Hanoi Nightlife & Girls

Hanoi nightlife has a reputation for being the dull cousin of Saigon and until recently it was a fair criticism. It is still a relatively sedate city but a decent number of bars & clubs have opened, livening things up considerably.

Vietnam's capital city has never attracted as many tourists as Saigon, but there are plenty of good reasons to put it on your travel itinerary.

If you want a serious lady, most Vietnamese women are happy to leave their own country to live with their soul-mates. They are feminine and sweet and on:

My recommended Vietnam dating site

Hanoi is one of Southeast Asia's mega-cities with a population over 7 million, making it slightly more populous than Saigon, and it enjoys some of the most stunning natural beauty spots you're ever likely to see.

I challenge anyone to go go on a late afternoon junk boat cruise through Ha Long bay and watch the sunset amongst the all the rising limestone rock-formations without being completely blown away by it all - it is genuinely jaw dropping if you have any interest at all in such things.

Getting to Hanoi is a relatively simple affair with many flights each day from nearby cities. Flight times from either Bangkok or Saigon take around 2 hours to complete and, whilst there might not be many direct flight from Europe of America to Hanoi, you can usually arrange a connecting flight with only a minimal delay.

Hanoi at nightHanoi at night.

Another possible selling point comes with the much cooler climate in Hanoi during the winter months. If you wish to escape the heat of Thailand and other SEA countries for a few days then an excursion will be a welcome, cheap, and easy thing to arrange.

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!

Hanoi nightlifeOne 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 ease the soul

By Roland (from Vietnam)

Hanoi girls don’t interest me at all - this was the thought running through my head as I arrived in the city. Wherever my eyes landed they found a pretty girl, but the truth is I just wasn’t interested in dating anymore. My friends often tell me I’m hopeless. I don’t argue.

I have absolutely no luck with women. Since the day I walked in on my university girlfriend and her previously-thought-gay best friend, romance has brought me nothing by misery. I didn’t bother even speaking with her afterward. I just packed my bags and left.

Hanoi girlsLow-cost living, tasty food, and beautiful agenda-free ladies, that's Hanoi.

I’m not by nature a negative person, far from it. I hurt like hell after my first girlfriend’s betrayal; we’d been together two years after all but I wasn’t bitter, not yet. That came later. Over the next ten years I lived in a dozen countries and dated as many women. They came from different places, they had diverse backgrounds. Some I dated more than a year, some only a few weeks. One thing was always the same - the relationships ended badly every single time. It feels like each time I think I’ve seen the worst that my love life can throw at me, it sets out to prove me wrong.

I’ve spent a lot time trying to think of a way to break out of this pattern. I looked inward; I’m obviously the common denominator here after all. At first I thought it had to be my taste in women. I tried dating a girl who was the exact opposite of the kind I normally found myself drawn to. It went well, very well, right up until the day I woke up to find her gone along with the contents of my bank account…

Perhaps it’s something about my personality then. I began to analyze, even over-analyze, everything I did and said. I searched desperately for a reason, anything that could explain why this keeps happening. I gave up on that when I discovered that my then-girlfriend had not one, but two other boyfriends. No matter how I looked at it, I couldn’t think of a single way it could have been my fault. Maybe I’m just a sap.

By now very nearly a full-blown cynic, I began to very carefully screen the women I let into my life being alert to any possibility that I might be taken advantage of. That didn’t work at all. The suspicion eventually turned me into such a miserable misanthrope that I couldn’t make it past a first date. I gave it just one last shot after that. With much effort I pushed my bitterness aside and asked a girl out. I barely felt anything when she stole my car and disappeared three weeks later…

That was over two years ago, since then I’ve more or less completely given up on dating. Yes I’m hopeless, and yes I’m bitter. I’m a cynic, and I’m okay with that. I’d rather be lonely forever than go through the heartache even just one more time. This was my state of mind when I came to Hanoi, trying to date Hanoi girls would just bring me more misery, I was sure of it.

Hanoi girls and life in the city

I’d come to the city for work. Well no, I suppose that’s not entirely true. With my line of work I could live anywhere in the world, anywhere with an internet connection. I came here in search of a new experience, something to distract me from the drudgery my life had turned into, but Hanoi girls were not part of my plan. I enjoy traveling, something about seeing new places and learning about new cultures brings a smile to my face. When the novelty wears off however, the smile goes too.

So I was in a good mood when I set about exploring the city those first few days here. The sights and smells were new and interesting. I mentally compared them to experiences in other places. It never ceases to amaze me how many ways there are for things to be different. The Hanoi girls too I noticed. I was a misanthrope, but I could still enjoy the sight of beautiful Vietnamese girls. Before long I realized my mental comparisons had spread to them as well.

