VIETNAM | Hanoi Weekend Walking Street, No Motorbikes! | Lakad Pilipinas

Hanoi Walking Street Weekend

“Where are the motorbikes?!” We were totally baffled the morning we arrived at Hanoi after visiting the Imperial Citadel of Hue. The streets around Hoan Kiem Lake were devoid of motorbikes, or any motorized vehicle for that matter. It was a Sunday morning, the weather was a bit nippy with magenta bougainvillea flowers and yellow blossoms from the trees littering the road. It was quite a refreshing sight, totally very not Hanoi, but in a very good way!

Hanoi Walking Street Hoan Kiem Lake
HOAM KIEM LAKE IN HANOI

It turns out that Hanoi has started to pedestrianize the roadways around Hoan Kiem Lake. The testing stage started as far back as 2014, with six major streets barricaded against motorized traffic. By September 2016, fifteen more streets were added in.

MOTORCYCLES RULE ON A TYPICAL DAY IN HANOI

This, of course, is not an everyday occurrence. The roadways are only pedestrianized during weekends, specifically from six in the evening during Fridays, up to two in the morning on Sundays. In between those, the motorbikes again rule Hanoi’s asphalts.

Hanoi Walking Street Pikachu
LOCAL KIDS LINING UP TO TAKE A PICTURE WITH PIKACHU

It was actually the first time we witnessed Hanoi’s weekend walking street, and we were absolutely bowled over, making us wish we have the same thing implemented back in the Philippines.

Hanoi Walking Street Hoan Kiem Lake Park
HOAN KIEM LAKE PARK, A POPULAR PLACE TO HANG FOR BOTH LOCALS AND TOURISTS

Without gargantuan shopping malls, the people of Hanoi actually like to hang out in parks—something I also found to be quite charming and, again, something I envy compared with the situation in our country where parks are paved for malls.

Hanoi Walking Street Hoan Kiem Lake Park
LOVELY SPOT ALONG HOAN KIEM LAKE

Hanoi Walking Street
MOTORIZED TRAFFIC IS REPLACED BY KIDS ON SMALL CARS AND BIKES

The walking street concentrates around the roadways flanking Hoan Kiem Lake. After having our breakfast at Cocoon Inn Hostel, we woke up to people walking along the roadways like it’s the most normal thing in the world. Kids were on their bicycles and mini-cars, pedaling along like kings of the road. Teens were walking hand in hand, some in skateboards and skates.

Hanoi Walking Street Skaters
A FREELINE SKATER IN HANOI

Hanoi Walking Street Sunset
SUNSET ALONG THE ROAD PARALLEL TO THE LAKE

And as the afternoon wore on and the sun started to lower itself, street performers started to fill the area—from hippie guitar players belting out Jim Croce covers, to local artists belting out, well, Vietnamese songs, to the cheers of the crowd!

Hanoi Walking Street Traditional GamesHanoi Walking Street Traditional Games
TRADITIONAL AND MODERN GAMES ABOUND

Hanoi Walking Street Traditional Games
A FAMILY PLAYING SUNGKA ON THE ROAD

Hanoi Walking Street Traditional GamesHanoi Walking Street Traditional Games
SKIPPING ROPE AND JACKSTONES, WELL, SORT OF

Hanoi Walking Street Traditional Games
MUA SAP OR POPULARLY KNOWN HERE IN THE PHILIPPINES AS TINIKLING

In between these, traditional games abound, mostly hosted by, my guess, the local government. They have tug-of-wars, jumping ropes, bamboo dance similar to our tinikling, bamboo pole stilts, a form of jackstones which they use chopsticks and tennis balls, and even sungka! The best thing about it is that everyone is free to just hop in and join in the melee! It was such a fun sight!

Hanoi Walking Street Candy Vendor
CANDY VENDOR ON THE WALKING STREET

Hanoi Walking Street Hoan Kiem Lake Evening
HOAN KIEM LAKE AT NIGHT

Of course, street food and wares also abound! What we did, as the afternoon turned into night, we set for the nearest convenience store, bought ourselves a few cans of Bia Ha Noi beer, some chips, then proceeded to sit at the edge of the Hoan Kiem Lake while watching as the crowd got thicker and the Vietnamese songs, louder. I am loving every bit of this!

 

Hanoi Weekend Walking Street
Address: Old District, Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi, Vietnam
Schedule: Every Friday 6:00PM to Sunday 2:00AM
GPS Coordinates Map: 21.029441, 105.852382

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Friday, January 26, 2018

2 comments:

  1. Ang ganda ng vibes ditooo. Gusto ko na mag hanoi asap dahil dito

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    Replies
    1. Aba aba, nagco-comment sa blog! Pero seryoso, sobrang okay ng vibe ng Hanoi compared sa Ho Chi Minh

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