Obviously there are more than just two or three ways to get around Hanoi. But most travelers may fancy biking, to explore different corners of the city at their own pace. Here are 4 of the most exciting biking routes in Hanoi:
1. A round of Westlake
This 17-kilometer round trip is a popular choice for many people, both living in and traveling to Hanoi. On one lap, you will pass by tranquil lotus lake, the oldest pagoda in Vietnam in Tran Quoc Pagoda as well as sumptuous European style villas. Perhaps the best time to complete a lap of the Westlake is either early morning or late afternoon where you can enjoy the spectacular sunrise and sunset over the lake.
|The Westlake of Hanoi|
2. Strolling around Old Quarter
This route will show you the most famous part of Hanoi to travelers, the Old Quarter. You will start at the Opera House and head for Hoan Kiem Lake via the historic Trang Tien Street. After completing one short lap around the lake, take a stop at St. Joseph Cathedral Church which is more than a century old. Then the narrow and tricky streets of the Old Quarter will lead you to Dong Xuan Market where you will be able to get a closer look of how the locals trade foods, household goods, garments and clothes. Escaping this hectic market, you will pass by Bach Ma Temple which is over 1000 years of age before taking a rest at Ta Hien Street with a refreshing “bia hoi”. On the way back to the Opera House, you will pass three other famous landmarks of the city, the ancient house at 87 Ma May Street, the State Bank of Vietnam and the legendary Sofitel Metropole Hanoi.
|Dong Xuan Market, one of many famous Hanoi landmarks you will be passing by in the Old Quarter tour|
3. Red River Ride
This one is a little bit lengthy and would take a good amount of energy from bikers but is also very rewarding. The Red River Ride will enable you to see the difference between the busy and modern right side of the river and the other one: peaceful countryside. You will start at Hoan Kiem Lake then head for the rusty Long Bien Bridge which will lead you to the other side of the river. While strolling down the dusty path, you will encounter large fields of corn and reed, gardens that grow banana and guava. This is how you get off the beaten path in Hanoi with a bike.
|The peaceful and picturesque left side of the Red River|
4. The Historical Trail of Hanoi
This one is a history buff’s favorite. The bike will take you to numerous historic landmarks sites of Hanoi including Tran Quoc Pagoda, the old Ba Dinh Square in front of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum where Ho Chi Minh announced the birth of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam by reading the Proclamation of Independence in 1945. Then, after riding along the Citadel of Hanoi (used to be the residence of Vietnamese monarchs for 8 centuries), you will take a visit to Hoa Lo Prison, sarcastically dubbed as the Hanoi Hilton by the American POWs. Up next, head for the real Hanoi Hilton which is located next to the Opera House, a typical French colonial building that witnessed several significant events of the city in the fall of 1945. The finishing line is the History Museum, in which the long-standing history of Vietnam is showcased extensively.
|Hoa Lo Prison|