7 experiences to embrace autumn in Hanoi

autumn in Hanoi

Hanoi’s autumn season offers an array of ideal experiences, from sipping coffee while sitting outdoors and capturing the city’s charm through your lens to savoring local delicacies like snails and young green rice.

1. Capture Hanoi’s charm through photography

During the autumn season, one can witness the charming sight of flower peddler bikes adorned with a variety of blooms. Photo by Shutterstock

During the autumn season, one can witness the charming sight of flower peddler bikes adorned with a variety of blooms. Photo by Shutterstock

The Old Quarter, with its historic French architecture, has always been a location for both Hanoians and travelers seeking captivating photo opportunities. In recent months, the streets of Phan Dinh Phung, Thuy Khue, Hoang Dieu, and Thanh Nien have witnessed locals and tourists alike posing beside colorful flower peddler bikes, a hallmark of Hanoi’s streets.

Seasonal flowers such as lotus, baby’s breath, roses, sunflowers, carnations, and hydrangeas are sold on bicycles, adorning the streets and becoming a quintessential backdrop for autumn photography in Hanoi.

2. Relish the flavor of young green rice

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Young green rice is placed on a piece of lotus leave, together with fried rice cakes and tea at a shop in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Thao Nhi

Hanoi’s autumn carries with it the enchanting allure of young green rice, locally known as com. This delicate and fragrant treat is inseparably linked to the city’s fall season. It’s a culinary gem that finds its place in the heart of the city, reminiscent of both the artistic expressions of poets and musicians.

Street vendors selling young green rice can be found all over the city’s streets. Vong and Me Tri villages are two renowned hubs for crafting this rustic treat. Made from early-harvested young rice and prepared with meticulous care, this delicacy is tender, subtly sweet like milk, wrapped in dong (phryniumplacentarium) and lotus leaves, and tied with rice straw. Com can be enjoyed plain or transformed into sticky rice, sweet soup, or stir-fried dishes.

In the past, Hanoians paired green rice with ripe bananas and hot tea, while today’s youth favor the combination of green rice with egg coffee, a novel yet delightful culinary pairing.

3. Savor coffee

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A man drinks coffee at Tranquil Books & Coffee on Cao Ba Quat Street, Hanoi. Photo courtesy of Instagram/miinhmin

Autumn is celebrated as the most picturesque season in Hanoi, with its mild weather and abundant sunshine, making it perfect for sipping coffee outdoors while relishing the city’s sights and engaging in conversation with friends. Whether you seek bustling cafes in the Old Quarter or serene hideaways tucked into ancient villa courtyards, there are plenty of options.

For those who prefer a more tranquil atmosphere, they have the option to visit cafes situated in the peaceful alleys or the charming courtyards of historic villas. Here are some recommendations:

– Tranquil Books & Coffee: 19 Cao Ba Quat Street, Ba Dinh District

– Yen: 184 Quan Thanh Street, Ba Dinh District

– Hanoi House: 47A Ly Quoc Su Street, Hoan Kiem District

– 18 Hoang Dieu Coffee: 19C Hoang Dieu Street (within the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long), Ba Dinh District

– The Sipping Bar: 30 Phan Ke Binh Street (within Thong Nhat Park), Ba Dinh District

– MAY Kitchenware & Coffeeshop: 80 Yen Phu Street, Ba Dinh District

– 8 Coffee: 10 Da Tuong Street, Hoan Kiem District

– KOHIBITO: 4 Dinh Le Street, Hoan Kiem District

4. Indulge in snails

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Common accompaniments to boiled snails often include stuffed tapioca dumplings (banh bot loc) and a side of mango mixed with salt and chili. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Chi

Hanoi’s snail cuisine, though not as elaborate as Saigon’s, offers a delectable array of dishes. Most Hanoi snail restaurants serve boiled snails in lemon leaves, seasoned with lemongrass, and accompanied by ginger fish sauce, a delight for even the most discerning palates.

In autumn, snails are in their prime, plump and crispy. The accompanying dipping sauce balances the flavors of ginger, lemongrass, and chili, creating a harmonious blend of sour, spicy, salty, and sweet notes.

Here are some recommendations:

– Dinh Liet snail: 1A Dinh Liet Street, Hoan Kiem District

– Tong Duy Tan snail: 5 Tong Duy Tan Street, Hoan Kiem District

– Ms Le: 88 Cua Bac Street, Ba Dinh District

– Ton That Thiep snail: 14 Ton That Thiep, Ba Dinh District

5. Experience Hanoi from a double-decker bus

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Travelers can gain a unique perspective on Hanoi from the second floor of a double-decker bus. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Chi

The double-decker open-top bus, introduced in 2018, has become popular among tourists, especially during the pleasant autumn season. The bus traverses Hanoi’s iconic tourist destinations and picturesque tree-lined streets. Passengers often prefer the top deck for a refreshing outdoor experience and a bird’s-eye view of the city.

There are several ticket options to choose from, with the 4-hour ticket being the most affordable and preferred choice, priced at VND300,000 ($12) per person. This ticket allows passengers to hop on and off the bus at various stops. For the best experience, it’s recommended to purchase tickets in the afternoon to avoid the sun and have the opportunity to admire the sunset as the bus travels through the captivating West Lake area.

6. Relish Trang Tien ice cream

The latest addition to Trang Tien ice creams menu is the pink guava flavor, known for its vibrant pink hue. Photo courtesy of Trang Tien Ice Cream

The latest addition to Trang Tien ice cream’s menu is the pink guava flavor, known for its vibrant pink hue. Photo courtesy of Trang Tien Ice Cream

Trang Tien ice cream, a beloved local treat, has been a fixture in Hanoi since 1958, situated just a stone’s throw away from Hoan Kiem Lake on Trang Tien Street. The shop’s cozy ambiance encourages customers to indulge in ice cream on the spot, reminiscent of simpler times and contributing to the brand’s unique charm.

The menu includes popsicles and ice cream cones in classic flavors like chocolate, coconut milk, green rice, green beans, and taro. In September, Trang Tien introduced a pink guava flavor, which quickly gained fame on social media platforms with numerous enthusiastic reviews.

7. Witness the West Lake sunset

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The West Lake sunset is a popular attraction in Hanoi, drawing numerous individuals who come to appreciate its beauty. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Chi

Visitors should not overlook the opportunity to explore West Lake, celebrated as Hanoi’s most captivating spot for sunsets. During this season, marked by clear skies and sporadic clouds, the chance to behold the breathtaking sunset occurs nearly every day.

In the refreshing autumn atmosphere, individuals can join the local residents and fellow tourists as they congregate in lakeside cafes and along the pedestrian path to seize the sunset moments. Visitors can engage in activities such as renting a bicycle to explore the lake’s environs or simply unwind at venues offering splendid views of the lake from an elevated vantage point.

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