One Thousand Reasons to Visit Hanoi
You may have heard.
Hanoi is celebrating its 1,000th anniversary in October. The city was founded in 1010. Here we are almost 1,000 years later, and let me tell you, the city is being transformed in anticipation of celebratory activities lined up for October 1-10.
It has been an eventful 1,000 years. The founding name of Hanoi all those years ago was Thang Long – “Ascending Dragon” – a name that is still used poetically today. Hanoi is a survivor. Located it the north of the country the city has absorbed invasions, occupations and attacks by Chinese dynasties, and more recently, the French, Japanese and Americans.
The city also suffered the indignity of its capital status being transferred to Hue in 1802. In 1831 the name changed to Ha Noi – “between the rivers”. The city’s survivor status and political importance was returned in 1976 when North and South Vietnam were re-united as one. Hanoi became the proud capital of a unified country once again.
With a post doi moi economic boom showing no signs of easing, Hanoi’s population has today grown to over 6 million, all of them motorcycle owners. And if you think crossing the street in downtown Hanoi is bad now, wait until its population reaches 15 million in 2020.
Ahead of the big celebration in October, the Hanoi People’s Committee has been working hard. There are numerous projects to tidy up the city: cleaning graffiti, taking down wall advertisements, removing unsightly power lines, clearing pavements for pedestrians, enforcing regulations on street vendors, and also launching new tours.
Indeed, between now and the end of the year — with October 10, 2010 being the peak of activities — visitors can expect to be regaled with a myriad of options. Festivals of culture, puppetry, ceramics, food and drink, circuses, the arts and film are all vying for attention.
Peaceful moments can still be found. I recommend a great little trip. Khiri Vietnam will take you on a small boat along the Red Delta. During the tour, you can enjoy food and drink and visit Dai Lo temple, God Giong Temple, Chu Dong Tu-Tien Dung Temple, Hoa Lam Pagoda and ancient town of Bat Trang.
And in the evening return to Hanoi to join in the raucous celebrations. All I’d say is book your hotel now as rooms are disappearing fast. It’s not every day a city turns 1,000.
Happy birthday Hanoi!