Vietnam, and Vietnamese women, are very different to most of the places I’ve been. Foreigners aren’t as common here as they are in many other Asian countries. For once I didn’t feel like I had a target painted on my back, a mark to would-be scammers and gold-diggers – provided that I steered clear of the very tourist-infested Old Quarter that is. Nobody I spoke with seemed to want anything of me and the looks I received were motivated by nothing more than simple curiosity.

This may explain why, when I found myself speaking with a young woman a few days later, I was able to converse free of my usual apprehension. I was at a trade event organized by a group of local wine importers, attending as a guest of a well-connected new colleague. She introduced herself as Tai. She was beautiful and I found myself immediately attracted to her, but being the cynic I am, I saw in her no more than the opportunity for interesting conversation.

As I chatted with Tai, I began to notice something I hadn’t seen in years, if I’d ever even seen it at all. We were having a proper conversation. A real exchange. The kind where the other person actually listens to you, instead of just trying to think of what to say next while you speak. This girl was eloquent and knowledgeable. She didn’t look through me. She really wanted to know what I thought. It was incredible. If this is what Hanoi girls are like, then why on earth have I waited so long to come here?

Tai told me that she was only home for a brief spell, in town to visit family, and was leaving again the following day. She worked in the south of the country where she did PR work for a hotel chain. I was barely able to conceal my disappointment. To meet such a girl and then learn that I’d only know her for a single night. Fate is surely too cruel, I thought, but I was too busy enjoying my evening to dwell on it very long.

She seemed to like my company as much as I hers. We conversed the entire night, my cynicism seeming to evaporate a little more with each passing hour. We spoke of politics and the arts, of commerce, travel, music and the human condition. Our conversation seemed to move seamlessly from one topic to the next. Some were light, some were soul-crushingly heavy. Each was treated to the same frankness and thought. Never in my life have I enjoyed speaking with someone more.

When the night finally came to an end we walked arm-in-arm to her taxi. A brief kiss, and then she was gone. I drove home that night with a peculiar mixture of emotions. I was sad knowing I’d not have the opportunity to get to know Tai better, but also incredibly happy that I had gotten to know her at all. I began to realise that I actually wanted to date again. I wanted to go out and meet more Hanoi girls. I didn’t know if Tai was just incredibly unusual, or if many of the Hanoi girls shared her approach to life, but I wanted to find out.

After a brief foray into the bar scene taught me that most Hanoi girls do not in fact speak English, I decided to shift my efforts online, and discovered a dating site called Vietnam Cupid. It’s worked well for me so far. I’ve got my first date lined up for this evening. Wish me luck.

Hanoi Girls & Dating Opportunities

There is only a small expat scene in Hanoi, and only a very small pay-for-pleasure industry that 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 to get any value from it. 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 main page about Vietnam girls.

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.

The Best Hotels in Hanoi

As I mentioned above, the best Hanoi nightlife bars and clubs are located in the old quarter around Hoan Kiem Lake. That being the case, it seems like a good idea to look for a good hotel in that area.

Hanoi girlsA common sight in Hanoi... Buddhist prayer.

Depending on your budget, I'd go for one of these three hotel options:

  • Icon 36 Hotel & Residence - this one is a solid choice that's well located on Bat Su Street. Rooms are modern and clean and I think that it is a real bargain, being priced well below other hotels of this spec.
  • MK Premier Boutique Hotel - a mid-priced hotel that is definitely worth the extra expense over a budget option. You get some excellent views from its bar/restaurant and lots of extra facilities.
  • Melia Hanoi Hotel - for a more upmarket hotel with extra luxury I'd go for this option. It also has the advantage of housing one of the most stylish lounge bars in Hanoi, the Camelia Lounge.

Final Thoughts about Hanoi Nightlife

Whilst the Hanoi nightlife scene still lags behind Saigon by quite some distance both in terms of scale and variety, things are picking up with new bars and attractions starting to spring up.

It remains to be seen whether or not the new developments will bring 'hostess' bars with them, and I wouldn't be surprised if it does not, but Vietnam is not generally a naughty boys' destination anyway. Thailand remains a much better option for that, as does Cambodia and the Philippines.

The Hanoi nightlife has something different to offer, and whilst it won't please everyone it does have a charm that grows on you. The people are friendly, and you'll struggle to find a safer capital city at night anywhere in the world.

I haven't even mentioned the coffee shops in Hanoi, they are of a very high standard and quite unique - some serve coffee made with egg and everyone that tries it loves the richness of it.

If you prefer your climate to have distinct seasons then the Hanoi nightlife will appeal. During winter months the temperatures can drop to a level where you'll at least need to wear jeans/trousers, long-sleeve shirt or jumper and a pair shoes. This makes serious dating a bit easier since you'll be expected to dress this way - which is not something you'll enjoy when temperatures soar!

This sweet young lady is only 19 years old and she comes from Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam in the North. To find more girls just like her:

Join my Recommended Vietnam dating site:

No, I hate sex

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