Ive recently returned from the street photographers paradise that is Hanoi with five students who came on my course covering street Photography in Hanoi.
We stayed at the ideally situated Tu Linh Legend Hotel located in the Hoan Kiem District of Hanoi which is ideal for walking to all the best locations for great street photography.
Flying into Hanoi airport you can get virtually all your essentials sorted out as you walk through customs such as your local currency, mobile phone card and book a local taxi to take you your hotel.
Some of the Best Locations for Hanoi Street Photography
Id recommend the following locations all within walking distance of the Tu Linh Hotel
- Hoan Kiem Lake
- Hanoi Street Train
- Quan Thanh Temple
- Yen Phu market
- Lenin Park
- Quoc Tu Giam Park
- Long Bien market
- Vietnam Military Museum
- The Old Quater
- Hang Bac
- Temple of Literature
- Dong Xuan Market
- Chau Long market
- Temple of the Jade Mountain
- Tran Quac Pagoda
- Ly Thai To Park
- Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum area
- Quang Ba Flower Market
- The French Quarter
- Ba Da Pagoda
My Personal Favourites to visit for Street photography in Hanoi
Hoan Kiem Lake
You can pretty much walk around the lake 24 hours a day and you’ll always find great activity. The Vietnamese people love to socialise and exercise and you will stumble across these at various times. There is one area early evening around the lake that many people gather to exercise which make great photographs. Try and make some unusual compositions and layered images as they go about their daily routines.
At weekends you will also see many couples having their wedding photographs taken around the lake with the temple of the jade mountain in the background. Ive photographed this many times but always try and make them a little unusual rather than just taking another pic of a stationary bride and groom.
You’ll also see people just walking and talking , having their portrait painted, playing games and taking mini exercise classes which all make for great photographs taken from varying different angles.
As dusk arrives the bridge across the river is lit in a traditional bright red.
Tran Quac Pagoda
Its a little walk from the Lake but well worth it as Ive always seemed to strike lucky here but its a waiting game. A beautiful temple that you must take of your shoes to enter with amazing light streaming in , its a regular place formany both locals and visitors to go to and say their prayers. Put the camera on silent with a wide angle lens and wait for those perfect moments to open up in front of you.
Chang Long market
A great favourite, arrive mid morning to find all the market traders setting up, the small shops opening and people sitting around eating on mini seat. Just wander around with your 35mm lens and be ready to take pictures in all directions. I personally like to find little areas where there is a pool of people and then wait around until I see formations occuring that are pleasing to the eye. Quite often Ill find a street coffe shop nad buy a coffe and just sit and observe and thus becoming a part of the scene I want to photograph.
The Old Quarter
Another favourite is the Old Quarter with small old traditional shops with great characters going about their daily business, its a dream for street photographers .Just wander around and see hwere it takes you as every street and every corner there is something there to be photographed
Quac Tu Giam Park
In Quac Tu Giam Park you’ll find people just sitting on benches playing draughts, chess and othe local games. Ive found the best way to photograph these people is to smile say hello and then just watch for a while whilst they become comfortable with you before you start taking photographs. Ive found if you go straight in you will be hit with please go away and no photographs please as they gamble on the throw of the dice. So be friendly and wait and you will be rewarded.
Just a short walk from the park is the Vietnam Military Museum thats well worth wandering around .
A few great places to eat in Hanoi
Cai Mam Restaurant .. Traditional Vietnamese Food
Grandmas Restaurant ( a real favourite )
Beer Corner is well worth a visit in the evening, It gets real busy and is a hub of beer stations and small restaurants. It can also be a great place for some twighlight photography.
Vietnamese coffee is strong and powerful . French colonists introduced coffee to Vietnam, and nowthe morning cup of ca phe has become a local habit. With many variations Vietnamese coffee has developed a style of its own. Some of the local favoutrites are Egg coffee, Yoghurt coffee and Coffee smoothie, Try as much as you can on your trip to Hanoi
A few Great Coffee Shops
- The Coffee House Ha Ba Trung
- Cong Caphe ( Go upstairs on the terrace )
- Giang Cafe
- Hanoi terrace cafe
- I’mpresso coffe ( owned by a local street Photographer ! )
What Photographers say after being on a Hanoi Street Photography course
Having visited Kolkata with Mark on a previous course I wanted my photography to go a stage further and get more confidence with ny street photography. The course delivered on all aspects and I honestly cant think of any way Mark can make this course any better. I can highly recommend attending one of Marks courses abroad. Jim Morgan
Iwas interested in visiting Hanoi with a professional photographer to try and take my photography to another level. Mark always gave great encouragement, support and has an excellent local knowledge of the best locations and when to go to them. Mark has really helped me embrace street photography setting me challenges and giving great instruction. I honestly dont think I could have produced so many images that Im proud of without Mark.. He certainly made the difference ! Rik Grant
If you would like more information on courses I run both in Hanoi and the rest of the world please get in touch
I look forward to hearing from you
Further pics on Hanoi http://www.vietnam-guide.com/hanoi/hoan-kiem-lake.htm