My year-long stay in Vietnam was nothing short of amazing. I guess I can say that the whole thing was one of my most unforgettable experiences ever. And since I lived alone (well, for the first three quarters, that is,) one of the things that I always did was explore the capital city of Hanoi on foot.
Hanoi is a pretty big city, so there’s always the possibility of getting lost. But I always believe that as long as you know how to communicate with the locals, getting lost is never a problem. So on weekends, when I was free to leave my place of work, I’d usually take a 40-minute bus ride to the Long Bien bus station in Hanoi for my weekly adventures. From the bus terminal, I would walk all the way to Hoan Kiem Lake, which basically was the starting point for most of my adventures. It was where I planned my next moves and where I decided which roads I should take.
A City of Culture
One of the many things that surprised me about Vietnam was the presence of Catholic churches. As a Filipino, I find this very welcoming and comforting.
Hanoi is a city that values and promotes art. It is therefore not surprising to see artists sitting along the road and making wonderful pieces of art.
I always walk down this street because it is not only pretty, it is also literally very cool even during summer.
You will find amazing architectural designs all over Hanoi. Thanks to foreign influences, Hanoi is a mixing bowl of designs and concepts.
Like me, my Korean friend Song enjoys strolling around the city for its rich and vibrant feel.
I had to take a quick pose in front of one of the many structures with both oriental and western designs.
The Vườn Hoa Vạn Xuân Park is a pocket park right next to the Hang Dau Water Tank- a historic water tank which was built in 1894 by the French. The park is frequented by locals who enjoy playing board games, drinking tea, and getting their hair cut in the shade.
That’s me getting a hair cut under a tree at Vườn Hoa Vạn Xuân Park.
Tourist Spots in Hanoi, Vietnam
St. Joseph’s Cathedral is a popular Roman Catholic church in the Hoan Kiem district. This is a very well-known tourist destination and is often included in walking tours of the city.
The Vietnamese are crazy about street food. So, everywhere you look, you will find a nice little road-side restaurant that is packed with hungry patrons. Here is a shot of a busy day at a nice little Bun Cha place.
Similar to Philippine railroads in major urban areas, Hanoi has tracks that cut through some densely populated areas in the city.
Hanoi, Vietnam: A City Full of Life
Guided coach tours are very popular, especially in the Old Quarter. For a few hundred thousand Dongs, you get to enjoy this ride around the ultra-busy shopping and tourist district.
Motorcycles are such a huge deal in Vietnam with each household owning at least one fully-functioning unit.
The Hoan Kiem District is very popular among tourists. So night markets which sell souvenir items and even fresh produce always pop-up on some streets in the evening when tourists come out to explore the city’s bustling night scene.
Check out my other Vietnam stories below:
- Walking Around Bac Ninh City in Northern Vietnam
- A Look Inside the Vietnam Military History Museum
- How I Found Hanoi’s One Pillar Pagoda by Chance
- In Photos: The Cho Dong Xuan (Dong Xuan Market) in Hanoi, Vietnam
- Exploring the Lý Bát Đế Temple in Bac Ninh, Vietnam
- Hanoi on Foot: Journey Through the Streets of the Vietnamese Capital
- A Closer Look at Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem Lake
- Welcoming the Lunar New Year in Lạng Sơn, Vietnam
- A Memorable Journey to Đồng Đăng in Lạng Sơn, Vietnam
- Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum: Paying Respects to ‘Uncle Ho’
- Phat Tich Pagoda: Vietnam’s Cultural Giant
- The Super Cool Detour to Da Lat, Vietnam
- Bút Tháp Temple: Vietnam’s Cultural Gem
- Visiting the Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long
- Tay Ho: The Biggest Lake in Hanoi, Vietnam
- Hoa Lo Prison: Vietnam’s “Hanoi Hilton”
- My Memorable First Winter in Vietnam
- Hoan Kiem Lake: The Heart of Hanoi, Vietnam
- “Pot Sessions” at the Bat Trang Pottery Village
- First Stop: Temple of Literature in Hanoi