Once you visit Hanoi, try once for a walk on Long Bien Bridge. You will sense a peaceful space, a bit old and majestic scenes that are very different from the bustling life that you see in the centre of Hanoi.
For more than a century, Long Bien bridge across the Hong River is not only a witness to the great history of Hanoi people, but also a quaint corner that is familiar among the bustling center of Hanoi.
On October 10, 2019, Hanoi Train street parallel to Phung Hung street (belongs to Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi) was officially demolished by the authorities, placing a ban on visitors gathering and drinking coffee in this area. Formerly, this spot is a famous destination for tourists to take photos in very unique ways.
So, as a great replacement for the old railway selfie spot, Long Bien has started to welcome more and more visitors both in the country and from foreign countries and become a much more popular destination for youngsters than it used to be.
Located in the capital city of Hanoi, Long Bien Bridge, also known as Doumer before the independence of North Vietnam in 1954, was built across the Red River connecting Hoan Kiem with Long Bien district in 1899-1902 by the architects Daydé & Pillé of Paris. It was constructed during the French colonial period and underwent hard a wartime in the past.
At 2,290m in length and with 19 bridge spans, from distance it resembles a dragon flying across the Red River. Besides being is used for motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians, it also has a railway system for trains. The steel architecture and sophisticated techniques altogether make it unique in the eyes of the people. It was said to be the first bridge across the Red River and one of the most elite constructions in Hanoi at that time.
The unique feature of the bridge is the downstream traffic flow on the left rather than the right as the usual bridges in Vietnam, but it’s very common in European countries, typically France.
Photo by Pierre
For many people, Long Bien Bridge is more likely to be associated with what happened to it during the war. Honestly, it is such a gross oversight not to mention the pain that many Vietnamese people mistreated by French masters during the construction of the bridge. This results in thousands of deaths of the Vietnamese people.
Moreover, it was also a painful period that the bridge suffered times of heavy bombardment caused by one of the mightiest enemy, the American army. As a result, many sections of the bridge were severely damaged or torn down. It can be said that there is no such a bridge that had so much pain as Long Bien Bridge did.
Long Bien Bridge now is over 100 years old and has almost undergone three-century-long period. Through the ups and downs of the history, it is still considered the finest bridge in Hanoi, along with Thap But – Ngoc Son temple complex and One Pillar Pagoda to be one of the most unique symbols of Hanoi history.
From a distance, Long Bien Bridge in Hanoi has the appearance of a winding dragon. What is greater than admiring the sunset when the golden rays of sunlight gradually let go, blending with the ancient brown color of Long Bien Bridge. All create a romantic scene on the river that hardly could other place have. This place is an inspiration for photographers, attracting many visitors to Hanoi coming to check-in.
It is a fact that Long Bien Bridge has been an infinite inspiration to a number of artists, songwriters, poets, and photographers. They can praise it for the sacrifice during the wartime in the past, or its classic beauty at present days. The image of the bridge appears almost in every aspect of life, from the history to the art. Therefore, when it comes to Long Bien Bridge there is somehow a symbolic meaning, that is, Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. If you want to have a look at the painting works of Long Bien Bridge at some art galleries or art exhibitions, it is worth taking a tour around Hanoi. There will be pretty much for you to discover in the capital city then.
Full guide to Long Bien bridge
Walking on Long Bien Bridge, visitors can see rusted iron marks, skewed pillars or sagging parts of the bridge due to bombardment. Looking down the river, visitors will easily catch the images of boats going up and down, the green mudflats filled with bananas, corn and vegetables on the peaceful Hong River. This idyllic image of the Long Bien Bridge always captivates people, in stark contrast with the bustling traffic on and around Chuong Duong Bridge on the opposite side.
In particular, sunrise and sunset are two ideal times to see the beautiful natural scenery from the bridge overlooking the whole Hanoi capital. Besides, visitors can also witness firsthand the rusty steel frame and many places that were bombed on bridges by the US army during the war. The colors of the clouds reflect the river along with the this historical bridge makes the scene not only more poetic but also more spectaculer. Visitors can both walk and relax in the crosswalks or cycle through the bridge.
In addition, next to Long Bien Bridge, there is also rocky bank of Hong River with a large, green landscape which is a familiar place used by Hanoi’s youngsterr and tourists to take photos and enjoy the fresh air.
In the afternoon, visitors can visit the market near the bridge to buy green vegetables, fresh fruits and snacks.
At night, when walking along Long Bien Bridge, visitors will catch people walking, exercising. At the same time, feel the cool breeze from the Hong River that is likely to blow away your sadness and sorrow in life. If coming to Hanoi in the winter, Long Bien Bridge is also an ideal place to enjoy hot and aromatic baked corn and sweet potatoes.
Photo by Tran Mit
How to get there?
From the Old Quarter, tourists can take a taxi or walk for about 30 minutes to Long Bien Bridge. You can also rent a motorbike and remember to go to the left of the road when you come. To get on the bridge, take the ramp near Gam Cau street.
Buses can also be a good choice with quite cheap price. The following buses have routes passing near Long Bien Bridge (Long Bien Bridge): 1, 4, 8A, 23, 36, 50.
The most popular photo spot is the area near the platform of Long Bien station. From the parking lot at the foot of the bridge, there is a path to the station, from here you can walk along the tracks on the bridge.
Some destinations should not be missed once you com to Long Bien bridge
I definitely don’t recommend you spend the whole day strolling on Long Bien bridge. The wisest choice is to come here in the early morning to admire the sunrise and then spend time exploring other spots around here or you can travel around first and come to Long Bien bridge to witness the sunset. So what are the other spots can be on your must-go list?
Hoan Kiem Lake: Hoan Kiem Lake is considered to be the heart of Hanoi. Not only is it a beautiful landscape that visitors can not ignore in the list of Hanoi tourist attractions, but this is also a place associated with the spiritual history of the capital. On the weekends, the streets around Hoan Kiem Lake will become a pedestrian area with many interesting activities such as street music and folk games.
Giang café: This coffee shop, which is said to have been opened around the 1920s, is one of the most famous Hanoi cafes. It is famous for its unique ‘egg coffee’ that have been loved by many Hanoians. Enjoying a cup of egg coffee, you will feel the delicate blend of coffee flavor, egg yolk and greasy taste of the cream to create a sweet, rich foam layer.
Ta Hien street: There are few places in Hanoi with a unique, vibrant and bustling beauty like Ta Hien whenever the night comes. The sidewalk beer shops and bars selling delicious delicacies on the sidewalk of Hanoi have become an unforgettable impression on the locals and international tourists.
The Old Quarter: Hanoi Old Quarter is not only famous for ancient and quaint architecture attractions, it is also well-known for the fascinating cuisine of Hanoi. Each street carries a very special name that in the past it was used to differentiate the goods that each street sold. This definitely should be in your must-go list.
Dong Xuan Market: This is one of the largest markets in Hanoi with hundreds of stalls lining the narrow aisles. With a history dating back to the Nguyen Dynasty from the 19th century, built by the French government, nowadays, it serves as a large markets for mostly local people. And most of the tourists coming to the market for sightseeing rather than real shopping.
Although there have been many other bridges across Hong River in Hanoi, Long Bien Hanoi Bridge still plays an important role in many Hanoians’ heart. Coming here on a windy afternoon to feel a different Hanoi is well-worth the effort.
Alida A wanderlust who is into photography and has special interest in chasing clouds and admiring the sky. Hoping that someday I will be able to see the sky from every part of the world.
A wanderlust who is into photography and has special interest in chasing clouds and admiring the sky. Hoping that someday I will be able to see the sky from every part of the world.
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