Long Bien Bridge was the symbol of Hanoian people for resilience. It is also one of the greatest accomplishments of the French colony in Hanoi. The bridge was built between 1899 and 1902 by Gustave Eiffel (of Eiffel Tower fame) to have better control over the Northern Vietnam region. The 100-year-old bridge of Hanoi is now still used for train, motorcycles, bicycles and foot traffic while other traffics are directed to other bridges.
Long Bien Bridge is a must-visit for travelers in Hanoi to know as evidence of war and also the stunning places to capture local life and beautiful landscape over Red River in Hanoi
During the Vietnam – American war, the bridge was heavily bombed several times and was rebuilt quickly by Vietnamese people. It is the only connection between Hanoi and Hai Phong, the main port of Northern Vietnam. Walking over the Long Bien Bridge now, you will discover that the center span of the bridge was destroyed, only some span remained (the original bridge has 19 spans) but the bridge remains a remarkable architect of Hanoi.
How should you visit Long Bien Bridge?
Long Bien Bridge is next to Hanoi Old Quarter (1km from the center of Hanoi Old Quarter) and a short walk from Dong Xuan market. If you stay far from the Old Quarter area, you can hire a motorbike to get on the bridge. There are some bigger spans in the middle of the bridge where you can stop and take pictures over motor traffics or the landscape of Red River. If you stay around Hanoi Old Quarter you should walk to the bridge, it has more things to enjoy when you walk there, because:
- You can walk down to the land in the center of Red River where some locals living poor on farming and fishing.
- You can walk and stop anywhere to take photos without disturb by traffic
When is the best time to visit Long Bien Bridge?
The best time to visit Long Bien Bridge is in the early morning (sunrise) and sunset while you can both enjoy local life and the stunning beauty of Red River.
Visiting Long Bien Bridge in the early morning
It is the time for you to capture the beautiful sunrise on Red River and Hanoi capital city, it is really a beauty, you should wake up and get on the bridge as soon as 5:30 pm to wait for sunrise. This time, there is no traffic yet so you have more opportunities for photography. Stay on the bridge until 7:00 – 8:0o am you will discover a crazy load of motorcycles traffic from the suburbs of Hanoi getting city inside. A lot of them are street vendors (flowers, cake, food, fruits…) starts a working day in downtown.
“Remember to get on the left-hand side of the bridge on the direction to get outside of the city if you want to avoid traffic. If you want to capture many locals in their busy morning, stay on the right-hand side”
Visiting Long Bien Bridge in the afternoon
When sunset over is a great photography opportunity, get on the right-hand side of the bridge, in the middle, you will find a small direction to get down to the middle land of Red River where some locals lives, take a short walk down to see this area and capture the beauty of bridge over sunset. This is also the moment of traffic when locals get back home outside the city after a working day, they are busy, they are in rush to be back home for buying food in the market, pick up their children…
There a famous photography collection that captures street vendors from above and that was made one of the spots on Long Bien Bridge. See the collection here
What you can see more on Long Bien Bridge
- Street vendors
- Wedding photography
- Morning exercises by locals
Long Bien Bridge is a part of Hanoi local’s life, walking to the bridge you can see some brides and groom taking wedding photography, some students taking their friendship memory, some elders taking their memory… and motor traffics keeps on moving. The bridge has its own life in Hanoi city, it is not just a place to admire the colonial construction but a nice spot to capture Hanoi local life.