Adapting to Hanoi’s Summer

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Adapting to Hanoi’s Summer


Bang Lang flowers

Summer is well and truly here. You can hear the cicadas in the trees. Along most of the streets in Hanoi these days, you can see the beautiful Flamboyant flowers. The hand fans are waving and the storm clouds are threatening. The temperature is on the rise forcing Hanoians to the lakesides and the streets in the evenings trying to get some breeze. Young boys drive their motorbikes around to have a good look at girls. Ice cream and sugarcane juice outlets are doing a roaring trade.

Summer rain

It’s all about staying cool in the brutal Hanoi summer. While the red and purple flowers make Hanoi look beautiful and signal the beginning of the school holidays, it is also a sign that it’s time to adapt. There will be no more cool days until October. One of the most noticeable ways that Hanoians adapt is in the wardrobe department and that doesn’t mean they wear less clothes. They wear more! Avoiding the searing sunshine is a priority, especially for the local women. A range of uniquely designed shirts which tie around the head have been all the rage these past few summers. Long gloves and the newly invented helmet rings complete the look.


Driving habits change, too. Motorcyclists do not stop at the traffic lights but instead 25 or 50 metres back from them – under the shade of a tree. It seems that half a minute stopped still in the open sun is too much to bear. At other times, motorbikers compete to pull up in the shade of a truck or bus. Motorbike parking attendants, in some locations, cover the seats of the bikes to protect them from the sun and their owners from a nasty burn.

Truc Bach Lake

Finding a breeze on a hot still night requires inside knowledge or an observant eye. Between Truc Bach and West Lake is an all too obvious one, with hundreds of couples getting in their good night kiss in the subtle wind. The breeze from the Red River can be experienced by hanging in the stop zones on Long Bien bridge. The bases of tall buildings like the Sofitel Plaza and by the waterworks on the dyke road are two other favourites.

Beers deliver

A tumbler or two of bia hoi (draught beer) or mia da (sugar cane juice with ice) will give an instantaneous chill.

If all else fails, seek air-conditioned comfort!

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