A LOVE LETTER TO HANOI
Hanoi doesn't slow down for anyone - we explore the beautiful city where food is prepared fresh at markets around busy streets, women drive motorbikes with their babies on their hips and exotic scents will surround you from all sides
Words: Emily Georgieva
Photography: Dave Weatherall, Markus Winkler
12 November 2020
Combining authentic Sino-Vietnamese tradition with the influence from the French has transformed Hanoi into one of the most culturally complex and one-of-a-kind cities in the world. Between visiting museums like the Ho Chi Minh Museum as well as the Fine Arts Museum, and taking a stroll in Hoan Kiem Lake park, travellers will fill up every spare minute with something to do.
Hanoi is thriving and it doesn't slow down for no one. The streets are where you can expect to feel the energy of the city. Locals are in a hurry to get to their daily routines, motorbikes zigzag navigating narrow routes perfectly and tourists wander through the beautiful chaos of the capital city. Everywhere you turn there will be more to see - from the colourful fruit and vegetables markets to the sizzling food stands. You will find yourself surrounded by exotic scents and warm people.
If you want to feel like you are one with Hanoi, hire a motorbike to explore the landscape better. As you drive past the cars and other bikes on the busy streets with nothing but the mountains in the distance and the wind in your hair to guide your way, you will quickly learn the curves and shapes of the land. If you are staying in Vietnam longer than just a couple of days, practice your motorbike skills and soon enough you will be able to navigate the streets as effortlessly as the locals do.
DID YOU KNOW: The Long Bien Bridge of Hanoi was designed by the creator of the Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty, Alexandre Gustav Eiffel.
CURIOUS FACT: Hanoi is known to be the hot spot for Vietnamese food so if you ever plan to visit the country, make sure you schedule a trip to the capital and try the local delicacies.
The capital of Vietnam is a cultural mosaic and as one it should be explored in all of its dimensions. Why not sign up to a cooking class at the Vietnam Culinary School to get insight knowledge on the Vietnamese cuisine? We guarantee that the recipes you learn will get you an approval from friends and family back home. Also, definitely make sure to try the egg and coconut coffee as although you can find it outside of Vietnam, it doesn't taste nearly as sweet anywhere else in the world.
The culture is to be seen and experienced everywhere. Travellers can even enjoy a traditional Vietnamese art performance at the Golden Bell Show theater. Head from the lesser-known Cat Ba to Ninh Binh, also known as "Halong Bay on land" where limestone karsts seemed to have transformed from rice paddies instead of being formed from the sea. The energy of those two places will make it seem like you have teleported from one culture to another.
Everything seems to be happening all at once in Hanoi - men stocking up vegetables and eggs in markets situated around buzzing streets, tourists navigating the city during gap years in search for inner peace and women driving motorbikes whilst holding their babies on their hips. There is nothing like being part of it all, taking in the culture of the city. Once you have visited Hanoi, you will never be able to forget it.
NOMADSofORIGIN is an independent annual publication with a focus on sustainable travelling and global cultural values. Each issue features interviews, engaging articles and photo guides, which take our nomadic readers through different destinations and introduce them to local people's perspectives.
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