Take it to the Streets: Hanoi

While traveling on the road, I met fellow travelers who've been to Vietnam and asked about their experiences. They would usually say they liked the place or the food but one thing they didn’t like about it was the traffic.

It. was. crazy.

If you’re not used to vehicles honking, scooters darting on the streets or figuring out how to cross the road (because traffic rules seem to be non-existent in some areas), then you’ll be stressed out. I was. Pretty much. 

But despite the shock and trauma from almost getting run over every time I tried to cross the street, it grew on me. The streets are full of life and seeing so many people engaged with different kinds of activities all over the place was overwhelming. I went to Hanoi in December and the streets were extra colorful because of the Holiday Season. Here’s a short list of places I got to explore.

 
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Old Quarter

The Old Quarter is a mix of the current and French Colonial architecture. Most of them have become shop-houses, restaurants, hostels or cafes but you can tell it’s well-preserved and seeing the bustling streets full of scooters, street vendors or tourists, there's a whole range of subjects to choose from.

Train Street

I love the train street. Basically, there’s this railway in the middle of houses, where people actually lived. They wash their dishes outside, cook their food, I even saw a man chopping up some chicken. There was an art shop and a cafe that was closed at the time, cause it was early in the morning. It was a pretty common sight. When the train passed by, they pick up their stuff to make way for it and then get back to business when it was all clear. It was just wild and impressive and the same time.

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Hoan Kiem Lake

This lake is located in the middle of Hanoi? I assume. It’s also where a lot of main activities were held. On some weekends they would close the road for a night market and you can see a lot of people eating, performers, musicians, people doing tai chi or snuggling with a date. One time they had a stage on the middle road which I guess, was for some event. But you get the idea.

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Long Bien Bridge

A friend took me to this pretty interesting bridge. Long Biên Bridge is a historic bridge across the Red River that connects two districts, Hoan Kiem and Long Bien. It looked so old and rusty which is part of the charm tbh. Only scooters can pass by the side of the road and there was a railway in the middle of it. I assumed it wasn’t used anymore cause dang it looked dangerous but nope. I saw trains passing by so yeah. My friend invited me to go into the railway which I was pretty hesitant at first because;

1. It was dangerous,
2. What if a freaking train crossed and we had to jump out and into the abyss and die (lol) but he assured me it was fine.

A lot of people are doing it too. So we did that and it was so damn cool. Just be wary and do jump out if a train is arriving. 

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Đồng Xuân Market

Just like any other market in Asia, it’s loud and there’s always that weird and funky smell. You’ll see a lot of vendors with cone-shaped hats are selling all sorts of things, live chickens, live fish, flowers… name it, they got it. Haha. It was all pretty weird and colorful. I could probably spend a whole day watching them and of course, picture.

 

So, if you’ve never been to Asia, Hanoi is one of the most interesting places to do street photography. I’ve never considered myself to be a street photographer but I’ve always been engrossed in documenting the normal, day to day activities, especially in a new place. 

You can view the rest of the gallery on the link below.