Hanoi Nightlife Bars & Girls
A big part of the attraction with Hanoi nightlife comes with the necessary exploration of its narrow side streets and bustling alleys. In most cities of the world you'd want to avoid such places due to potential hidden dangers lurking in dark places, but Vietnam is different and Hanoi is just as good as Saigon for exploring stuff, and safety levels are really high.
Down these alleys and side streets there are lots of small shops of all sorts, massage is available, and best of all are Bia Hoi bars. Bia Hoi is locally produced beer and it is very cheap - and good. You'll find lots of these tiny establishments as you wander around the city - just look for the plastic stools!
One of the many narrow Hanoi streets, perfect for explorers...
Hoan Kiem Lake is one of the most picturesque parts of the city and the surrounding area also happens to be the best area for bars and clubs. It's only a small lake, but it serves as a good navigation point for getting yourself around town. It's a busy area and I recommend using it as a base camp for your preferred hotel choice - scroll down to the hotel section below for my favorites.
Hanoi Nightlife Bars; The Old Quarter
Being a huge city there are a lot of bars to choose from, and that makes lists a bit futile. What maters is groups of bars concentrated within an area that you don't mind walking around, not good bars isolated in some far off district. There are some great bars, usually hotel bars, in places that you won't go to and that aren't mentioned below. The bars that are mentioned are a selection of options near to Hoan Kiem Lake and mostly on or around Ma May Street:
- Bia Hoi Outlets - as mentioned above, these are really good places to kick your night off with some friendly locals and cheap beer. There are some close to the lake and other bars I mention on Ma May Street.
- Fat Cat Bar - just around the corner from Ma May on Luong Ngoc Quyen is this small but highly regarded pub. Very tourist friendly and located right next to another bunch of Bia Hoi outlets.
- Base Bar - this one is located on Ma May. It's a friendly bar with a policy of handing out free shots! The
music system is good and you can buy some balloons that contain laughing gas here.
- Camelia Lounge - a very stylish place, but pricey. It's worth making the effort to find it if you like stylish stuff with champagne and cocktails etc. It's housed within one of my recommended hotels i.e. the Melia Hanoi Hotel.
- The Opera Nightclub - this club is located near to the Fat Cat Bar on Luong Ngoc Quyen and it's worth the trip if you like clubbing. Drink prices are higher than in the bars, but not so much so that you'll be scared off.
Hanoi Girls & Dating Opportunities
There is only a small expat scene in Hanoi, and only a very small pay-for-pleasure industry which focuses on short-term liaisons rather than the holiday girlfriend model you get in some places. The upshot of this is that serious romantic relationships between Vietnamese girls and western men are relatively rare.
Finding a long-term love interest in Vietnam is easy to do if you take your time and enjoy a courtship. The ladies of Vietnam are seeking permanent relationships on:
My recommended Vietnam dating site
However, you shouldn't assume that there is no interest in western men from the local ladies. There is a lot of interest - but you'll need to be the respectable sort of guy with respectable intentions. As with central Vietnam, the girls in the north are very traditional and conservative, which means they care a great deal about their reputation.
I mentioned on my main page about Vietnamese girls that many of them are comfortable with the idea of leaving their homelands behind for a new life in the west. This is much less true in north Vietnam because there is no history of emigration after the Vietnam War.
If you wish to get involved with a Hanoi girl, I think it would be best if you are intending to live in the city or somewhere nearby. Also, Hanoi nightlife venues are not the best places to meet them. Online dating, shopping malls, and food markets are all better options.
Hanoi Escorts and Sex Workers
You may be happy to read there are plenty of Hanoi escorts working in the city and that they are easily located via an online search. There are some beautiful call girls available and the typical prices asked by Hanoi escorts are high, they are not higher than elsewhere in the region. If you are intent on using the services of a prostitute then I think that these ladies are the best option.
One thing I'd urge you to resist are out-of-the-way brothels (if you know of any) for the reasons given on my page about Vietnam escorts.
The second reasonable alternative for finding pay for pleasure thrills is to head off to a massage parlor, and the best way to source the best parlors is to ask a local taxi driver. You might struggle to find the full happy ending massage list of extras that are so common in Thailand, but with a little perseverance you'll find something.
You certainly won't find any Thai style a-go-go bars in the Hanoi nightlife list of entertainment options, and things are much more restricted even compared to Saigon or Nha Trang, with none of the 'hostess bars' that you can find tn those cities.
There are some opportunities to meet local working-girls in hotel discos and around Hoan Kiem Lake. These ladies are often not so sweet and lovely as you find elsewhere in Southeast Asia, and you will be at risk of being scammed by them, so my advice is to avoid them.