What Is The Main City In Vietnam? Uncovering The Largest And Most Populated Cities In Vietnam

An aerial view of the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh, with a vibrant cityscape and diverse faces.

Are you curious about the main city of Vietnam or planning a visit to this diverse Southeast Asian country? Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is Vietnam’s largest and most populous city with over nine million inhabitants.

This blog post will unwrap everything you need to know about the bustling metropolis and other major cities in Vietnam – their history, culture, industries, attractions, transportation systems and more.

Let’s dive into the heart of Vietnam!

Key Takeaways

  • Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is the main city in Vietnam and the largest in terms of population.
  • Other major cities in Vietnam include Hanoi, Hai Phong, Can Tho, Da Nang, Bien Hoa, Hue, Thuan An City, and Thu Duc City.
  • Each city has its own unique history, culture, tourist attractions and major industries.
  • Transportation options in Vietnam’s cities include air travel, railways and expressways.

Defining Vietnam and its Major Cities

A vibrant cityscape of Hanoi at dusk captures the bustling streets and colorful architecture.

Vietnam is a country in Southeast Asia. It has borders with Cambodia and Laos. The Mekong Delta, a place of rich soil and busy waterways, lies in the south part of Vietnam. There have been many fights here like the Vietnam war.

Yet, people love its beauty too.

The main city of this country is Hanoi in the north part. This city is the capital of Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon is at the south tip of Vietnam and it has the most people living there—over nine million! Many other large places are Da NangHai Phong, Can Tho, Bien Hoa, Hue, Thu Duc City and Thuan An City.


The Top 10 Largest Cities in Vietnam

An aerial photograph captures the bustling cityscape of Ho Chi Minh City at night with diverse people and a vibrant atmosphere.

The top 10 largest cities in Vietnam include Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, Can Tho, Da Nang, Bien Hoa, Hue, Thuan An City, and Thu Duc City.

Ho Chi Minh City Travel Guide: 10 Must-See Things to Do


A stunning panoramic view of Hanoi's iconic Hoan Kiem Lake at sunset, capturing the bustling atmosphere and diverse faces of the city.

Hanoi is a big city in Vietnam. It has many people living there and ranks second in size. The Red River flows on its western side. Hanoi covers 3,359.82 km2 or 1,297.2 sq mi of land.

There are many lakes in this city giving it the name “City of Lakes”. It sits about 85 miles from the mouth of the Red River. This location adds to its charm and beauty.

Ho Chi Minh City

A vibrant cityscape photograph capturing the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City at night.Ho Chi Minh City, once known as Saigon, houses around 9.3 million folks. It served as the capital of both French Cochinchina and South Vietnam in the past. Today, it shines as a dynamic city and Vietnam’s main economic engine.

People flock here for its vibrant culturebusy industries and bustling economy. This city never sleeps!

Hai Phong

A bustling port in Hai Phong with large cargo ships and containers being unloaded, capturing the vibrant cityscape.

Hai Phong is the third-largest city in Vietnamlocated in the northern region of the country. It is an industrial hub and serves as a major economic center. Hai Phong is famous for being the biggest port city in northern Vietnam and has been a seaport since 1874.

With a population of 2.1 million people, it is a highly populated area and plays a significant role as a shipping hub. As an urban center, Hai Phong offers various cultural attractions and historical sites for tourists to explore.

Can Tho

A vibrant photo of a traditional floating market in Can Tho at sunrise captures the bustling activity and colorful scenes.

Can Tho is one of the largest cities in Vietnam, ranking fifth in size. Located in the southern region, it is famous for its beautiful cityscape and extensive waterways. Can Tho serves as the center of the Mekong Delta, making it a prominent economic, political, and cultural hub.

The city’s economy thrives on trading and agriculture, with tourism also playing a significant role. Visitors are drawn to Can Tho’s renowned floating markets, where they can experience vibrant local culture firsthand.

With its rich history and stunning tourist attractions, Can Tho showcases Vietnam’s cultural heritage while driving economic development in the region.

Da Nang

A stunning photograph capturing the vibrant sunset over Marble Mountains with a bustling atmosphere and diverse individuals.

