If you think Hanoi is now completely a modern city with noise and traffic jam, think again! The city itself still remains all the ancient and elegant beauty that is waiting for you to explore. Try waking up at 3:30 or 4 in the morning, and start a journey before the sunshine is bright.
1. Quang Ba flowers market
This flower market is located in Tay Ho District, about kilometers far from the Old Quarter and quite close to the West Lake. Here you can find all species of fresh flowers which are bought and sold by Hanoians, and going to the market by night to trade is a touch of culture, and an identity of people. You should try to go Quang Ba flower market at about 4 or 5 am if you are looking for something fresh to buy and the perfect time to take some pictures, because after that, all flowers are packed on bikes to be sold in all the street corner of Hanoi and there will be nothing left.
2. Long Bien fruit and vegetable wholesale market
This market locates next to Long Bien Bridge, is a fruit and vegetable wholesale market. Just like when you want to go to Quang Ba flower market, wake up late and you will see nothing. In the very early hours, about 1 to 6 a.m., all traders, stallholders from the local markets, restaurants and other businesses will visit to stock up for the day. So visit, walk around, find a spot to just watch all the fascinating exposure of a large proportion of Hanoi residents.
3. Walking around old quarter
It is said that it is not Hanoi without its Old Quarter. That’s right, although the streets present-day is a different version of the old chaos, when there are motorbikes, cars, cyclos and all together joining the traffic making it quite noisy and dangerous to come across the streets, the Old Quarter of Hanoi is completely different. There is no better time to visit than waking up at 4 and then start off a walking trip around these empty streets and narrow alleyways to really feel the heartbeat of Vietnam’s old and vibrant capital city.
4. Exercise with Hanoi people
While you are exploring corners of Hanoi Old Quarter, join the people in Hoan Kiem Lake or in the public parks doing morning exercises. Women are dancing, some man ride on bicycles, people playing badminton, aerobics, arms folding into Tai Chi are some typical activities that you can definitely find in Hanoi in early morning.
5. Enjoy street food
The sky is brighter, about 6 or 7 a.m., find yourself a place to have breakfast. Eat like the way Hanoians enjoy their morning: eating in the street, in tiny chairs with a crowd of hungry people. Pho, Banh Mi, Bun, Xoi … are some common terms when define what to eat in the morning Hanoi.