Articles 10 Jul 2024

Ho Chi Minh City vs Hanoi: Which City is the Better Vacation Spot?

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and Hanoi are the two most popular cities in Vietnam among tourists. The main reason is that both cities offer a wealth of culture, cuisine, and entertainment in Vietnam. If you are wondering which city to visit for your next Vietnam vacation, read this article to see a comparison between the two cities!

Tourist destinations

Ho Chi Minh City is a cosmopolitan city that is rich in historical narratives. Some tourist spots that you can visit while in this city include the Water Puppet Theater, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the War Remnants Museum. You can also visit the Cu Chi Tunnels and Mekong Delta River, which played a significant role for the Vietnamese communist soldiers, or Viet Cong, during the Vietnam War.

On the other hand, Hanoi, the capital city, is the cultural hub of Vietnam. When you visit, be sure to explore the Old Quarter, which is filled with restaurants, local artisan shops, and pagodas located within a maze of streets. Also, do not miss out on Hoàn Kiếm Lake, or the “Sword Lake”, a historic lake in the heart of the city, and Văn Miếu, or the “Temple of Literature”, the first national university in Vietnam.


When it comes to food, Ho Chi Minh City is the culinary capital of Vietnam. The city offers many food choices, especially if you want to taste fusion food that combines traditional Vietnamese cuisine with flavors from other countries such as France, Japan, China, and the Mediterranean. You can find various unique dishes in this city, from street food to luxurious restaurants.

Meanwhile, culturally rich Hanoi tends to offer more local and traditional dishes. If you are planning a culinary tour in Vietnam, Hanoi is the perfect city to visit. When in this city, make sure to try pho (Vietnamese noodle soup), ca phe trung (egg coffee), banh cuon (rolled rice noodles), banh xeo (Vietnamese crepes), oc luoc xa (steamed snails), and kem xoi (ice cream with sticky rice). According to the travel agency Holidify, Hanoi is also known as home to the best pho in Vietnam!


Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi have different climate spectrums besides tourist destinations and food. That’s right, even though they are in the same country, these two cities do not have the same seasons. Ho Chi Minh City, located in southern Vietnam, has a tropical climate like Indonesia. As a result, this city only has two seasons, the rainy season from May to November and the dry season from December to April.

In contrast, Hanoi, located about 1,000 kilometers north of Ho Chi Minh City, has a humid subtropical climate with a dry winter. As a result, this city experiences four seasons of spring, summer, fall, and winter. According to several travel agency websites, the best times to visit Hanoi are from September to November and from March to May each year.

Accommodation and transportation

As a cosmopolitan city, Ho Chi Minh City offers a wide range of accommodations. From luxurious, exclusive five-star hotels to budget-friendly rooms, all are available in this city. Meanwhile, Hanoi offers more mid-range accommodations, with many boutique hotels.

For transportation, the airport in Ho Chi Minh City (Tan Son Nhat International Airport or SGN) has a much larger capacity than the airport in Hanoi (Noi Bai International Airport or HAN). Distance-wise, SGN Airport is also farther from Indonesia compared to HAN Airport. That is why flight costs to Ho Chi Minh City are often slightly more expensive than to Hanoi.

In short, Ho Chi Minh City is a cosmopolitan city offering historical narratives, fusion cuisine, a tropical climate, diverse accommodations and transportation options, and is located in southern Vietnam. On the other hand, Hanoi is the capital city offering cultural narratives, authentic local cuisine, four seasons, and is located in northern Vietnam.

Which city is the better option depends on your preferences. What kind of travel experience are you looking for in Vietnam? After getting tickets and planning your itinerary, make sure to purchase Travel Insurance from MSIG Indonesia, which will provide comprehensive protection for you and your family when traveling domestically or internationally.

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