Wondering why you should work remotely in Hanoi? Remote workers are flocking to Hanoi for its historical background, and they're staying for the Wi-Fi and slow coffee culture.
There’s something about Hanoi.
The name itself means “inside the river”, a nod to its prime location along Vietnam’s Red River. For centuries, its position meant that Hanoi was a center for agriculture, a city with so much power that many of Vietnam’s kings made it their capital.
Today, Hanoi tells a different story. Though agricultural activity is still visible around the Red River, Hanoi embraces its metropolitan leanings and today is considered to be a full-fledged, must-see city. Travelers, both new and old, are flocking to Hanoi for its food, fun, and historical background.
If you’re on the fence about making Hanoi a part of your travel plans, let us help you put the decision to rest. There are hundreds of reasons to visit, or to make it your home for a month, but we’ll keep this list short and sweet.
Whenever you’re considering where to work and travel to next, there are some things that are non-negotiables. These include access to high-speed Wi-Fi, comfortable accommodations, coworking spaces that can handle your professional needs, and the opportunity to experience the city’s culture as if you were a local. Rest assured these non-negotiables are present in Hanoi.
Hanoians are a unique group of people, both entrepreneurial and creative, and committed to preserving their historical values. You’ll find that you become more cognizant of your actions while you’re in Hanoi, taking on the local culture’s competing attributes of a fast-paced lifestyle, respect for the past, and a focus on savoring the moment.
There’s no way to experience Hanoi without letting its lifestyle consume you. While many cities allow tourists to stay inside of a bubble, falling back on homelike comforts whenever they feel too overwhelmed, Hanoi will pull you in headfirst. You’ll soon find yourself in bustling markets and unexpected rain showers, and you’ll be crossing the street like a pro amidst hundreds of motorbikes in no time.
Michael Constable, a Remote Year Kaizen participant said, ““Hanoi is loud, chaotic, hot, rainy, humid, sticky, and occasionally smelly. It’s also surprising, welcoming, fast-paced, delicious, friendly, challenging in the best way, beautiful, affordable, and always exciting.”
You’ll find the incredible food in Hanoi in the places where you’d least expect it. Hole in the wall restaurants often turn out to the be the best meal that you’ve had in the city. Hanoian food has multiple influences, owing to its former Chinese and French occupations, so you’ll get a taste of both traditional Vietnamese, and some dishes with a twist.
If you’re lost on what to order, we recommend the following: phở, bún chả, bánh cuốn, and xôi. Most local food is composed primarily of rice, melded together with local toppings and served in different forms, sometimes in a roll and other times in a bowl.
Jess Jaeger, another member of Remote Year Kaizen, said, “Find the most obscure food spot and sit down on a little stool and enjoy. You won't forget it. Bún Chả is my new favorite thing.”
When you’re not in search of your next meal, head to a local café and order either an egg coffee or a drip coffee. Each is well-known in Hanoi and holds a special place in its culture.
Drip coffee, in particular, exemplifies Hanoi’s café culture. When you order this delicious drink, it takes about an hour for it to completely drip into your chosen cup. This slow process ensures the coffee has a nuanced flavor profile. Once you take a sip, you won’t mind having waited for it to complete its journey. You’ll have spent the time chatting with friends, taking in your surroundings, or contemplating the next steps in your own journey.
Mid-Autumn Festival is held in Vietnam in late September or early October, when a full moon shines at night. It has deep ties for Chinese and Vietnamese people, and is connected to celebrations related to family gathering, thanksgiving, and prayer, though it was originally celebrated as a way for parents to spend time with their children when the autumn harvest was completed.
Because the festival is connected to the appearance of a full moon, celebrators eat sweet moon cakes and light lanterns that fly through the sky to light up the night. As a visitor, you can take part in the celebrations and experience a long-held tradition alongside locals who can give you some insight into what the Mid-Autumn Festival means to them.
Tết, also known as Vietnamese or Lunar New Year, falls in January or February depending on the arrival of spring in the Vietnamese calendar. It is a time for family, both for the expression of respect for elders and a celebration of close family members. In the weeks leading up to Tết, Hanoians will clean their homes in order to rid them of bad luck. They’ll buy new clothing for their families so that everyone starts the year off fresh.
During the Tết celebration, Hanoians will light off firecrackers and beat drums to welcome the new year, and cook lavish feasts for visiting guests. Streets are lined in red and yellow, two lucky colors for the Vietnamese, and the entire city is full of revelry and well wishes. If you’re looking to commandeer some of the new year’s good luck, it may be in your best interest to head to Hanoi during Tết.
Hanoi is featured on many Remote Year itineraries because of its creative energy, frenetic pace, and commitment to preserving culture. Want to know which upcoming programs will be living and working in Hanoi over the next year? Check out our list of available itineraries here.