As the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi is often overlooked and eclipsed by its more popular cousin Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). It’s dustier, hotter, and less accessible in some respects, but Hanoi is the gateway to awesome destinations such as, the Perfume Pagoda, Sapa, and of course the famous HaLong Bay.
With its effortless chaos and distinct subculture from the rest of Vietnam, Hanoi has a style uniquely its own. Locals still go about their daily lives as they have for decades while a cosmopolitan city develops around them. Modern cars mingle with waves of scooters, as an urban skyline rises around the old quarter and its mysterious Hoan Kiem Lake. Hanoi is so unique, that aficionados will even notice differences in its preparation of Pho (Vietnamese soup noodles).
Perhaps these cultural differences are due in part to its long history of occupation from the Chinese, Japanese and French, or perhaps it’s merely a result of its geographical distance from the south. Whatever the reason, what remains is a fluid juxtaposition of French and Asian, old and modern.
Hanoi is a Hidden Jewel!
Enjoy these photos, as I choose them in hopes to capture and embody the everyday of Hanoi Vietnam and compel you to give it a more intimate look:
- In Hanoi’s old quarter, where you’ll likely end up, the locals have embraced tourism effortlessly
- Old meets new. Amongst autos and cyclos, a Vietnamese woman wearing a conical hat still carries her wares by way of a shoulder pole
- The Vietnamese people are incredibly enterprising. In Hanoi, you’ll find small businesses in the most innocuous places providing an eclectic range of products from cigarettes, simcards, to pastries
- A vestige of French colonialism, St. Joseph’s Cathedral serves as the cathedral for the huge presence of practicing Catholics in the country
- A local in peach slippers gets off her bicycle in order to reposition her shipment of pomelos
- Bicycles and scooters are often the lifeblood of many Vietnamese families, often used for both transportation and business
- In most western cultures, roads are generally dominated by cars, in Hanoi and most parts of Vietnam, you’ll find that cyclos are far more prevalent
- You can’t see it, but in this image the woman is using a charcoal smoker in a narrow corridor to prepare dishes for the adjacent restaurant. To put this in perspective, it was easily 100˚F that day
- Turtle Tower located in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake (Sword Lake), within Hanoi’s old quarter
- A delicious bowl of Hanoi Pho!
Have you been to Hanoi Vietnam? What are some of your favorite things?
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