Hanoi vs Saigon: Which city is better?

When it comes to deciding which city to visit in Vietnam, Hanoi and Saigon (or Ho Chi Minh City) are frequently common options among first-time visitors. At first glance, both cities seem to have a plethora of sightseeing and retail experiences, eating and nightlife choices and hotels to fit almost every budget and choice.

1. Attractions

Hanoi: More temples & natural landscapes

The capital of Vietnam is dotted with well-preserved Buddhist shrines, majestic lakes, and an Old Quarter filled with ancient ruins, some of which are over 1,000 years old. The Temple of Literature, Ngoc Son Temple, One Pillar Pagoda, and Thang Long Imperial Citadel are all notable landmarks. Although the French Quarter has its fair share of colonial villas and mansions, Hanoi is known for its proudly preserved Vietnamese culture and traditions.

Ho Chi Minh City: More war museums & colonial structures

Though Ho Chi Minh City has seen rapid urbanization over the years, there are still many colonial houses, war museums, and historic relics of the Vietnam War to be found. In the city center, visitors can visit the Central Post Office, Ho Chi Minh Square, War Remnants Museum, and Reunification Palace, while the Chu Chi Tunnels are a 40-minute drive away. Here’s a handy guide to things to do in Ho Chi Minh City.

2. Hotels

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