WHAT TRAVELERS CAN DO IN HANOI RAINY SEASON
Summer is around the edge and it comes together with Hanoi rainy season. During the summer from June to around October it rains almost every day. It comes like a flash for an hour or two and the sun comes out like there’s never any rain before. Visiting Vietnam in Hanoi rainy season can be a bit different. While rain in the summer is not too uncomfortable to interrupt your itinerary. You should always have some back up plan in case it rains too much or too heavily.
Rain can come any time without pre-warning
So what can we do when it pours? For me the best thing to do when it is raining heavily outside is to lie comfortably on my sofa with my cats. Have a beer or ten while watching the Expendables or the Avengers (for the 10th time). But that’s me and I’m not here in Hanoi as a tourist. And I have a sofa and cats. These are things visitors can do in this incessant Hanoi rainy season.
RECOMMENDED TO-DO LIST IN HANOI RAINY SEASON
I. See Museums
There are plenty of museum worthy a visit. Yes I know visiting museums sometimes sounds long and boring. But when you already booked a tour and really want to learn new things about culture or history then museums are not bad choices. This is my recommended list:
1. Vietnam Fine Art Museum
An interesting museum exhibiting fine art of Vietnam from the Stone Age to nowadays contemporary art. It is completely in door with two big displaying building. You’ll have chance to see sculptures, all types of paintings, drawings, wood cuts …belong to talented artists of Vietnam. You should not miss the ceramic collection in the basement and the traditional arts of the 54 minority groups of Vietnam.
2. Vietnamese Women Museum
Newly innovated with a big support from French government, this museum exhibits everything related to Vietnamese women. From their getting involved in the war to marriage, from everyday working to spiritual life, from fashions to traditional customs…all displayed in a very interesting way.
3. National History Museum
If you want to learn about Vietnam’s 4000 years of history and the 1000 years of the Chinese domination…then this is the place to go. Located in a very nice French building, this museum will bring you the insights of Vietnam from the beginning to today.
4. Military Museum
If you want to know more about how Vietnamese manage to fight in their two main war: French colonial war and the Vietnam War then this is the place for you. This is a large museum with two mains sections related to those two wars. Lots of broken war fares displayed. The pieces of a broken B52 is impressive. You should really have to go to the back of the museum to see the tank and war craft collection. But that part is outside. (I’m sorry!Hope the rain is now over).
5. Museum of Ethnology
This museum should be on the top of my list as I think it is the most interesting. But half of the exhibition is outdoor so I’m waiting for the rain to be less to tell you now. Here in this museum you’ll have a chance to know about Vietnam’s 54 minority groups and how they make the living. All are very unique and colorful. The best part is outside in the garden where life size houses of those minority groups are set up to show you their real life. That part is too interesting that you will want to put on your rain coat and get out there.
Front of National Fine Art museum in a sunny day
Outside exhibition of Military museum
II. See Shows & Galleries
There is a list of art galleries in Hanoi displaying a wide range of Vietnamese art. From classical art galleries to contemporary arts that belong to talented artists of Vietnam. These art galleries herewith are to go as alternative plan for your schedule in Hanoi rainy season.
1. Green Palm
- Address: 15 Trang Tien Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
- Website: greenpalmgallery.com
2. Apricot Gallery
- Address: 40B Hang Bong Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
- Website: apricotgallery.com.vn
3. Art Vietnam
- Address: 24 Ly Quoc Su Street, Hanoi
- Website: artvietnamgallery.com
Not a big fan of art? Then water puppet theaters all the way you go. Water puppetry is the traditional art form over 500 years now in the north of Vietnam. There are 2 public theaters offering 4 shows a day in each, starting from 16:20 as the first show of the day.
4. Thang Long Water Puppets Theater
This theater has been in the business since the beginning of tourism in Hanoi. They offer water puppet shows for tour groups and individuals. This place is a bit busy sometimes.
5. Lotus Water Puppet Theater
This theater is newly established but now becoming more and more popular for its small size. It is located in a nice French building right opposite to Hoan Kiem lake.
III. Enjoy Local Coffee and Watch Life Passing By
Hanoi is a very dynamic city and it is an interesting thing to do to just sit there at a road side café watching life passing by. In the rain everything looks different and nicer. Find yourself a hot coffee and a seat near the windows in one of the many street side cafes in Nguyen Huu Huan Street. Then let the rain tell you the meaning of life! And you’ll find Hanoi rainy season not too obnoxious.
If you want some unique types of cafes. Or you just simply want to take this chance to sample all type of coffee shops Hanoi has to offer. Then please check my other entry about “Interesting coffee shops of Hanoi” for some recommendations.
Street side coffee
IV. How About Food?
I know the cool rain water make your stomach rumbles and food can surely fix it. Then nothing is better than to take a taxi and go sampling all the street food of Hanoi you have already planned. Check out these “7 mouthwatering Hanoi street food” for a hint.
Oh I see you are serious about food and you want a nice, cozy place to please your every senses not only stomach. Then these gastronomy top restaurants will be your choices to ease away the wet of Hanoi rainy season.
1. La Vertical
Owned by famous chef Didier Corlou who used to be the head chef of the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel. Didier now owns 3 restaurants in Hanoi (Madam Hien- Vietnamese cuisine with herbs, Porte de Annam- Vietnamese cuisine with species and La Vertical- French cuisine with Vietnamese spices) and a wine shop. Should book in advance! His restaurants are all located in nice French buildings.
2. 1911 Restaurant
Located in the basement of the Opera House which gives guests the feel of the luxury dinning. Good for contemporary Vietnamese food.
3. Press Club
Opposite the Sofitel Metropole in the luxury area of down town, right next to luxury shops: Omega, Prada, Vacheron Constantine…Convenient for doing some shopping after food. Good for steaks and international food.
4. Ly Club
Located in a nice French villa, good decors from Ly dynasty back in the 11th century. Good for Vietnamese food.
5. Wild Lotus
Impressively decorated with contemporary Vietnamese art, this restaurant is good for Vietnamese food and a twisted menu between Vietnamese and French cuisine.
Fancy restaurant is an ideal hideaway place from the rain
If all those above are not your style then the least you can do is to look for some good episodes on TV in your hotel room. Maybe you will be lucky enough to get the Expendables 3 on its premiere. And Hanoi rainy season will bother you no more.
Or just simply check out our Google Plus Page for nice pictures of Vietnam.
Smile despite the rain
By Pham Tuyen