Dec 26, 2020 / 05:17

Walking space around Hoan Kiem lake becomes brand of Hanoi

After three years of implementing the pilot plan, the closure of areas by Hanoi's Hoan Kiem lake for pedestrians at the weekends became institutionalized from January 1, 2020.

The walking space around Hoan Kiem lake and surrounding areas in downtown Hanoi has become a brand, a cultural avenue, and a highlight of the capital city.

The walking space has contributed to ensuring security and order, gradually curbing motorized vehicles, creating a new lifestyle for Hanoi’s people, and promoting the capital city’s image - the City for Peace.

After three years of implementing the pilot plan, the closure of areas by Hoan Kiem lake for pedestrians at the weekends became institutionalized from January 1, 2020.

The walking street around Hoan Kiem lake first began in 2016 with the initiative to boost up Vietnamese culture and provide a common place for both locals and visitors to gather and hang out. 

The walking street has become a magnet, a cultural attraction for both domestic and foreign visitors with some 3,000-5,000 arrivals during daytime, and 15,000-20,000 at nights.

The number of international tourists staying over in Hoan Kiem district has increased rapidly from around 1.36 million arrivals in 2016 to 1.95 million in 2017 and nearly 2.2 million in 2018. The number reached 1.24 million arrivals in the first three quarters of 2019, up 13% year-on-year.

Along with famous destinations like Ngoc Son temple and Hoa Lo prison historical relic site, the pedestrian zone around Hoan Kiem lake has become an attraction that lure throngs of visitors to the capital city at the weekends. 

The pedestrian area is opened in three nights at the weekends (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), from 7:00pm to 12:00pm in summer and from 6:00pm to 12:00pm in winter.

The pedestrian zone includes Hang Buom, Ma May, Dao Duy Tu, Hang Giay, Luong Ngoc Quyen, Ta Hien, Hang Ngang, Hang Dao, Hang Duong, Dong Xuan, Dinh Tien Hoang, Le Thai To, Hang Khay, Hang Bai, Trang Tien, Dinh Le, Nguyen Xi, Le Lai, Le Thach, Tran Nguyen Han, Lo Su, Luong Van Can, and Bao Khanh.

Joining Vietnamese folk games is one of the most interesting activities in Hanoi walking street. Even though the street has no modern games or services, it still has its distinct attractive thanks to Vietnamese folk games reflecting traditional and cultural beauty. 

This is a corner of Hoan Kiem Lake where many chidren gather to play O an quan (Mandarin square capturing) - one of the traditional games of Vietnam, along with others such as Keo co (Tug of War), Nhay bao bo (Bag jumping), shuttlecock kicking and rope jumping. These games attached to Vietnamese people’s childhood for a long time.

These folk games not only bring tourists interesting experience, but they also give a great chance to communicate with local people and explore the unique cultural beauty of Hanoians.

According to the Steering Committee of Hoan Kiem pedestrian space, the weekend walking space will be expanded to the south of the Old Quarter, connecting some streets in Hanoi’s Old Quarter area to Hoan Kiem lake.

The expansion of walking space to the south of Hanoi’s Old Quarter area will create one pedestrian zone at the weekends, satisfying the need for a larger space for visitors to promenade, go shopping, enjoy food and cultural activities in downtown Hanoi.

Eight streets and three alleys will be pedestrianized, starting from January 1, 2021, including the streets of Hang Dau, Cau Go, Hang Be, Hang Bac, Dinh Liet, Gia Ngu, Dao Duy Tu (the section from Cho Gao to Quan Chuong Gate), Quan Chuong Gate (including O Quan Chuong street and Hang Chieu - Thanh Ha crossroads area); and Cau Go, Trung Yen, Phat Loc alleys.

Besides, cultural and historical sites in the area will open until midnight; art performances will also be organized regularly at some venues such as Quan Chuong gate (for Vietnamese traditional music performance). Dinh Liet - Gia Ngu crossroads (for contemporary music performance); Kim Ngan temple (at No. 42-44 Hang Bac - for traditional music performance).