Travelling Homebody - top 10 Hanoi photography spots

The wow factor: my favourite top 10 Hanoi photography spots

Hanoi is a vibrant, bustling city brimming with unique photo opportunities for the passionate photographer. There is a delightful mix of old and new Hanoi that makes it such a fascinating place to explore travel photography. Even if you sit in a café and people watch, you are guaranteed amazing pics — and with free WiFi everywhere in Hanoi, you can upload to your Instagram account on the go (don’t forget to tag us!). Here’s my pick for the top 10 locations for taking memorable photos while you are in Hanoi.

#1 Pan Pacific Hotel

The Pan Pacific not only has a fabulous roof top bar, located on the 20th floor of the hotel, but also one of the best views over Hanoi. And it’s spectacular at night. You can get a feel for how vibrant the city is with a breathtaking vista across West Lake, Truc Bach and Ba Dinh areas.  A little pricier than your average bar, the customer service is exemplary, so we think it’s worth it.

Location: 1 Thanh Nien Road, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi.

#2 Lotte Observation Deck

Unlike the Pan Pacific, the Observation Deck, on the 65th floor of the Lotte Centre, takes in all of Hanoi with sweeping panoramas across the city from a height of 267 metres. Not for those with a fear of heights is the glass floor of the two photo zones, which allows you an unobstructed view of the street below.

Location: 54 Lieu Giai Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi

#3 Railway tracks

Generally railway tracks are off limits, but not in Vietnam: there are many Hanoians who live right next to the line. People live their lives with trains passing by within a metre of houses, shops and cafes, making for wonderful photos. You can walk on the tracks, but for your safety be aware of trains! There are no warnings and they do not stop, so you’ll need to be alert.

Location: Ngo 224 Le Duan Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi

#4 Long Bien Bridge

The oldest bridge in Hanoi, Long Bien Bridge was built by the French in 1899 and crosses the Red River to connect Hoan Kiem and Long Bien. The steel bridge is quite dilapidated, which makes it so interesting to photograph. Traffic includes motor cycles, bicycles and pedestrians. And trains. You can access the tracks at Long Bien Station for stunning photos of trains approaching and departing, especially at sunrise or sunset.

Location: Yen Phu Road, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi.

#5 Dong Xuan Market

While inside Dong Xuan Market is interesting in and of itself — it was also built by the French in 1899 — spend some time outside the market for “slice of life” pictures of Vietnamese going about their daily lives. Vendors occupy any space on the street they can, as well as peddling their wares from bicycles. Conical hats and pyjamas are the uniform. And there’s also iconic architecture to keep an eye out for.

Location: Hang Khoai Street, Hoan Kiem District.

#6 Alleys of the Old Quarter

The Old Quarter of Hanoi consists of 36 streets, named for the products they sell. The beating heart of Hanoi, wandering around the Old Quarter and getting lost is an exquisite experience. Duck into winding alleys and discover ancient pagodas, run down French villas, street food vendors and tiny cafés. If you are lucky enough to be in Hanoi on the weekend, Hoan Kiem Lake is a walking street, and you are guaranteed gorgeous pictures of Vietnamese families spending time together.

Location: Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi.

#7 Tran Quoc Pagoda

The oldest Buddhist temple in Hanoi, Tran Quoc Pagoda is situated on a small island on the south-eastern shore of West Lake. Vietnamese still flock to the pagoda to worship and present offerings, including incense to be burned. During Tet (Lunar New Year) the pagoda is very popular, and people pray at many shrines around the temple. Thanh Nien Road, especially in the morning, is a hive of activity with locals exercising, drinking tea and having a chat.

Location: Thanh Nien Road, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi

#8 Quang Ba Flower Market

You’ll need to be an early riser to enjoy the best of the flower market — it starts around 2:00AM. But if you’re not, don’t worry, you’ll still be able to take beautiful pictures of this colourful market if you venture there later in the day, although it will be less hectic. Whatever time you go, you’ll be able to take glorious pictures of the huge variety of fresh flowers on sale, as well as buyers and sellers haggling over prices.

Location: Au Co Road, Tay Ho District, Hanoi

#9 The French Quarter

Vietnam was under French rule from 1887-1954, with the French having an impact on the streetscape of Hanoi. Ba Dinh, also known as the French Quarter, is where French colonisation is most obvious, although French villas can be found all around Hanoi. Wide boulevards and beautiful architecture still characterise this area, and many embassies are currently located there.

Location: Ba Dinh District, Hanoi

#10 Sunset on West Lake

Approximately five kilometres north of the Old Quarter is West Lake, around 17 kilometres in circumference. While the lake is popular with locals for recreational activities like cycling, fishing and tai chi, it’s also a popular spot for photographers, particularly at sunset. Watching the huge red sun sink low in the sky is truly spectacular and a not to be missed experience during your stay in Hanoi.

Location: Tay Ho District, Hanoi

Your turn…

Have you been to Hanoi? What are your favourite locations for taking pictures?

 

 

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