Ode to Hanoi

Travel Photographs from Vietnam

Hanoi was always an easy place to love. A sense of history and a culture that slowly but surely began to embrace change and modernity. Chaos and charm in equal measures. A coldness that opened to warmth at the smallest provocation. Crumbling walls on ancient temples and less ancient French villas. Smiles and leers and sideways glances. Streets that smelled of petrol and burning things. Wet markets where the din of the street sellers drowned out most other conversation. At times the capital would be plagued by gray skies, but when the sun broke and shone and lit up all the yellow walls like so many gilded golden aisles, there was nothing more magical.

I lived in Hanoi for seven years and I wouldn’t take back a single moment. But now there are other cities and horizons to explore. Other towns to unearth and get lost in. Other countries to discover just as intimately as the one I’ve called home for so long now. So here’s an ode to Hanoi. A song for everyone. A long and winding visual journey through my time there. I’ll miss it but maybe you only ever miss the things you hold closest and most dear.

Fashion Photography in Vietnam
Traffic in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Southeast Asia Portraits
Grilled street food in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Conical Hat & Smoke
Hanoi Travel Photography 07
Urban Farming and Development in Vietnam
Aerial views
A young girl in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Hanoi Travel Photography 12
Exercising in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Southeast Asia Portraits
Hanoi Travel Photography 15
Hanoi Travel Photography 16
Hanoi Travel Photography 17
Fishermen at sunset on West Lake in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Architecture in Hanoi
Hanoi Travel Photography 20
Hanoi Travel Photography 21
Urban Farming and Development in Vietnam
Hanoi Travel Photography 23
Vegetables for sale in Hanoi, Vietnam.
An elder Vietnamese woman speaks to a crowd in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Banana flower salad in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Hanoi Travel Photography 27
Hanoi Travel Photography 28
Passengers at the train station in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Southeast Asia Portraits

140 thoughts on “Ode to Hanoi

  1. It looks like you feel the same way about Ha Noi, that I do about Sai Gon. I don’t know how I’ll be able to say my eventual good byes to my beloved city.

  2. Thanks for your wonderful work ! Hanoi and these people are eternal. Remind me so deeply my life there.

  3. Great photos!!! We were considering to visit Vietnam this summer (for a brief week) and we were inclined towards South Vietnam but now, after seeing your photos, I’m not that sure… Any tips?

  4. We Vietnamese usually say this “có bước chân đường xa đó, có bước chân trở về” (There are steps walking aways, there are steps coming back). Hanoi is always your home, a place that always welcome you to back. I am sure that Hanoi loves you and will miss you dearly too. Thanks for the great captures of Hanoi. I have been away from my Hanoi for 4 years, the life out there is full of excitement but deep down nowhere can be compared to this place 🙂 All the best for your coming adventure, Aaron!

  5. A vivid testament to a great city, my adopted city. Hard to believe that you were able to leave..but then, I am more set in my ways than are you. Mark Rapoport (a Hanoian for the last 14 years).

  6. Miss you so much Aaron! Wishing you all the best and hope to see you soon!

  7. Such inspiring photos and your stories of living in Hanoi. I am from the southern part of Vietnam – Ho Chi Minh City, I only visited Hanoi twice but fell in love already. Hope you have a nice experience in Vietnam!

  8. It is basically ridiculous to glorify the former capital of North Vietnam a country who terrorized and abused their countrymen in the name of communism and chaos wow

  9. Reblogged this on FAÇA ORÇAMENTOS DE PROFISSIONAIS NA SUA REGIÃO and commented:
    Que afortunados somos por fazer parte de uma Empresa tão única e celebrar juntos os 30 anos da Frantec Engenharia em Estruturas Metálicas !
    Somos testemunhas significativas dos marcos no desenvolvimento de nossa Empresa ao longo dos seus Trinta anos, como implementação de melhorias para os empregados cliente, e fornecedores , construindo Hospitais, Escolas, e Obras ,Fendêreis e Privadas entre outras iniciativas, para melhor atender às necessidades de nossos Clinetes No entanto, no meio de todas essas mudanças, três componentes vitais permaneceram: nossa visão, nossa união e nosso compromisso com os valores que nos guiam, nos inspiram e nos fazem ser quem somos.

  10. Your writing and photos are fantastic. I’ll learn to love Hanoi more from your work and pls allow me to reblog it on lasonf.wordpress.com. Thanks

  11. I`ve never been to hanoi, but the moment I see you photos,I fell in love with the city! Thank you so much, your pictures are inspireing and they make me want to go instantly.

  12. Great photos! Congrats on being freshly pressed! I created a new page last month called Real Life Natural Wife. I hope you’ll check it out and leave me a comment with your thoughts. Have a great weekend!

  13. These are amazing, I especially love the black and white photos featuring people.
    I love these!
    -www.baggyhoodiesrippedjeans.wordpress.com

  14. wonderful ! have been there 20 years ago, seems like Hanoi kept its character, beautiful photos – thanks !

  15. Lovely pictures. A great choice that must have been hard to make. Your writing is sublime too.

    I have been finding it an interesting challenge to find a balance between the “ordinary” of home and the “extraordinary” of places that naturally stimulate creativity in my photography. As I’ve been forced to travel less due to disability, I’ve been developing “mindful photography” to help me see the “ordinary” with fresh eyes. If you are interested –
    http://mindfulphotos.org/

  16. This was a ridiculously great write-up and photo-essay, a perfect ode to Hanoi. Well done, enjoyed the creativity of your photos!

  17. I love this pictures. Weldone
    I would love you to visit my blog Xplicitmind.Wordpress.com and see what’s going on there. Thanks for obliging

  18. As a Vietnamese American who lived in Saigon this article and these pictures induce reflection for me. Maybe I should have went to Hanoi and spent some time there. Maybe it was dear to me because it was so close. Great writing, amazing photos, and epic perspective.

  19. Today, I am so suprise and just say that so happy while searching for this blog. I am wondering with a question, are you a Vietnamese? I know that is no but your photos are really Vietnam!!!

  20. Have heard so much about the place, just wanna get here one day and hug 20 random people from the street 😀

  21. Extremely well done. Very real and very unstaged. I felt the street value and appreciate that it focused much more on people than buildings

  22. Wonderful photos, each one different, interesting to explore, making curious about the next one. Diverse but belonging to one series. Fantastic!

  23. Absolutely brilliant, Vietnam has so much beauty to offer.. Love this post and your blog!

  24. These photo’s are incredible! I went to Hanoi, and travelled a little around Vietnam last year! It is such an amazing place and the people there always seem happy,strong and loving! Your photo’s bring that out 🙂

  25. I remember flying over Vietnam in the Sixties and seeing the fire bombs bursting against the green jungle canopy, like orange blossoms bursting into bloom, and knowing that under the beauty of the orange and green, there was terrible human suffering happening.

  26. There are some beautiful images here. I especially like the set where the man is showing his tattoo on his back. But you can feel your style and energy throughout. Excellent!

  27. I like the picture of the two kids and parents all pilled onto one motorcycle! Were some of these pictures posed for? or just what you saw on the streets of Hanoi?

  28. Great photos Aaron! You make the ordinary things you seem to see everyday look so extraordinary 🙂 I particularly liked the fishermen fishing at dawn on Truch Bach lake (that was Truch bach lake, right?). You can see both the old and new aspects of Hanoi in your pics. Great work! Hope you’ll be happy in your new home and country, wherever that will be 🙂

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