Da Nang is the largest city in central Vietnam and the sixth largest city in the country. It has a population of around 1,007,700 people. Da Nang is an important commercial and educational center in Central Vietnam.

The city is famous for its beautiful beaches and is a popular tourist destination. Despite its large population, Da Nang has managed to maintain a small-town atmosphere.

Bien Hoa

A vibrant photo capturing the bustling streets of Bien Hoa at night, showcasing the diversity of the city.

Bien Hoa is one of the largest cities in Vietnam, ranking fifth in terms of size. It has a population of over 1 million people and is located in the province of Đồng Nai. With its historical significance as one of the oldest cities in southern Vietnam, Bien Hoa covers an area of 263.62 square kilometers.

This bustling city plays a vital role in the urban development and growth of the southern region, serving as a provincial capital and municipality.


Colorful boats on the Perfume River captured in a bustling and vibrant cityscape photograph.

Hue is the largest city in central Vietnam and was once the imperial capital of the country. Known for its rich history and cultural heritage, Hue is a city that holds great significance.

During the Vietnam War, it had a population of nearly 140,000 people. Situated along the coast in central Vietnam, Hue shares borders with Quang Tri Province. This historical city is famous for its historical sites and natural landscapes, making it a popular tourist destination.

Thuan An City

Thuan An City, located in Binh Duong Province in Vietnam, is one of the top 10 largest cities in the country. This rapidly developing urban center has experienced impressive growth in recent years.

With a focus on infrastructure development and economic progress, Thuan An City is becoming an important hub for industry and commerce. Its strategic location near Ho Chi Minh City makes it an attractive destination for businesses and investors.

As a result, Thuan An City is witnessing significant urban expansion, along with improvements in city planning and modernization efforts.

Thu Duc City

Thu Duc City, located on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam, is a rapidly growing suburban area and metropolitan region. With its focus on urban development, Thu Duc City has become an economic hub known for its technological advancements and modern infrastructure.

The city boasts various industrial zones that attract entrepreneurs and innovators alike. Vibrant city life can be found here, with a mix of residential areas, commercial districts, and recreational spaces.

Thu Duc City’s growth and progress make it an exciting place to live or visit in Vietnam.

Overview of Each City

Aerial night view of the vibrant and diverse city skyline of Ho Chi Minh City.

Each city in Vietnam has its own unique history, culture, and tourist attractions that make it worth exploring. From the bustling streets of Hanoi to the vibrant nightlife of Ho Chi Minh City, there is something for everyone in these beautiful cities.


Vietnam’s history is rich and diverse, with each major city having its own unique past. Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, has a long history dating back to the third century BCE when it served as the capital of the historic Vietnamese nation of Âu Lạc.

It was later occupied by various foreign powers such as China and France. During the Vietnam War, Hanoi played a significant role as one of the main centers of resistance against American forces.

Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, was once the capital of South Vietnam during that turbulent time. It has been heavily influenced by French colonization and is now a bustling metropolis filled with modern skyscrapers alongside reminders of its historical past.


Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city in Vietnam, has a population of 9.2 million people as of 2023. It’s experiencing rapid urbanization and economic development. Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, has a population of 3.5 million people.

These two cities are the biggest and most populous in Vietnam. It’s worth mentioning that there is also a significant number of Vietnamese citizens living in cities outside of Vietnam, particularly in America.


Each city in Vietnam has its own unique culture and heritage. Starting with Hanoi, the capital city, it showcases the country’s rich cultural history. With its ancient temples and traditional architecture, Hanoi is a place where you can immerse yourself in Vietnamese traditions.

Ho Chi Minh City, on the other hand, is known for its vibrant and energetic culture. Formerly called Saigon, this bustling metropolis offers a mix of modern attractions and historical landmarks that reflect Vietnam’s dynamic past.

Whether you visit Hue with its imperial citadel or Da Nang with its beautiful beaches, each city in Vietnam has something special to offer that will allow you to experience the diverse cultures of this incredible country.

