Here are the facts: Hanoi is the second largest city in Vietnam. Its population is nearing 6.5 million people, lodged in a municipality that stretches over 3344.7 square kilometres. It was founded more than 1000 years ago and is today the country’s political centre and a prime tourist spot.
But when you look beyond these plain facts and any principal attractions, you can take in the local life in Hanoi. That what this week’s video spotlight is a beautiful portrait of.
You can see street vendors selling food, children playing on the sidewalk and people going about their everyday business. These little visions of local life are wonderfully revealing about a place. There is nothing staged about them. Slowing down and opening your eyes to the seemingly unimportant things can help you understand the local culture and people better than any museum or monuments.
Hanoi is certainly a great place to engage in the local life. There are hundreds of small restaurants and kiosks along the streets, many of them offering typical fare as well as some truly exotic delicacies such as snakes and giant water bugs. Local markets sell more than you could possibly think of and the nightlife is vibrant, especially in the city’s Old Quarter.
The key is to slow down and make time for opportunities to engage with locals. Your reward will be a better sense of the place you are visiting, cultural understanding and memories that will last a very long time.