Overview of Hanoi

As the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi has a very different atmosphere in comparison to Ho Chi Minh City. It is the second most populous city but it has a fairly small area, so finding a place to settle down here is often more challenging than in other cities in Vietnam. Considering this distinct feature of Hanoi, Vietnamese people have chosen an age-old idiom to associate with this city: an inch of land is an inch of gold. Rental cost, therefore, is also higher even if the housing factors such as area, furniture conditions, cleaning service, etc. are the same. The total cost will often include internet, electricity and water bills, but sometimes other factors come into play depending on the property owners.

hanoi housing expat
A peaceful time in Hanoi

Similar to other cosmopolitan cities in Vietnam, Hanoi’s rental areas also have specific neighborhoods for expats and nomads, where a large number of foreigners stay close together to form a strong community. However, there are still other options to choose from if you want to live among locals or far from the city center. Also, there are many kinds of rental properties to pick depending on your budget and preference. These can be luxury villas, serviced apartments, or even shared houses.

West Lake (Tay Ho) District

This is considered the most expat-dominant neighborhood in Hanoi. It is a combination of modern infrastructure and thousand year-old history. With a large number of foreigners staying here, the need for western-like spots started to rise significantly. Restaurants, wine bars, pubs, and boutique shops, altogether make West Lake District the most vibrant area in the capital. Living inside this entertainment and tourism center will never bore you.

cheap house rentals in hanoi
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

It’s totally possible that you can have a nice dining spot by just walking a few steps away from your house. Although it may sound rather crowded and cramped, West Lake is in fact the least populated district in Hanoi. Expats can well enjoy a quiet environment here at the same time with such convenient and absorbing features around their neighborhood.

apartment for rent in tay ho
A view from West Lake. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Rental here is gnerally more expensive than other districts in Hanoi because of its high-end residential nature and convenient location. Costs range approximately from 200 to 300 USD for shared accomodations; 500 to 3,000 USD for apartments; and 2,500 to even 6,000 USD a month for villas or family houses. The difference in apartment and villa properties will depend on floor area, number of rooms, furnishings, and other household conveniences. All of these rental types are usually fully furnished in high quality conditions. Another thing to keep in mind is that the number of shared houses in this district is quite limited, so it can be difficult for you to find a favorable shared place to live.

Ciputra Hanoi International City

This is an extremely high-class residential area constructed in around 15 years, with foreign investment from an Indonesia corporation. Situated in the northwest of Hanoi, Ciputra Hanoi International City, also known as South Thang Long Urban Complex, has a prime location wrapped around the legendary West Lake in the district and the Red River. The other sides of Ciputra also face many important routes through Hanoi, which provides easy access to the city center, the airport and other areas as well. With a location right beside West Lake, it also has amazing views thanks to the existing beauty from one of the largest natural lakes in Vietnam.

cheap apartments hanoi
Photo: Instagram @lebo240712

Ciputra Hanoi spans a huge area and is recognized as a highly modern urban complex with international standards. Other than residential buildings, schools, entertainment sport clubs, and offices are also parts of this prestigious “city” model. With an initial development of eco culture, we can see that a large amount of land in Ciputra is occupied by trees and a water system, creating a harmonious living environment with nature. You can also find other necessary services on Ciputra’s premises so it’s very convenient. According to a popular Vietnamese online newspaper called dantri, 40% of Ciputra residents are foreigners from more than 70 countries, creating a large international community in this urban area. For those who will bring their families along, consider Ciputra to be your home in Vietnam!

where do expats live in hanoi
Photo: Instagram @_judy_o.o

Basically there are two kinds of housing properties in Ciputra Hanoi, which are all designed for family sizes: low-rise houses and high-rise apartments. It costs from around 850 USD to nearly 2,500 USD a month to rent apartments here. For low-rise villas, rental is much higher and ranges between 1,000 USD and up to 8,000 USD. Again, this depends on what the properties can offer but the general living quality here is highly guaranteed and well-managed.

