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This is a great post for first or second tour officers. Work is robust, high profile and you get to touch a lot of cool stuff that you otherwise wouldn't. But don't be intoxicated by "Hanoi". And certainly don't link here! - May 4, 2016
The key to happiness in Hanoi is getting out every couple/few months - luckily this is easy to do. Hanoi can be very claustrophobia inducing due to the crowds of people and honking scooters. But Hanoi also allows you a window into what most Asian cities used to be. And the political situation here is so interesting too. - Aug 23, 2011
In some ways, because of the traffic and because of the population density, life in Hanoi can be very hectic. - May 23, 2010
You should have no illusions: Hanoi is a hardship post. The air and noise pollution is bad, and it's largely an unwalkable city. There is also not an abundance of things to do. Single western women will generally not date here. It won't work with Vietnamese men, and Western men will be beating off 19-year old Vietnamese women with a stick. If that bothers you (and I mention it because a few Western women seemed troubled by that unfortunte, sexist imbalance), don't come. Having said that, Vietnam is a real cultural immersion. I haven't met a single employee of the mission who said he/she regrets having come here, although some say 2 years is sufficient. You just have to accept the downsides and enjoy the amazing cuisine, cheap lifestyle, plentiful $10 massages, excellent international school, etc. There are worse, much worse, 25% differential posts out there. - Dec 19, 2009
Have patience with the people and the traffic, and you'll do well. The people will warm up to you if you try to talk. The traffic.. well it just takes patience. - Feb 11, 2009
Some Americans are concerned about the legacy of the Vietnam War and that Vietnamese may be unfriendly or angry towards Americans in general, as well as Australians, French, Koreans, and other nationalities that took part in the conflict. However, for most Vietnamese the Vietnam War is in the past (also they are proud of the War as one must remember they won) and there is little to no resentment towards Americans or others by the average Vietnamese at this point. Over 70% or the Vietnamese population is under 30 and therefore has no direct memory of the conflict. Vietnamese are friendly, warm, hospitiable, and helpful towards all foreigners, including Americans, and are wonderful people to know, meet, and befriend no matter where you are from. - Sep 27, 2008
Ho chi Minh City (Saigon) is the economic capital of Vietnam, Hanoi is the political. There is a world of difference between the North and the South. HCMC is much more Westernized where Hanoi still suffers from that depressing, repressive cloud of the communist government. Knowing what I know now I would still come to Hanoi, but if give a choice between HCMC and Hanoi? It would be HCMC hands down. - May 17, 2008