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Sawatdee!

We are Michael and Pinky, a Bangkok-based couple who loves to travel, explore, and go on adventures all over the world. We are always looking for the greatest experiences for adventurers on a budget.

Why you should visit Hanoi's Hoan Kiem Lake on the weekend

Why you should visit Hanoi's Hoan Kiem Lake on the weekend

After witnessing the crazy traffic and crowds around Hoan Kiem Lake all week, our first weekend in Hanoi , Vietnam surprised us by how peaceful and lovely this area could be without the hustling and bustling of the weekday traffic.

The streets around Hoan Kiem Lake are closed on the weekend, and the area is open for pedestrians to enjoy the area around the lake.

The streets around Hoan Kiem Lake are closed on the weekend, and the area is open for pedestrians to enjoy the area around the lake.

We stepped outside on a Saturday morning and were shocked to see that there were no cars and no motorbikes, and that the streets surrounding the lake had been closed off for pedestrians. A local friend told us that they close down the road around the lake every Saturday and Sunday so that families can enjoy the area. It's so nice to get to enjoy the view of the famous Turtle Tower, the lake and the city in a more relaxed atmosphere than is usual in Hanoi. 

kids catching bubbles - there are lots of games and activities for families around the lake on the weekend

kids catching bubbles - there are lots of games and activities for families around the lake on the weekend

Every weekend the local Hanoians come out to walk or jog and spend time with their families around the lake. Vendors sell games for kids, like toy airplanes that they can fly, and kids can rent electric cars to drive around the empty streets (or have the parent control them by remote). It’s also normal to see a group of Vietnamese teenagers doing a hip-hop dance show, street musicians, magicians, caricature sketch artists, and vendors selling all sorts of toys and candy.

Street vendors around Hoan Kiem Lake during the weekends

Street vendors around Hoan Kiem Lake during the weekends

Visiting Hoan Kiem Lake on the weekend is totally different from visiting during the week. It doesn’t feel as much like Vietnam as it does remind me of my time in Europe. It's fun to join the crowd and enjoy the calm and fun weekend atmosphere.

There artists make great sketches of people in just a few minutes.

There artists make great sketches of people in just a few minutes.

We stayed in Hanoi for one month. Although we really did enjoy our time in the city, sometimes the traffic and stress of trying to avid getting hit by a motorbike really wore us down. It was nice to have a chance to breathe and relax while walking around the neighborhood.

The weekend is the only time when you’ll ever see a clear and empty street in Hanoi’s Old Quarter!

The weekend is the only time when you’ll ever see a clear and empty street in Hanoi’s Old Quarter!

When you’re visiting somewhere, especially if you are staying for a long time, it’s great to try to see what local life is actually like, beyond the top destinations from the guidebooks. Here in Hanoi, local life on the weekends revolves around Hoan Kiem Lake.

Musicians provide live music all throughout the day

Musicians provide live music all throughout the day

Activities on weekends around Hoan Kiam Lake, Old quarter of Hanoi
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