The chaos of the inner city can take us by chance deep into the fast pace life and sometimes we forget how a homely and relaxed life can be. There is no doubt that we are living in an increasingly sedentary society where people usually opt for jumping on a motorbike or a car to transport themselves a mile a minute rather than an environment-friendly but much slower mode of transportation, a bike.
Hanoi biking tour (source: Internet)
If you are going in search of a cycle-friendly place to bike while traveling to Hanoi, read on. helloVietnam will suggest some of the best routes offering a truly hassle-free and great biking tour.
1. Thanh Nien Street
Thanh Nien Street (source: Internet)
Touted as the most romantic road of Hanoi, Thanh Nien (Youth) Street, formerly called Co Ngu, is a standout example of the bike-friendly route. The boulevard sits in the middle of two of the most iconic lakes of Hanoi, West Lake and Truc Bach Lake, stretches merely one kilometer, and filled by two long paralleled lines of blackboard trees on the pavements. This evergreen road provides a pleasant vibe for cyclists while riding as it offers not only shade but a cool breeze cooling off from the lakes.
To satisfy the craving for ice cream, indeed come summer, riders can make a stop at a so-called ice cream brand of Kem Ho Tay, lying opposite Tran Quoc pagoda. Especially, in the afternoon, particularly when the sunshine is almost faded, hordes of teenagers descend on this eatery to grab an ice cream as well.
However, note that Thanh Nien Street acts as a link between the old quarter and other neighboring areas. To avoid the crowd and not be stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic at peak hours, opt for the most appropriate time to kick-start your Hanoi biking tour. Early morning or late night is highly recommended as it will be no more congestion and the weather is also seemingly calm.
2. Vong Thi neighborhood
West Lake (Source: Internet)
It’s a pleasant contrast to the above-mentioned route of Thanh Nien Street, this haven seems to be a calm change from the chaos of the downtown. No ear-splitting sound from vehicles’ horn, no traffic noise, no loud music, it offers a complete walk of tranquility and can calm anyone’s soul.
Even though it is situated off the outer neighborhood, roughly 7 km North of the old quarter, its allure can’t prevent any biker from riding. Wending your way here you will soon see a host of foreigners pedaling parallel with Vietnamese enthusiasts.
3. Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem Lake (source: Internet)
You cannot round up the list of top amazing routes for cycling without the path of Hoan Kiem Lake. The downside of touring around here is that it centers the heart of Hanoi, hence a downright challenging biking tour in the daytime due to a quite huge volume of traffic.
To truly discover the city’s charm on two wheels on one of the busiest roads, cyclists should bike after-hours at midnight or at the daybreak and avoid drive time. Note that at weekends (including Friday night), this route turns into a walking street and all types of vehicle are banned from the street. If you are scheduled to embark on a Hanoi biking tour in this route, cycling on weekdays is a should do.
One day switch into an early bird whilst touring in Vietnam by watching locals (mostly seniors) doing Tai Chi, it is worth the journey. They usually congregate around the centerpiece or on the lakeside. By contrast, ungodly hours are also an ideal period for cycling as once more you will have a chance to first-hand witness another aspect of a vibrant city when it turns dark. There will be no dazzling light pouring out from plush shopping malls, fancy restaurants, no jazzy sound blasting from bars, pubs. Hanoi is now packed with solitariness, together with the street cries from food vendors and very few Circle K shops opened.
However, one drawback, once you bike after-hours, is that almost everywhere you pass is closed. Even your Hanoi biking tour can run smoothly without the frustration of terrible traffic or unpleasant weather of summer daytime, some may get bored and feel a sense of inconvenience.
4. Middle island of Red River
The middle island of Red River (source: Internet)
Cycling to a far off-the-beaten-track place is such an experience. Middle island of Red River is capable of satisfying any adventure seeker. Once you make your way here, you will experience a truly traffic-free biking tour in one of few relief roads in the crowded Hanoi.
Vietnamese biker (source: Internet)
However, keep in mind that to avoid sliding out as this route is a dirt track, cyclists should plan the right ride time, indeed not on rainy days. This unpaved road probably challenges a lot of male cyclists’ biking ability as it is situated off a slightly remote neighborhood and of course, takes you longer than when on a smooth pavement. Obstacles, rocks, and holes are indispensable parts when pedaling out there.
Once you get there your Hanoi biking tour will level up another degree of emotion. Hanoi has now treated you to a fundamentally different image, a homely life of Hanoians inhabiting under Long Bien Bridge.
5. Hung Vuong Street – Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Ba Dinh square (source: Internet)
Sure enough, there are no Hanoians who don’t know this pavement. This route certainly offers a feel-good vibe once you ride your bike out there. Its huge plus is that it’s a relatively wide, smooth, and windy road and lies in the middle of former president Ho Chi Minh’s final resting place and Parliament House.
You certainly can rarely hear the sound from motorbikes’ horn when you make your way here. Indeed, if you bike at 5 a.m. or 9 p.m., you will witness the flag raising or lowering ceremony taking place at Ba Dinh square. Stop for a few minutes and soak in the sacred atmosphere with locals.