Article Written by : Ms. Le Vu Ha
ASEAN-Korea Blog Correspondent, Vietnam
On the first week of my 3 months staying in Seoul, I was so surprised looking at many old people in sporty clothes and shoes in subway. And when I asked a Korean friend: “Where are they going?” he answered: “To the mountains.”
My dear friends inSeoul, you guys are lucky to have fresh, good, open, green areas that close to the city then you can easily go there by subway, by bus for a good hiking, climbing, jogging, keep far away from the noisy crowded city. But inHanoi, it’s hard for us to take a short picnic in weekend because of the crowded suburbs and the inconvenient public transportations.
(My Dinh might be the largest free space in Hanoi now)
So where could people living in Hanoi go when they want to feel the fresh air of the nature without going out too far apart? Fortunately, there are still some places that people can go there by bus, bicycle or walk.
My Dinh area
One of them is the area near My Dinh Stadium. It’s a large square about 20km from the center ofHanoi, covered by green grass and trees. In summer evenings, the youth gather there to have soft drink such as iced tea, lemon tea while eating snacks, fruits and talk.
But what makes My Dinh become so attractive for youth is the performance of kites. Kite is one of most popular traditional game inVietnamlong time ago. But because of the urbanization, recently, urban kids could not find a place to fly kites. And many parents were worried that their kids would forget most of the traditional games.
(Fly the kites in My Dinh. Pic credit: kenh14.vn)
But My Dinh square makes a change. Now when you visit there, you can buy a kite from the venders, and fly one. Or you can find a seat to relax and look at a hundreds of colorful multiform kites flying across the sky. That’s one of the beautiful and healthy games which make people relaxed while thinking of the past and the future.
Another place has a very interesting name “Korean wharf”. Under the influence of Korean soaps, the youth in Vietnam want to find such romantic places like the scenes of those movies to go there as couples, as friends, to take photos or simply take a rest.
Korean wharf is only a short small road aroundWestLake, the biggest and oldestlakeofHanoi. It is very quiet, fresh with the strong wind and cool air from the large water surface. And the young people made it more beautiful by the graffiti pictures on the road, on the walls. It is a perfect place for beautiful shots, romantic love stories.
It’s a pity that now, when the road aroundWest Lakewas completed, Korean wharf no longer exists, but it’s still in memory of a young generation’s mind.
(Korean wharf, with graffiti and lotus. Pic credit: asobi.vn)
West Lake bank
But since “Korean wharf” disappeared, a larger and more beautiful landscape has been opened around West Lake. Along the waterside, many bridges, wharfs, small harbors were built, and all make romantic corners that attract people to find a seat, especially in summer, when the lotus flowers of West Lake are blooming.
Lotus flowers have very special fragrance, which is fragrant like perfume, fresh as mint and cool like wind. Even though how muggy the weather is, when you are close to a lotus pond, you will realize no con air is better. Hanoi is a city of lakes and green trees, but West Lake is really invaluable treasure.
(A good view from a corner along West Lake bank)
Ba Dinh Square
When I was a child, I was expecting till the end of the week, when my parents could take me to a restaurant then went to play in Ba Dinh Square. Then when my family moved to a new house near Ba Dinh square, me and my friends were waiting for free evenings that we could walk to Ba Dinh square to play games. And I know when I have my own kids; I am taking them to Ba Dinh square again, like my parents did, as they told me: “We will take you to visit President Ho”.
Ba Dinh square is in front of President Ho’s Mausoleum. It is a big large square, half is covered by green grass, and the rest is covered by gravel.
(Ba Dinh Square. Pic credit: baomoi.com)
Different with above places, Ba Dinh square has no venders, no drinking shops, because people want to give President Ho a good sleep. So this is not a comfortable place for sitting, drinking or chatting, and many people choose to come here for doing exercises.
The most beautiful image about Ba Dinh square must be in late afternoon when they irrigate the grass, while air is full of water spray. And the most pleasant smell must come when they cut the grass, which brings you back to beautiful nature.
And I do hope in the future, those kind of green zone are still being kept while buildings are rising more and more. Because for people who grown up in the city, if they have to spend most of their time in a narrow space with walls, buildings, vehicles around, they are killing themselves. And green fresh air space is really a good solution, good relaxing, and good feeling to keep us up, to give us a natural life.