expat community in hanoi
A neighborhood inside Ciputra. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Hoan Kiem District

Similar to Tay Ho District, Hoan Kiem is named after the lake central in the district. It is also one of the main districts in Hanoi and has a bustling local vibe. Well-known for plenty of old trading centers and shopping malls, Hoan Kiem District wears a lovely ancient atmosphere from both Vietnamese and French culture. Although it is the smallest district in Hanoi, Hoan Kiem’s rich historical value and hectic local life really hold up to its reputation. Staying here can help you experience an authentic Hanoi lifestyle with very northern craft shops and signature food houses scattered across the district.

hanoi property
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

However, not many expats decide to settle down here because it’s more suitable to just be a tourist. Taking a walk around Hoan Kiem Lake at night, visiting ancient landmarks like Hanoi Opera House and Hoa Lo Prison, or doing a little shopping in the souvenir markets in a few days would be more delightful.

But if you want to immerse yourselves in an age-old northern Vietnamese culture, there are still housing options for you to choose. Like Ciputra, houses and apartments are available to rent. However, houses in Hoan Kiem District are traditional Vietnamese, which will often be located in a local neighborhood or tucked away in small alleys.

how to find an apartment in hanoi
A neighborbood in Hoan Kiem District. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Rental cost for houses here is a bit cheaper than in Ciputra Hanoi International City, from 700 USD to 3,000 USD a month. Interestingly, the cost range for apartments is much broader. You can rent one from 600 USD to nearly 3,000 USD. This is because there are many kinds of apartments different in size, room numbers, amenities, and management quality. Make sure to check with a real estate agent clearly before you rent one.

Ba Dinh District

This particular district is home to many governmental buildings not just of Hanoi but also the whole country. It is also famous for our respectful leader’s museum and final resting place, making it one of the most visited districts in Hanoi. Again, it is not a desired settling place for many foreigners because of its administrative and touristy nature. Yet, if you’re looking for a quieter neighborhood in the central area, Ba Dinh is a good choice.

hanoi serviced apartments
One of Christina’s apartments in Ba Dinh District

Actually you can find many houses for rent in this district with a stable price as the properties’ quality is mostly the same. Monthly cost for renting houses of three to five bedrooms in fully-furnished conditions is anywhere from 1,000 USD to 1,200 USD. More facilities means more money but the price will stay under 200 USD. Renting apartments in Ba Dinh is cheaper, from 450 USD to 900 USD for one to two bedrooms, so they have small spaces. This kind of apartment is suitable for expats who are living alone and need to live near the city center.

houses for rent in hanoi
One-bedroom apartment at Christina’s Hanoi

Long Bien District

As the largest district in the capital city, Long Bien is going through many rapid changes, especially in real estate. It is also the only urban district on the east side of the Red River. If the other districts were named after their lakes, this district took the name of a bridge, which has become an iconic landmark of Hanoi’s east side. You can compare Long Bien to District 2 in Ho Chi Minh City: they are both far from the city center, there are many residential buildings in the area and more to come, many important routes pass through these districts making a convenient traffic system. If you want to live in a suburban neighborhood and escape the busy city life at the end of the day, this is what you’re looking for.  

Houses in Long Bien District can have a countryside view due to their specific location. The renting cost is usually between 1,000 to 2,000 USD and most of these properties are very suitable for a family with an affordable budget. The houses will still have three to four bedrooms, a kitchen, living area, and often a garden. As for apartments, there are many options to pick from. You can rent in luxury buildings for over 700 USD or small serviced apartments with prices from only 350 USD to 600 USD.

I hope you have a good idea of where you want to live in Hanoi. There’s plenty of information online to help you. Give our other articles a read to find out more information about Vietnam traveling and living guides.

Guide to House Rentals in Saigon

Cost of Living in Saigon

The Complete Guide to Settling Down in Ho Chi Minh City

If you enjoyed reading this article and would like some more fun info about what to see, do and eat (and a bunch of interesting cafes!) in Vietnam, follow us at the Christina’s blog!

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