Hanoi - Post Report Question and Answers

What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Air quality is not as bad as other post reports lead you to believe. It is definitely smoggy and unpleasant in winter time, sometimes very bad from November to March and you'll want to stay indoors then. However, spring and summer have been very good, comparable to a clean large city in the USA. Health could be impacted during bad times of the year, including producing some headache and it's dreary and gray. We have sealed up our windows to prevent draft and limit pollution indoors, and also have air purifiers provided by the embassy. - Aug 2021

See above. Air quality is catastrophic from November to March and only bad otherwise. It is slightly better for a few days after a good rain. - Dec 2019

BAD: Hanoi ranks up there with Beijing and New Dehli most days. Between pollution from transportation, coal power plants and burning fields/trash...it's bad and impacts breathing. - Jul 2019

The air quality is horrendous and it seems like it sucks the life out of you. I can count on one hand the number of times I have seen blue sky. During the summer the air quality is better, but the weather is hot and humid. During the winter it can be really bad. I feel it in my lungs, and my head (perpetual migraines), and my kids and I have persistent coughs. Several times the air quality has been “hazardous," and it's not fun. We really appreciate the "moderate" days when they come around. - Apr 2018

One of the biggest drawbacks to living in Hanoi is the poor winter air quality. It's not as bad as China or India, but is starting to get there. During the summer the air is wonderfully clean, but from October-April, a combination of industrial pollution, agricultural burning, and weather patterns can bring the AQI scale up to the 200-300s on some days. Outside of the city, the air is generally very clean. The embassy provides high-quality air filters but individuals with significant asthma issues may not want to live here. - Dec 2017

Please, please do your research on this. The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi just posted an alarming report (2016) stating that the air quality in Hanoi is 7 times worse than what the WHO recommends for safety. We came here with healthy children and 2 are on inhalers now. Most people in our community are constantly sick. Despite air purifiers put in our homes, the air is scientifically toxic and filled with carcinogens. Locals wear face masks when outside. In addition, the smell of raw sewage throughout Hanoi will knock you over, even in the expat Tay Ho housing area. Because of the pollution, 10 months out of the year Hanoi is "skyless". There are no blue skies or clouds, just smog. - May 2016

Usually pretty bad, which is concerning. That being said, the Embassy does provide high-quality air filters. It's worse in the fall when they burn the rice chaff and in winter when people burn cheap coal. - Aug 2015

Unhealthy. Can be worse than Beijing at times. People who ride scooters/motorbikes wear facemasks with good reason. That being said it's much better than the South Asian capitals. - Mar 2015

Declining unfortunately. I often biked on the weekends but was constantly getting sick. After I quit biking, I didn't get sick. Causation or correlation? - Aug 2014

There is a very unhealthy air pollution in Hanoi. A lot of people are suffering from respiratory problems, coughing, and allergies. And if you didn't have any before arriving, you might leave with some. Water is not drinkable and hard on the skin. Cholera is an issue. Food safety is an issue. You’ll have to be really careful to clean thoroughly everything you buy. There is also noise pollution: the traffic here is horrendous and every single driver uses the horn every second. - Dec 2011

Air quality can be very bad especially in the winter or when there is no wind to push it out of the area. It's not as bad as Beijing but can get close on bad days. - Aug 2011

They say the air quality is bad, but I don't think it's worse than in any major U.S. city. - May 2010

Subscribe to our newsletter

New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More