Hanoi at night – a very different Hanoi
If you need suggestions for things to do in Hanoi after you have arrived at Noi Bai airport and get visa to Vietnam stamp, I tell you that Hanoi at night is the most beautiful. If you cannot sleep one day, you can go out to listen to Hanoi breath to feel Hanoi in old silent appearance. You can feel life truthfully of working class in Hanoi.
Hanoi in daytime is hustle and hurry contrary to the atmosphere at night. Sometimes people were swept away by the haste of daily life and there is not enough time to stop and watch the ancient beauty of 36 streets, of Thang Long thousand years of civilization. So, if you want to experience the beauty of ancient Hanoi, you have to wait until night, when there is no congestion and stuffiness.
Where to visit at night
Wonder things to do in Hanoi, just come to any place you like. If you don’t realize the old houses and streets in the daytime, it’s wonderful to enjoy at night. You can see the ancient houses with their fragrant gardens, locals’ evening activities. You will be immersed in the sounds of the night, and will get to enjoy some great street food from the local vendors in non-touristy parts of the city favored by locals. Visiting Hoan Kiem Lake and strolling along Hanoi’s Old Quarter is so exciting. Besides, you can visit Ba Dinh square, West Lake, St. Joseph’s Cathedral (Nha Tho Lon), Ngo Quyen Street, Long Bien Bridge, Quang Ba flower market, Long Bien night market, etc…
Night restaurants in Hanoi
There are some places you can choose when going out at night and be hungry:
- Some stalls next to Dong Xuan market
- Pho bo (Beef noodle) 27 Hang Ngang (open from 3 pm to 5 am)
- Chicken simmered Noodle at the crossroads of Hang Bo, Luong Van Can (open from 5 pm – 11 pm)
- Fish Noodle – Hang Dau (Open 24/24)
- Xôi Yến (Bird-nest sticky rice) (open from 5 am to 1 pm)
Apart from these addresses above, you can choose some stalls of bun, soup, Pho… in the night market.
Some tips and tricks when going out at night in Hanoi:
It’s so interesting when wandering around the city at night as everything is yours, nobody can interrupt your trip. However, please take note:
- Motorbike is the most convenient means of transport; remember to fill up because it’s very difficult to find a gas station. If you don’t have a motorbike, you should go by bike. It’s also good to enjoy your trip.
- For safety, you should not go alone, at night may come up against theft, robbery, drug addict… Avoid dark places; don’t stop at the deserted street for so long. You should report anything suspicious to the police or go fast.
- Keep warm, take along your personal identification to show the flying squad when being asked and don’t bring things of great value like jewelry as a precaution.
Here is some experience of Hanoi at night:
If you like history, you should go to the Ba Dinh Square before 9 pm (I’d recommend at least at 20:30) to see the flag lowering ceremony with national anthem song. As it can be seen that, in Ba Dinh Square, there is a flag pole of Vietnam national flag. Every day, there are two ceremonies: The flag salutation and the flag-lowering. The flag salutation ceremony is done on all days of the year, regardless of the weather. It starts at 6 am in the summer and 6.30 am in the winter. And the flag – lowering is held in 9 pm every day with national anthem song. There are 34 soldiers who take part in the ceremony, 1 leader, and 11 lines, each line has 3 people. In the important events, the flag will be hanged up all day until finish the holiday. The soldier wears white suit because the white is the symbol of the bright mind and the loyalty. This is a sacred and solemn ritual to show our respect to country so many people go to Ba Dinh Square to see the soldiers take down the flag.
Quang Ba flower market opens at midnight, which is bustling and crowded. Many Vietnamese people have never got experience in a night flower market like that. If you really want to feel the life of many Hanoi people and Vietnam culture, you should come here. All these beautiful flowers will be transferred to all the city. Of course, flowers in this market is cheaper than others. Don’t forget to buy some as the gift for your friends or your room.
Say goodbye to Quang Ba flower market, we visit Long Bien bridge and fruit and vegetable market. Maybe this is the most crowded places in Hanoi at night. You can see how hard are poor people in Hanoi to earn their living. Labor here mainly women. It’s easy to realize the female porter here. Skinny women with old and ragged clothes are trying to complete their task to earn a little money to take care of their children and even their ailing husband. They seem unconscious of hard work.
Seeing special trading activities of the busiest wholesale market in Hanoi of their own eyes is a unique experience for foreign travelers when visiting Vietnam. If you are wondering what to do in Hanoi at night, here are experience of some foreigners in Long Bien night market.
Every week, Joe visits the night market at midnight. There are also some wholesale markets in his countries, but the trading style in Long Bien Market is totally different. At the first time visiting, Joe really feels overwhelmed by various goods, from vegetable, fruit, to fresh food. But what he often buys are herbs and fruits.
Joe said: “I feel really interested. I have visited many countries but Long Bien Night Wholesale Market is completely different. Everybody does business simply by oral trading and a textbook, from night to morning.”
According to him, if you visit Hanoi without going to Long Bien Night Market, it’s really a pity because you have missed an interesting experience. It should be on your priority of what to do in Hanoi at night. “If you just order goods from the supermarket to the restaurant, you just only can make industrial food. Being actual chief cooks, people are really interested in each kind of vegetable and choose material by themselves.”
Standing near Mr. Joe for a long time, I have seen him taking various kinds of vegetable to his basket. All are made in Vietnam. “Interesting” is his comment about the market before going to find other materials for special dishes of his restaurant.
Wandering in the market at 4am, I chanced on some French tourists. Not like Joe, they visit the market to see how the local people do business and know more about an “unsleeping Hanoi”. With travelers, traditional markets bring them deep attraction and its own meanings.
Michael – one of French tourists shares: “It’s really interesting when visiting Hanoi center, not far from where we live is a busy night market. I feel quite strange about your crowded market with many trucks and manual transporting.” His wife supposes that striking colors, noisy and hurried businessmen… in the night market are the reasons why any foreign tourists would like to visit Long Bien Night Market when going to Hanoi. They can easily discover more about local people’s culture and life style there.
When being told that this night market may be abolished in the future, French tourists show their deep nostalgia. “Long Bien District or night markets are interesting places. Traditional markets attract lots of tourists. You can improve this market to be cleaner and safer instead of abolishing it.” – A young girl of them said.
Indeed, many tourists agree that visiting Long Bien Night Market is an essential part in their itinerary. It becomes one of the most attractive and interesting markets in the world because it brings tourists a different insight of Hanoi, with most truthful experiences about normal busy life of hurried but charming Hanoi people.
That’s why Gobackpacking magazine has ever chosen Long Bien Night Market as one of 5 most interesting markets in Southern East Asia. Recently, Conde Nast Traveler – a famous travel magazine – has also listed it in top 7 most interesting whole sale markets in the world. Conde Nast Traveler notes that tourists should visit this market before the sun rises. The market opens the whole night and becomes busiest from 2 – 4am. It provides all goods from fresh food to fruits and becomes the biggest food providing market of Hanoi. If you are thinking of what to do in Hanoi at night, let’s go to Long Bien night market and enjoy this special feature of Hanoi.
I cannot tell you how beautiful Hanoi autumn drizzling night is. If you want the best things to do in Hanoi, let’s go out and you will find these images above. I’m sure, you will never regret.
Source: Vietnam Visa