Whenever winter comes to this millennial city, it is the greatest time to sip a warm cup of coffee, gather with friengs in St. Joseph’s Cathedral on Christmas, or take some memorable photos on flower fields in profuse bloom. Here are 7 wonderful experiences that you should skip in Hanoi winter.
Hanoi Cathedral was constructed in French colonial time, aged over 120. On Christmas Eve night, this ancient church is ornamented splendidly with colored lights and recreated the birth of Jesus Christ. Sit here and sip a glass of lemon tea with friends, contemplate the construction marked trace of time and count backwards to moment of midnight, as a great experience in Hanoi winter.
If you prefer activity, let spend a late afternoon cycling around West lake. You will surprise thanks for amazing scenery of the lake on cold days: ethereal winter air with silvery mist, and sunset light radiates twinkly on tranquil lake. You can amble on “Korea street” (duong Han Quoc) along the West lake, or turn into a lakeside eating house to enjoy hot medium-sized edible snail dishes and barbecues with friends. Silence of the West lake will make you temporarily forget heavy pressure of city.
With classical French colonial houses beside many art galleries and restaurants European in style, Trang Tien street is an ideal place for walk that travelers can feel the both romantic and animated atmosphere of Hanoi winter. Going all the way to the end, it isn’t difficult to realize Hanoi Opera House carrying itself like theaters in Paris. Savoring a cup of coffee, visiting art galleries or wandering on the “book street” nearby will bring you truly relaxed minutes.
Long Bien (or Doumer) – an over 100-year-old bridge is bustling again on every evening by flocks of people leisurely strolling, provisionally leaving far away from urban light. Melodies of life resound with train whistles, and sound of bicycle rotations of traders from everywhere coming home after a hard working day. You can throw yourself into a food stall of steamed corns and grilled sweet potatoes, or a warm tea stall to temporarily forget the cold of Hanoi winter.
Long Bien bridge is considered as a historical witness of Hanoi, as it had underwent numerous bombardments and other historical changes. Stand on the bridge and look around, you will feel vicissitudes as well as peaceful scenery of green fields on alluvial grounds along Red river.
The Old Quarter, aged several hundreds, carrying typical features of former Kinh Ky area (Hanoi’s old name), is a concentration area of many restaurants, entertainment and food sites for youths, domestic as well as abroad travelers. If you don’t think out where to go and eat in Hanoi, the Old Quarter is the most suitable choice for you. Night sauntering around these streets on weekend, enjoying folk and modern music performances, and tasting winter dishes like gruel with “quay” (yao tiao), warm medium-sized edible snails, glutinous rice doughnut, etc surely will bring you compelling impressions.
December is the time Hanoi’s streets brim with flower hawker bicycles loaded fully daisies, asters and yellow chrysanthemums. To many youths, this time is really great to take some beautiful, memorable photos with friends among charming flower fields, even rural kinds like mustard flowers. A biking trip around Hanoi outskirts will be an original highlight, as you can see the urban rich-traditional-life, visit ancient houses and temples, contemplate stunning and peaceful fields, and understand longstanding cultivating culture of North Vietnam.
You can sit and enjoy coffee year-round. However, several-decade-old cafés in Hanoi will be cozier ever on winder days. Sipping a warm cup of coffee, huddling on a small chair beside a little table, watching the bustling Old Quarter and listening to classical ballads, it will be a very distinct feel hard to find anywhere else.