There are many ways to get around the hectic city of Hanoi. While cars provide great convenience, cyclos are a nice choice to discover the Old Quarter and walking gives us flexibility, bikes allow us to explore the different corners of the city at our own pace. You can enjoy the vibrant ambience of the narrow and crowded city streets or have a bite of some tasty Hanoi street foods whenever and wherever we want. Cars and cyclos cannot do that! You wish to reach the suburbs of Hanoi and get a glimpse of the tranquil Northern Vietnam villages but cannot walk that far! Then biking is your best choice.
Now all you need is a bike and a route. From an easy and leisure lap around the West lake to a challenging zigzag ride through the chaotic traffic in the Old Quarter, here are 4 suggested biking routes that you should try in Hanoi.
1. A round of West lake
This 17 kilometer round trip of West lake is a popular biking route for bikers in Hanoi. Along the lake side, while enjoying the stunning view of Hanoi from the lake, we will pass by lovely lotus lakes, sumptuous villas as well as several iconic temples, including Tran Quoc Pagoda, the oldest in Vietnam. But perhaps the highlight of any bike trips around the Westlake is witnessing the sensational sunset over the distant horizon whilst the locals are fishing and swimming near the lakeside.
This is also an ideal choice for leisure bikers who look for an easy and relaxing route, or more specifically, bikers with kids or with limited stamina.
2. Old Quarter Essence
The small and busy streets of the Old Quarter will take us to one of the major and oldest markets in Hanoi, Dong Xuan Market. Here we will get a closer look of how the locals exchange various kinds of goods, ranging from foods, household goods to garments and clothes. Then, we will pass by Bach Ma Temple which ages over 1000 years before having a break at the newly restored Ta Hien Street, an ideal place to sit back, relax and have a refreshing local “Bia Hoi”. On the returning way to the Opera House, we will encounter other three famous landmarks in Hanoi: the ancient house at 87 Ma May Street, followed by the State Bank of Vietnam and the legendary Sofitel Metropole Hanoi which is over 110 years of age.
This half day bike trip will take us through numerous iconic places in the Old Quarter and give bikers a glimpse of Hanoi in the present time with the vibrant streets full of motorbikes as well as in the past via a number of historic landmarks that witness the ups and downs of the city throughout its history.
3. Red River Ride
The rusty Long Bien Bridge which was built by the French renowned architecture Gustave Eiffel over a century ago will lead us to the fertile island in the middle of Red River. Here we will explore the large fields of corn and reed, immense banana and guava gardens while strolling down the dusty path along the riverside.
Continuing our ride along the historic bridge, we will reach the east side of the Red River. During the 2 hour biking down south towards Bat Trang Village, we will stroll through the narrow biking trails and enjoy the beauty of the picturesque Vietnam villages, with the vegetable and fruit gardens, the buffalos taking their bath and the villagers harvesting on their rice fields in an ordinary peaceful morning. In the afternoon, we will discover Bat Trang Village, which is famous across Vietnam for its tradition of pottery making. The highlight of the visit will probably be making ceramic products by our own hands.
This one day journey along the Red River will let us see the big differences between the two sides of Hanoi. While the west side symbolizes the rapid modernization and urbanization of the capital city of Vietnam, the east side is still able to keep the tranquility of the typical villages. The Red River Ride is perfect for bikers seeking for an adventurous trip.
4. History of Hanoi
During this half day trip, the bike wheels will take us through numerous famous historic landmarks in Hanoi. Starting from the oldest temple in the country – Tran Quoc Pagoda, we will drive through Doc Lap Road (or the Independence Road) where Ho Chi Minh read the Proclamation of Independence in 1945 in front of thousands of people to announce the birth of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Afterwards, we will pass by the Citadel of Hanoi which used to be the residence of Vietnamese monarchs throughout 8 centuries. Then, we take a brief stop at Hoa Lo Prison, sarcastically called as “Hanoi Hilton” by the American POWs before heading for the real Hanoi Hilton adjacent to the historic Opera House. The Opera House Square has also witnessed several important historic events during the early days of the nation in the autumn of 1945. Our finishing line is the History Museum, which showcases the rich history of the country throughout every era.
If you are a history lover, this route is tailor-made for you.