Hanoi is busy to say the least. It is a rush: the smell of barbecued pork, the sounds of traffic, the sights of a million tiny street cafes and alleyways. It can be thrilling, exciting, distracting and entertaining, and some days it can be draining. For those days where you just need some chill, there are a few places you can go to escape at all. One of my favorites is the botanical gardens.
The gardens are located to the south of West Lake, just off. If you take your motorbike or bicycle, then you’ll have to pay 2,000 dong to park at the front entrance.
As with most parks in Hanoi, the botanical gardens are built around a small lake. This lake feels cleaner than many of the other parks in Hanoi and frogs and fish can be seen jumping in the water. There are paths around the outside of the lake and it makes for a soothing quiet walk.
The park is well-maintained with lovely plantings and tall trees for shade in the summer time. It is fenced in on all sides, which drowns out the noise of the nearby roads, overall presenting a serene natural environment that is hard to find in Hanoi, especially if you live near the Old Quarter. Lately I’ve been craving nature, and the botanical gardens gives me my fix without having to drive two hours to Ba Vi.
There are animals in the park. My favorites are the chubby doves which live on an island in the middle of the lake.
There are also caged animals in the park. Although they are cute and fun to watch, the ethics of keeping animals in tiny cages in a public park is questionable. This is the one aspect of the gardens that I don’t love.
There are also statues, and if the timing is right, you can get some great photos of the artwork surrounded by lush green landscape.
There are lots of quiet areas in the park for a picnic or a game of football.
Or you can simply walk around and breath in the nature.
The botanical gardens is where I find my chill in Hanoi. If you’ve had a hectic day walking around the Old Quarter or simply heard one too many motorbike beeps, take a taxi out to the gardens, breath, stroll and find yourself again in one of the few very quiet places in Hanoi.
Where do you find your chill in Hanoi? If you’ve got any tips for me let me know. I’m always looking for a new place to relax in this gorgeous, hectic city.