Major industries vary from one city to another but some dominant sectors are information technology (IT), manufacturing,



Tourist attractions

Vietnam has numerous tourist attractions that showcase its rich culture, history, and natural wonders. Here are some must-visit destinations in each city:

  1. Hanoi:
  • Hoan Kiem Lake
  • Hanoi Old Quarter
  • Temple of Literature
  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
  • One Pillar Pagoda
  1. Ho Chi Minh City:
  • Rex Hotel
  • Independence Palace
  • Evacuation Site (Cu Chi Tunnels)
  • War Remnants Museum
  • Ben Thanh Market
  1. Hai Phong:
  • Do Son Beach
  • Cat Ba Island
  • Hai Phong Opera House
  1. Can Tho:
  • Cai Rang Floating Market
  • Bang Lang Stork Sanctuary
  1. Da Nang:
  • Marble Mountains
  • My Khe Beach
  • Ba Na Hills
  1. Bien Hoa:
  • Buu Long Pagoda and Park
  1. Hue:
  • Vietnam Imperial City
  • The Perfume River
  1. Thuan An City:
  • Thuan An Beach
  1. Thu Duc City:
  • Cu Chi Wildlife Rescue Station

Major Industries in Each City

A diverse group of professionals from Vietnam stand in front of city landmarks, showcasing their unique styles and backgrounds.

Here are the major industries in each city of Vietnam:

  • Hanoi: Manufacturing, technology, financial services, tourism
  • Ho Chi Minh City: Manufacturing, real estate, finance, tourism, technology
  • Hai Phong: Shipping and logistics, manufacturing, construction
  • Can Tho: Agriculture and aquaculture, food processing, tourism
  • Da Nang: Tourism and hospitality, manufacturing, information technology
Riding The Rails West & Discovering Life Long Ago // 3rd Grade Wonders Unit 3 Week 5

Transportation in Vietnam’s Cities

A busy city street filled with motorcycles and bicycles, capturing the diverse and energetic atmosphere.

Vietnam’s cities offer a variety of transportation options, including air travel, railways, water transport, public and private transport, as well as expressways. Discover how these modes of transportation contribute to the fast-paced lifestyle in Vietnam!

Air travel

Air travel is an important mode of transportation in Vietnam’s major cities. The national carrier, Vietnam Airlines, is headquartered in Hanoi and has hubs at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi and Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City.

These airports serve as key gateways for domestic and international flights. However, it’s essential to consider air pollution when visiting these cities, as it can be a significant problem.

Nonetheless, air travel remains a convenient option for travelers looking to explore different parts of Vietnam efficiently.


The railways in Vietnam play an important role in connecting the major cities and facilitating transportation. The main rail system, known as the Reunification Express, links Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) with Hanoi, covering a distance of over 1,200 miles.

It serves as a reliable alternative to domestic flights and road travel for both locals and tourists. The rail network also enhances trade and commerce by providing access to Hanoi’s port of Haiphong, improving regional connectivity and transport infrastructure.

With public transportation options like the Reunification Express, traveling between cities becomes more convenient and accessible for everyone.

Water transport

Water transport is an important part of Vietnam’s transportation system. The country has major ports such as Hai Phong, Da Nang, Qui Nhon, and Ho Chi Minh City, as well as smaller ports.

Inland waterways and coastal and sea shipping are key modes of transport in Vietnam. Water transport offers benefits like high mobility and accessibility for trade and transportation.

It plays a significant role in the country’s logistics network, providing efficient cargo shipping and coastal trade routes.

Public transport

Public transportation plays a significant role in Vietnam’s cities, offering convenient and affordable options for commuting. Motorbikes are the most common mode of transport, with millions of them on the roads.

However, if you prefer not to ride a motorbike, local buses and ferries are available for getting around. These options provide an efficient way to navigate through the bustling streets and avoid traffic congestion.

Mass transit systems like commuter trains and trams are also being developed to enhance urban transportation in Vietnam’s major cities. With a focus on sustainable mobility and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, public transport is an essential part of Vietnam’s transportation network.

Private transport

In Vietnam’s major cities, private transport is primarily dominated by motorcycles and motorbikes. These two-wheeled vehicles are the main means of transportation for locals, allowing them to navigate through the urban areas efficiently.

Alongside motorcycles, city buses and taxis are also popular modes of private transport in Vietnam’s cities. City buses provide an affordable option for commuting within the city limits, while taxis offer a convenient way to travel longer distances or when carrying more luggage.

