To tell you the truth, I never really thought that winter could get pretty cold in Vietnam. In fact, I packed for my Hanoi trip believing that the whole country is just like the Philippines from January to December. But I was wrong. Very wrong. See, I first visited Vietnam last July. It was the summer season and that trip sort of solidified my belief that Vietnam is exactly just like Cebu. Probably even hotter.
This time, I landed in Vietnam on the 30th of November, not expecting that winter could be so cold with temperature dropping to as low as 10 degrees. It was only when I left the main door of the Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi that I knew I was in trouble. With just one jacket and a few regular shirts, will I survive winter in Vietnam?
Winter in Northern Vietnam
As soon as I arrived in Bac Ninh, I looked for the same familiar shops and stores that I saw during my first visit. However, I almost couldn’t recognize any of them as they no longer carried the items that they normally sold. Instead, these stores now sold nice-looking winter clothes and accessories.
Men’s jackets and sweaters are sold in almost all clothes shops in Hanoi and Bac Ninh. There was really a need to buy a new one so I made sure to visit as many shops as possible and find the best deal.
Also, popular items during this season are jogging pants, gloves, scarves, hats, pants, and all other things people need to remain warm.
Taking into consideration this routine of changing merchandise to suit the season, you would think that the Vietnamese no longer frequented these shops. But I was wrong. I found out later on that the Vietnamese are extremely fashion-forward and buying new clothes during winter is actually a pretty common practice.
A Familiar Sight
One of the sights that I loved about Bac Ninh was the lone Catholic church.
The church and the church grounds served as my refuge every time I felt like bawling my eyes out due to home-sickness.
And look! They have a Christmas Tree!
The sign says “Merry Christmas” in Vietnamese.
Despite the extremely cold weather – with the average low being 16 degrees – the Vietnamese remain very hardworking and diligent. Pictured below is a vendor selling fake flowers and ornamental plants in the streets of Bac Ninh.
I tried exploring one of Bac Ninh City’s biggest parks wearing only a sweater, a pair of sandals, and a pair of shorts. Let’s just say I didn’t last very long.
During winter, food becomes a very important source of energy, heat, and happiness. Of course, you can always turn to food when winter gets really depressing and gloomy.
The marketplace is usually already abuzz as early as 7 am with early-morning diners who wish to munch on piping-hot dishes and local treats.
In the capital city of Hanoi, things are a bit more modern and open. Right in front of the Lotte Center in Hanoi, a beautiful giant Christmas Tree can be found.
I found a perfect meal after a long and really cold day. At the food court of the Lotte Center in Hanoi, I got a wonderful serving of Shin Ramyun.