Are you going to Hanoi? Looking for places to visit? There is one hidden place you shouldn’t miss. The crazy street, where trains pass just next to peoples’ doors. We think this is one of the TOP things to see in the Vietnamese capital. Check out our exclusive gallery!
I still had all the crazy scenes from Hanoi streets in front of my eyes, when I tried to fall asleep. Motorbikes and the unbelievable loads they carry, great smelling food, old ladies pushing bikes covered with flowers, always stylish and elegant locals drinking super strong coffee while sitting on funny small chairs and… endless honking.
But there was one street where it’s quiet. Instead motorbikes and cars, just a few trains pass by every day. You’ll hear a long hoot and the locals will rush to collect their laundry, tea tables and chairs or a huge pot of boiling soup. They’ll let the train go through and then they’ll immediately come back to their work. As if nothing would have happened.
I did take a train through this railway street when I went to the northern part of Vietnam. But when I came back to shoot some pictures of the passing train, they just closed it for a few days because of some railway works.
But there were still many things to see and photograph. So now, I’ll take you for a short walk from the Hanoi train station gate to a long steel bridge over the Red River.
I walked with my friend Tomas, and we were both very surprised that we didn’t meet almost any tourists. Even the locals looked much friendlier than in the rest of Hanoi city centre.
People grow here herbs, vegetables and even mandarines. Every piece of land has to be used. As everywhere in Hanoi, people are sitting on the small plastic chairs in this street. They drink tea or coffee, chat and watch the life around.
Food is another opportunity to sit in front of the house and watch what’s going on around. What do they eat? Mostly rice noodles prepared in hundreds different ways. Always delicious.
Red flashing lights or a simple bar wouldn’t work here. Vietnamese wouldn’t wait until the slow train finishes crossing the road. They need a solid piece of fence to block the entire road.
Besides the railway, there are asphalt roads on both sides of the bridge and a narrow sidewalk. You can cross it on a motorbike or foot, but be prepared for an experience full of adrenaline. As I wrote in the beginning, streets in Hanoi are insane.
While waiting for a train, I met this nice man with an elegant hat. I commended the hat and asked for a picture. We didn’t understand each other a word, but never mind, it somehow worked.
The train, finally. It had one locomotive in the front, and the other was ready in the rear to pull the train back. There was no other way to change the direction because the tracks between Ga Long Bien and the central station were still closed. I have to come back to shoot a train going trough the narrow railway street.