of West Lake. Photo Credit: Phạm Khắc Thức k70 GDCD-LLCT

Some higher-end communities are:

  • Ci Putra – the “international city” on the north-west outskirts of West Lake.
  • Khu Ngoại Giao Đoàn – are that is famous for housing a lot of affluent foreigners and diplomats who work at Hanoi’s many embassies.
  • Royal City Mall – known residence of famous Vietnamese celebrities, and one of the first luxury-developments in Vietnam.
  • VinHomes Riverside – across the Red River, a planned community of single-family homes with ornate Juliet balconies and a “car in every drive-way”-level of elite consumption.

Also, look for any development by VinHome/VinGroup — Vietnam’s real-estate conglomerate known for high-quality products and integrated services, like school and modern health-care facilities.

Websites to Find Housing in Hanoi

See our dedicated post all about how to find apartments in Vietnam, or read below for the short-version.

The four best ways to find housing online in Vietnam are:

Facebook groups are like the “Craigslist” or “Gumtree” of Vietnam, with the largest number of online-postings by small landlords and brokers. FB Groups are incredibly popular among Vietnamese, and doubly so for dealing with expats. There are many different groups, so join many. Some of the larger one’s are Hanoi Massive Housing (32k users) or Hanoi Expats (19K users). The posts almost always include pictures and many postings are in English. is one of the more popular Vietnamese websites for finding rental accommodations. Be aware of the fake or altered images used in the postings (which is very common). Always visit the place in person before agreeing to anything. Also, you should be aware that most of the postings are by Brokers, and not by the property-owners. Which leads us to our next point…

Brokers are very common in Vietnam for apartment-hunting. Vietnamese brokers are willing to serve lower- and middle-income clients and help them find good deals. This is unlike the USA or Canada, where brokers only want to serve high-end clients looking for million-dollar properties — so take advantage of this service! You can find brokers on the aforementioned websites ( and Facebook Groups). Usually, brokers earn a commission from the property-owner equivalent to 1/2 or 1-month’s rent. is not just for hotels — there are plenty of long-term rentals on Agoda. These apartments will typically be higher-priced and focused on expats, often including superfluous cleaning services (aka ‘serviced apartments’).

The main advantage of using Agoda is that you can see open-reviews by previous guests. Note: the best apartments will be gobbled-up quickly, so if you pursue this option, book well in advanced!

Guide to hanoi's neighbourhoods

Learn more about the different neighbourhoods of Hanoi

See our guide and map about the many different neighbourhoods of Hanoi.

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