Mayu Takeda, a Vietnamese Japanese student, says she loves Hà Nội’s pavements, through which she can learn more about the city’s in-depth stories.
Mayu often goes around the old quarter of Hà Nội to get to know about people’s lives and daily activities. “Sitting on the pavement, looking around and listening to different voices, you will know what is happening in Hà Nội” she says.
Traveling to Việt Nam to visit relatives and friends, the 21-year student takes every opportunity to enjoy life here in Hà Nội. She left the country when she was just four years old, but the country is always in her heart.
Michael, a tourist from the US, first visited Việt Nam five years ago. This time he has brought his friends, who are very eager to explore Hà Nội. “You can get everything you need on the pavements,” Michel says, adding that the prices are much cheaper than in the shops.
“There is no place like Hà Nội, where you can see, either poor or rich people, interacting with each other. And, it’s undeniable that the 'motorbike civilization' has contributed to the 'pavement economy' which helps thousands of people earn their living,” he says.
Strolling around Hoàn Kiếm (Returned Sword) Lake, Andreas, a journalist from Germany, feels very excited to see people on the move.
Andreas says he likes sitting on the pavement, listening to the mixed sounds, drinking tea or coffee and seeing what's happening around him. “In the evening, the streets are less busy but more quiet. It’s time for me to go out and enjoy the atmosphere of open air-living. Life on the streets is something new and special, like a piece of documentary film about Hà Nội and Hanoians.”
With the last rays of the sun disappearing and less noise echoing from transport vehicles, Hà Nội is closing its day to enter a paradise filled with joy and excitement.
Soaking up the life of the streets which look both old and new, traditional and modern, you will see that nothing is more refreshing to enjoy after long working hours than a cup of coffee near Hoàn Kiếm Lake.
There are many famous coffee shops in the city, from Nắng Cafe (6 Hàng Bạc), Nhân Cafe (39D1 Hàng Hành), and Cafe Mai (Nguyễn Du) to Cafe Giang (Hàng Gai), and Cafe Lâm (60, 91 Nguyễn Hữu Huân), which are ideal for old friends to meet and chat in the romantic atmosphere of the city.