In the North of Vietnam, on the eastern bank of the Red River, lies the city of Hanoi. As the capital city of Vietnam, Hanoi is the political center of the country, but it is neither the largest city, nor the economic powerhouse of Vietnam; this honor resides with Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), in the south of the country.
With a population of 6.9 million people in 2013, Hanoi has retained the charm that so many cities lose when they undergo rapid growth. The Old Quarter of Hanoi is a draw for many foreigners who find the charismatic narrow winding streets and incredible energy fascinating and, despite several occupations and decades of war; Hanoi has by no means lost its captivating character.
Hanoi experiences hot, humid summers and winters that are relatively cool for the region. The city gets most of its rainfall from May through to September, and while the winters are a lot less humid, the city often becomes foggy and cloudy as the temperature falls.
Spring and autumn are the nicest times to visit Hanoi, as the temperatures are warm without the humidity that can be overbearing in the heat of the summer.
Prices of accommodation in Hanoi are gradually rising, and are not looking like they will drop any time soon. Living in the vibrant Old Quarter of the city may seem like a very desirable option, but apartments in this section of the city are small and expensive, and also come with the never-ending buzz of noise from the city.
Hanoi sprawls out far beyond the inner city and prices do get lower the further out you go. The city is tightly packed in, especially as the numbers of taller tower blocks near the inner city is limited.
If you are looking around for apartments while already in the city, you may find that you are shown places without windows, and the cost of living for home comforts such as space and a modern interior will be high.
This may put some expatriates off moving to Hanoi, but if you are relocatingto Hanoi to work, employers will usually be happy to assist in finding accommodation. International employers that regularly hire expatriates may even keep rented apartments around the city particularly for this purpose.