Hanoi, one of the most beautiful of the colonial Indochinese cities, is often the start or end point of a trip to Vietnam, and what a great welcome or farewell it is. Oozing with charm, Hanoi has gone through wholesale changes since Vietnam swung open its doors to tourism, but it remains true to its essential personality and is an amazing city to experience.
Though considerably quieter than big sister Saigon, Hanoi still retains a vibrant atmosphere. From the early hours until late at night, the fig-tree shaded streets swarm with careening motorbikes, often with four, five or even six people aboard. A cyclo is available on most street corners, but unless you are making a particularly long trip, the best way to explore Hanoi is by foot.
Finally, the people of Hanoi are some of the warmest and most approachable in the country. Though English is not as commonly spoken as in the South, many of the older generation have a working vocabulary of French. Regardless of language, people will attempt to have a conversation with you irrespective of whether you can understand them. Many of the city's cyclo drivers speak some English and often have intriguing pasts that they are now willing to discuss with foreigners.
Travel to the city's famous flower market where hundreds of different kinds of flowers are sold in bulk to local flower shopkeepers
Bring your Hanoi experience to a whole new level with the breathtaking beauty and awesomeness it offers
Enjoy walking along Eiffel Bridge and looking down at the activities of the locals under the bridge
At 04:00a.m: ODC’s guide and driver will meet you at your hotel. From there, you will travel by car to the spots where Hanoi's early morning life is already underway. First, travel to the city's famous flower market where hundreds of different kinds of flowers are sold in bulk to local flower shopkeepers.
This is the proof that Hanoi is not just about food and beer, but also about amazing flowers (though yeah, a large portion of the flowers in this market is brought from Da Lat).. Anyway, this is one of the places that could bring your Hanoi experience to a whole new level with the breathtaking beauty and awesomeness it offers.
So if you really want to impress your significant other and be the romantic piece of meat you can't be elsewhere due to insane cost for flower and stuff, this is the place for you. Best yet, go clubbing till (almost) dawn, take a ride to this place, let the breeze on Yen Phu cool you down, buy shitload of flowers, have a nice hot bowl of noodle in Pho Thin (Ho Guom), go home and sleep like the happiest person on earth. Trust me, you can't miss this!!
5.00 a.m: Keep moving to Long Bien Market. It’s not top of any must-do list in travel guides, but a visit to Hanoi’s chaotic Long Bien market is a fascinating exposure to the life of a large proportion of Hanoi residents.
Long Bien market, located next to Long Bien Bridge, alongside the dyke road, is a fruit and vegetable wholesale market and is at its busiest in the very early hours of the morning, when stallholders from the local wet markets, restaurants and other businesses visit to stock up for the day.
You may have visited a wet market in Vietnam before but Long Bien market is on a completely different level. At its peak, around 03:00, it is a heaving mass of activity: buyers crowd around open-back trucks, vying for a bargain; money counters hold court over their stalls, recording every sale; motorbikes weave down aisles, loaded with boxes and bags crammed with fruit; workers squat in front of huge baskets of fruit, sorting the good from the bad; and paths are blocked by carts competing with bicycles and shoppers, with neither willing to give way.
Being a night market also gives it a different vibe: vendors operate under fluorescent strip lights or single bulbs, bringing an eerie glow to the multitude of alleyways created by canvas and wooden makeshift dividers. As the sun comes up, the lights go off and daylight replaces artificial lighting.
By 06:00, shoppers are replaced by a plethora of street cleaners, sweeping up the crushed packing material and squashed oranges, and vendors take a break for breakfast and to count the day’s takings.
Everywhere you look there is a treat for the senses at Long Bien. So visit, walk around, and find a spot to just watch — the time flies by.
As a final note, and without wishing to put a dampener on things, the market does have a darker side. Many of the workers, particularly the porters, have emigrated from surrounding rural areas to earn money to send home to poor families. For women, this means leaving children behind and relocating to a cramped, damp room, shared with others in the same situation. Pay is low, the work is hard and abuse is common.
Next, travel by foot and watch as the Old Quarter begins to wake up. See street side markets begin to prepare for the morning rush. Make your way to HoanKiem Lake to watch as local people start their day with exercise, Tai Chi, or jogging in the peaceful surroundings of this local park. There was even an area in the park where you could learn how to dance, certainly you can join to dance with locals for fun.As the sun rises and the city begins to light up, take this great opportunity to snap some of the best photos you'll take on your whole trip!
At 7.00 a.m: Tour guide will introduce some popular local breakfast such as "noodle soup with chicken or beef, sticky rice or steamed rice paper rolling pancake, other thing.... and drinks "coffee or iced green tea with lemon to choose as your favor and desire.
At 8.00a.m: We get on to Eiffel bridge, was built in 1902 by the French architect Gustave Eiffel. Before Vietnam's independence in 1954, it was called Doumer Bridge, named after Paul Doumer. Proudly spanning the red river for one hundred years and having withstood several attacks in times of war. Eiffel Bridge has been a witness of the bravery of Vietnamese people and deserves to be a symbol of Hanoi in the present era of peace and integration.We will truly enjoy cycling along Eiffel Bridge and looking down at the activities of the locals under the bridge.
From the bridge, let’s go down, we can visit some families are living here, have chat with them, asking them their life and enjoy with them plant vegetables or how to good care the vegetables.
At 10.00 a.m: Ends of your trip, and say goodbye to your friendly tour guide. See you again!
Beware of your luggage and money
Inform in advance if you are vegetarian.
All customers must obey the order of your tour guide for your safety.
- Tours and activities as stated above
- English speaking guide
- Entrance fees
What's Not Included
- Travel insurance
- Extra food and beverages
- Tips and personal expenses
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