Hanoi is a city that literally has over a thousand years of history. It celebrated its thousandth birthday in October, 2010 and today, the capital of Vietnam happens to be the second largest city in the country.

Through these 1000 years of history, Hanoi has witnessed some turbulent events. From 1902 to 1954, the city was the capital of French Indochina. Next, it was the capital of North Vietnam during the war with the US. After the reunification of Vietnam, Hanoi remained the capital and the seat of the country’s government.

Hanoi ranks right after Ho Chi Minh in terms of size and population. The city is the home of 7.82 million people, according to 2017 estimates. In comparison, Ho Chi Minh has a population of 8.22 million people.

Several large expat communities have made Hanoi their home. The biggest groups come from Japan and South Korea, due to companies from the two countries investing in the city.

Over the past few years, Hanoi has benefited from a growing volume of foreign investment. Through the decades of change and modernisation, however, the city has maintained its character and specific ambiance.

Though it offers many great opportunities, Hanoi as a developing city, has some important challenges. The intense traffic, the urban pollution and the cost of living are all concerns. Still, many people have managed to get past these shortcomings, making Hanoi their home and a place where they can do good business.


Citizens from ASEAN countries, Japan, South Korea, Russia and many European countries do not require a visa to enter Vietnam. Many others can easily obtain a visa on arrival however we recommend having it pre-organised to speed up your arrival process. For more information read more here.

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Depending on your time of arrival at Noi Bai International Airport be prepared to experience delays. Immigration protocols are not streamlined but do ensure you have your visa already organised prior, to ensure you can expedite the process.  

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Getting Around

When visiting on business, taxis are the best way of getting around. Licensed local taxi companies offer safe, comfortable and affordable services. Grab is also operating here but make sure you download the latest app before you arrive. Learn more here.

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To stay connected without the expense of global data roaming, invest in a prepaid mobile SIM card with a data plan. You will find many operators Vinaphone, Viettel, Mobifone, among others at the airport or in town. You’ll also discover that most cafés, restaurant and bars offer free wifi but may be inconsistent. A popular app used by Vietnamese for messaging is Zalo.

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Violent crime is not a big problem in Hanoi and the city is comparatively safe. Just be careful about drive-by bag snatching or pick pocketing in crowded places. Also, be aware of how to cross the streets as motorists and motorcyclists don't seem to follow any rules. Read more about health and safety here.

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The official language in Vietnam is Vietnamese. Many people in Hanoi's business and tourist areas speak English however. To maximise your meetings engage an interpreter. Here are some useful phrases.

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The culture is heavily focused on saving face in just about every aspect of life. Hierarchical social structures remain effective, predominantly in the respect for age and status. To be successful in business make sure you are fully versed in it here.

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Vietnamese people are polite and believe in importance of modesty. They will probably agree with you, even if they’re not sure what you’ve said. Otherwise, local people may worry that they’re going to offend you. Read more about making a great first impression here.

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Source: Photo Fotolia