Additionally, bicycles are commonly used as a form of private transport in Vietnam’s cities, especially for shorter trips or leisurely rides. With the prevalence of motorcycles and other forms of private transport, it is important to consider these options when exploring Vietnam’s vibrant cities.


Vietnam has a network of expressways that connect its major cities and regions. These expressways are an essential part of the transportation infrastructure, allowing for faster and more efficient travel between destinations.

Vietnam’s north-south corridor, which includes the North-South Expressway, is particularly important as it handles a significant volume of both passengers and goods each year. However, there is a need to improve the quality of Vietnam’s roads to meet the growing demands of urban mobility and logistics.

The development of expressways plays a crucial role in enhancing transportation connectivity and supporting economic growth in Vietnam.

Education and Healthcare in Major Cities

A diverse group of medical professionals in a modern hospital setting.

Major cities in Vietnam boast a wide range of educational institutions and healthcare facilities, including high schools, universities, and hospitals.

High schools

Vietnam’s major cities are home to a variety of high schools that play a crucial role in the country’s education system. These secondary schools provide upper secondary education to students, shaping their academic journey and preparing them for higher studies or careers.

Vietnamese high schools are known for their dedication to providing high-quality education, ensuring educational excellence and success. They offer a wide range of subjects and extracurricular activities, fostering well-rounded development in students.

The International Commission on the Futures of Education is actively involved in reimagining high school education, aiming to redesign it for the future needs of Vietnam’s youth.


Major cities in Vietnam are home to universities that play a significant role in education and healthcare. Higher education institutions, including academic and medical schools, can be found in these cities.

Vietnam is known for its emphasis on education and has built a reputation for having good schools. The educational system places importance on the quality of teaching and manages teachers effectively.

In terms of healthcare, universities often have associated teaching hospitals and are key providers of healthcare professionals. In 2023, Vietnam will host a medical conference focusing on dentistry, organized by the APHA Council of Affiliates.


In Vietnam, there are many hospitals in the major cities. These healthcare facilities provide medical services to the residents and tourists. The country has a total of 1,531 hospitals, with 86 percent being public and 14 percent private.

The government runs hospitals in the major cities, ensuring access to healthcare for people living there. In addition to hospitals, government-run clinics are also available throughout the country.

These clinics offer essential medical services to those who need them.

Famous Landmarks and Tourist Attractions

The photo captures the stunning sunset behind Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi, showcasing the bustling cityscape.

Vietnam has many famous landmarks and tourist attractions that attract visitors from all over the world. Some of these must-visit places include:

  • Hanoi Old Quarter: This historical landmark in Hanoi is known for its narrow streets, traditional architecture, and bustling markets.
  • Hoan Kiem Lake: Located in the heart of Hanoi, this beautiful lake offers a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.
  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum: A memorial dedicated to Ho Chi Minh, the founding father of modern Vietnam.
  • One Pillar Pagoda: This unique pagoda in Hanoi is built on a single pillar and is considered one of Vietnam’s most iconic structures.
  • Temple of Literature: A historic temple in Hanoi that was once Vietnam’s first national university.
  • Long Bien Bridge: An iconic bridge that spans across the Red River in Hanoi, offering breathtaking views.
  • Notre Dame Cathedral: Located in Ho Chi Minh City, this cathedral is an architectural masterpiece dating back to the 19th century.
  • Central Post Office: Another stunning landmark in Ho Chi Minh City, known for its French colonial architecture.

Local Cuisine and Media in Each City

A table with a variety of colorful Vietnamese dishes and local newspapers from different cities.

