Vietnam is a beautiful country full of history and amazing people. Throughout the land, you can discover the ravages of war right next to the new Vietnam. It is a constant reminder of its past and its drive to pursue the future. This sense of looking to the future is felt most often in the larger cities within the country. Hanoi is the second largest city in Vietnam and boasts a thriving and ever-growing population where the new and the old work together in perfect harmony.
The city of Hanoi is no small village. The total surface area of Hanoi comes to 3,328.9 square kilometers (approximately 1,292 square miles).
The estimated population is difficult to determine conclusively as more people come into the city, but the last known count of the overall population of Vietnam showed that there were approximately 7.68 million people. That is an impressive number for any city, but what is more impressive is how they live within the confines of Hanoi in harmony.
The population density is estimated at 2,300 people for every square kilometer (5,900 per square mile) within the city. This may be a tight squeeze for the people of Hanoi, but the growth continues year after year.
As with all cities within the booming economy of Vietnam, Hanoi has a strict education system. Students in Hanoi are expected to take their education quite seriously and, from the age of three until the age of 18, students attend school for half of the day and then do additional learning through extracurricular activities and tutoring. This schedule is repeated six days out of the week. It sounds like an excessive amount of schooling, but it does pay off over time; Hanoi's encouragement of learning has produced some spectacular results. It is estimated that 62% of the scientists in the country live within Hanoi. The opportunities for personal growth are endless, and Hanoi offers an abundance of public colleges for students to choose from. There are some private colleges within the city, but they are less popular than the public varieties.
Getting around Hanoi presents some challenges. Because the city is so densely populated, traffic can be a nightmare. In some cities, the issue is resolved with a train system meant to divert the traffic away from the surface streets. Although the government of Hanoi has considered addressing the problem in this way, the public transportation approach is still in its infancy with no visible train system yet. For the most part, the easiest way to get around Hanoi is by motorcycle. These small and agile vehicles allow the driver to navigate the heavy traffic much more efficiently than in a standard car.
Car ownership is on the rise within Hanoi since residents would instead enjoy the comforts of a car than be exposed to the increasing pollution. The roadblock that the potential car owner faces is the insistence of the government that car owners pay a higher tax in the hopes that fewer vehicles will occupy the roads. It is a large conundrum within Hanoi, but one that hopefully will be rectified one day by either investment in the public transportation system or other innovative developments.