TIPS TO EXPLORE A UNIQUE HANOI AT NIGHT
If you come to Hanoi and there is one night that you cannot sleep, let’s step outside. Step outside to hear the sound of Hanoi at night and to see a sedately ancient beauty of this city.
Hanoi at night is the most beautiful! If you come to Hanoi and there is one night that you cannot sleep, let’s step outside. Step outside to hear the sound of Hanoi at night and to see a sedately ancient beauty of this city. In that beauty there are idyllic tranquility and plain struggles of a person to make his end.
How fast Hanoi takes paces in broad daylight! Sometimes, it is me who got screw away with that hurry; it is me who goes too quickly that cannot stop to enjoy the antiqueness of 1000-year-old Thang Long Hanoi. If I want to quietly watch it, I need to wait. Wait for no rush and for no stuffy feeling with vehicle horns. Wait for Hanoi nightlife.
Hanoi nightlife tips: Where to wander?
Just go wherever you like, across the familiar streets to see how tranquil it is at night. Later, take a break at Hoan Kiem Lake and border upon the Old Quarter.
If under the daylight, you couldn’t find these old houses and antique streets then at night, you have chance to enjoy them thoroughly. Beside Hoan Kiem Lake and the Old Street, there are Ba Dinh Square, West Lake, Hanoi Opera House, Ngo Quyen Street, Long Bien Bridge, Quang Ba flower market, Long Bien night market and so on for you to visit.
Hanoi night-operated street stalls
I don’t know much about street stalls at Hanoi but I can give you some addresses that I visited during my trip as Hanoi nightlife tips.
– Food venders beside Dong Xuan market
– Beef noodle 27 Hang Ngang (3am – 5am)
– Simmered chicken noodle, Hang Bo intersection, Luong Van Can street, (5pm – 11pm)
– Fish noodle, Hang Dau street (24/24)
Apart from these addresses, there are some soup and noodle venders in night markets that are still open. You can go and try some on the way.
Some attentions when enjoying Hanoi nightlife
Wandering at night is exciting as at that time, the street, the town and everything else are yours. However, there is something you need to pay attention to:
– The most convenient transportation is motorbike. Remember to fill it up with petrol. If you don’t have a motorbike, a bike might be the alternative choice. Riding a bike doesn’t require you to park it and you can bring it anywhere, quite advantageous.
– Another Hanoi nightlife tip, to keep you safe at night and to avoid meeting misbehaving people such as thief, burglar, etc., stay away from dark sites, don’t stop for too long at deserted places.
– Wear warm clothes, bring personal identity paper, do not bring too much money or precious belongings (phone, jewelry, etc.)
My journey to explore Hanoi nightlife began at 9pm. The starting point was Uncle Ho’s mausoleum with the intention to watch retreat ceremony. Unfortunately, I was late for the retreat. If I had wanted to watch it, I should have been there at 8:30pm. After the ceremony, hardly could I see anyone on Ba Dinh Square.
I went to Thanh Nien Street, nearby West Lake, after visiting Uncle Ho’s Mausoleum. It was about 10pm and the street was still crowded.
Back to Hoang Dieu boulevard, right before General Vo Nguyen Giap’s house did I go. It was the 49th day of General’s funeral. Near the fence were lots of candles. Occasionally, few people were passing by and looking into the house as if they were looking for some unnamed feelings or memories. That’s exactly when Hanoi nightlife started.
I went to Hoan Kiem Lake at about 11pm. Around the lake was the quietness. Not many people were left except few young couple and the old who went for exercise. The night came creeping in.
Parking my motorbike near the cathedral, I slowly walked to Dinh Le Street, Trang Tien. Not any store did they open at that time. Not any tourist. Not any vender. The city all fell into sleep.
I was with another Hanoi, a quieter and more idyllic one. It is hard to find such affection.
Leaving the Old Quarter, I approached Quang Ba flower market on Au Co road by following Long Bien Street while it started raining harder.
It was the first time that I had been to this market. When I reached there, I felt hungry so I dropped by a night food stall. After having a warm, delicious bowl of noodle with moderate price (30.000 VND), I was full of energy.
It was my first time to see so many kinds of flower. Though I watched them for a while, I couldn’t tease out all of this beauty.
The sellers at Quang Ba Market were meek. Before coming here, I was ready to hear yells or shouts. Nonetheless, they showed comfortable faces when I took photos.
Leaving the flower market at 3:45am, I went to vegetable market near Long Bien. After 2 years, I went back to that market which might be the busiest when Hanoi nightlife starts.
The labor here mainly is women. 2 years ago, I was attracted by women who burdened vendors at 4am.
It’s not hard to identify women who are drudging porters here. They showed up with skinny body, old labor clothes, dirty raincoat and torn conical hat. It seemed like they had been always ready for that night – a cold night.
They were in a rush. They run hard to save time hoping that they could carry more and more burdens. Looking at them made me feel ashamed. I felt ashamed for times that I turned down a job because of the low salary or boringness, I felt ashamed for times that I had wasted money.
Out of the market, the story of these women still stuck in my mind: approximately a ton, 3 shifts per night, hard work and about $5 for one fulfilled truck.
I know that I am not insightful enough to tell you how exquisite a Hanoi winter nightlife with drizzles was. Maybe one day, you cannot sleep and decide to step out of the door to indulge yourself in the dark, may be at that time you could treasure this image and this feeling. Not only Hanoi but also the place where you live should you try it out. Just a sleepless night quietly walking out to see how the street at night looks like. It is my Hanoi nightlife tip.