Vietnam has a diverse and delicious cuisine that varies from city to city. Here are some of the local cuisines you can try in each city:

  • Hanoi: Pho, a famous Vietnamese noodle soup, and Banh Mi, a tasty sandwich filled with various ingredients.
  • Ho Chi Minh City: Com Tam, broken rice served with grilled pork or beef, and Banh Xeo, a crispy pancake filled with shrimp, pork, and bean sprouts.
  • Hai Phong: Banh Da Cua, a crab noodle soup with thick noodles made from rice flour.
  • Can Tho: Bun Rieu Cua, a tomato-based crab noodle soup known for its unique flavor.
  • Da Nang: Mi Quang, a local specialty consisting of turmeric-flavored noodles topped with shrimp, pork slices, herbs, and peanuts.
  • Bien Hoa: Nom Bo Kho, a dried beef salad mixed with vegetables and herbs.
  • Hue: Bun Bo Hue, a spicy beef noodle soup that is popular in Central Vietnam.
  • Thuan An City: Banh Beo Tom Chay, small steamed rice cakes topped with shrimp.
  • Thu Duc City: Banh Cuon Trang Bang, delicate steamed rice rolls filled with minced pork and wood ear mushrooms.
  • Hanoi is home to many newspapers and television stations that cover national and international news. The most popular newspaper is called “Vietnam News.”
  • In Ho Chi Minh City, you can find numerous television stations and radio stations that cater to different interests. “Tuoi Tre” is one of the largest newspapers in the city.
  • Hai Phong has its own local newspapers such as “Doi Song Phap Luat” and “Hai Phong Newspaper.”
  • Can Tho has local television channels like “Can Tho Television” and newspapers like “Can Tho Newspapers.”
  • Da Nang has its own media outlets, including television stations and newspapers such as “Bao Danang” and “Danang Television.”
  • Bien Hoa has local radio stations like “Bien Hoa Radio” and newspapers such as “Bien Hoa Newspaper.”
  • Hue is known for its cultural heritage, and there are several media outlets that focus on promoting the city’s historical sites. The city also has its own newspaper called “Thua Thien Hue Newspaper.”
  • Thuan An City is a suburban area of Hue, so media coverage mainly comes from nearby cities.
  • Thu Duc City has various local television stations and newspapers that cater to the residents’ needs.

International Relations and Cooperation Between Cities

A photo showcasing two iconic landmarks from different cities in Vietnam and their international sister cities.

Cities in Vietnam have established various international relations and partnerships through twin towns/sister cities programs, fostering friendship and cooperation with cities around the world.

Twin towns/sister cities

Vietnam has established twin town and sister city relationships with various communities around the world, fostering international cooperation and cultural exchange. Some notable examples include:

  1. Hanoi – Kopenhagen, Denmark
  2. Ho Chi Minh City – Osaka, Japan
  3. Hai Phong – Ulsan, South Korea
  4. Can Tho – Pusan, South Korea
  5. Da Nang – Vladivostok, Russia
  6. Bien Hoa – Rotherham, United Kingdom
  7. Hue – Vientiane, Laos
  8. Thuan An City – Auburn, Australia
  9. Thu Duc City – Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Friendship and cooperation with other countries

Vietnam has established strong friendship and cooperation with several countries around the world. Here are some key examples:

  • Vietnam and Cuba: President Vo Van Thuong has pledged favorable conditions for defense cooperation between Vietnam and Cuba.
  • Medical Conference in 2023: Vietnam is hosting a medical conference in 2023, which will feature academic studies from various countries, showcasing international cooperation in the field of healthcare.


A vibrant and diverse cityscape at night in Ho Chi Minh City, captured with exceptional clarity and detail.

In conclusion, Ho Chi Minh City is the main city in Vietnam and the largest in terms of population. It’s a bustling metropolis with a mix of traditional and modern elements. Other major cities like Hanoi, Hai Phong, and Da Nang also offer unique cultural experiences and attractions.

Vietnam’s urban centers continue to grow rapidly, reflecting the country’s dynamic development.


1. What is the main city in Vietnam?

The main city in Vietnam is Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon.

2. Is Ho Chi Minh City the largest city in Vietnam?

Yes, Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam with a population of over 8 million people.

3. Are there other large cities in Vietnam besides Ho Chi Minh City?

Yes, there are other large cities in Vietnam such as Hanoi (the capital), Da Nang, and Hai Phong.

4. Which city has the highest population density in Vietnam?

Ho Chi Minh City has the highest population density in Vietnam due to its large population and urbanization.

5. How does the population of Ho Chi Minh City compare to other cities in Vietnam?

Ho Chi Minh City has a significantly higher population compared to other cities in Vietnam, making it the most populated city in the country.

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