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Long Bien bridge - The living historical symbol of Hanoi city

Long Bien bridge - The living historical symbol of Hanoi city

Long Bien bridge - The living historical symbol of Hanoi city

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    Location: Cầu Long Biên, Ngọc Thụy, Long Biên, Hà Nội, Vietnam

    Crosses: Red River, Hanoi

    Total length: 1,680m

    Construction started: 1899

    Opened: 1902

    Entrance fee: free

    I. An overview of an iconic bridge in Long Bien 

    Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is well-known not only for its impressive cultural characteristics, excellent cuisines but also long-standing historical values. There are especially construction designs that have become important historical evidence of the city. Amongst those spectacular architectures, Long Bien bridge is a symbol of courageousness undergoing many ups and downs of history.  

    Long Bien Bridge - Hanoi Attractions
    Source: Unsplash

    Regarding Hanoians, Long Bien bridge is not only a place for them to cross the Red River but a preservation of the historical values. For travelers, it is an impressive construction for sightseeing and reminds them of the American army’s crime during the Vietnam War. Nowadays, many trains, motorbikes and pedestrians still use the iconic construction to cross the Red River every day. In the war, there are some tiny holes in the bridge so Vietnamese authorities have made great efforts to restore its original appearance. 

    The special architectural designs, along with the festal life of local people make it become a symbol of the best thing for Hanoians. This article will provide tourists with some information about the historical bridge of Hanoi before visiting the city. Hopefully, you’ll have a great time during your memorable trip to Hanoi city. 

    II. How to get to the historical bridge of Long Bien

    Only a one-kilometer walk from Hanoi city center, getting to Long Bien bridge is quite easy for tourists. With a short distance, you can walk or drive a bike or even a motorbike to the bridge. If you’re living far from the city center, you can go by bus or taxi. After that, you get off at Long Bien Railway Station. Besides, public transportation in Hanoi city is pretty convenient for tourists. Many bus routes are taking you to the bridge namely No. 01, 14, 15, 22, 34, 47 and 55.

    III. History of Hanoi Long Bien bridge

    Long Bien is the first steel bridge in Hanoi city built from 1889 to 1902 in the French colonial era of the country. Despite being designed by the French, the bridge was built by Vietnamese people using local building materials. They used wood from Phu Tho, Yen Bai, Thanh Hoa as well as cement from Hai Phong and Hue. The historical bridge played a vital role in the French colonial exploitation, allowing them to easily control Northern Vietnam. 

    History of Hanoi Long Bien bridge
    Source:  vivanvu - Shutterstock photographer

    Initially, its former name was Paul Doumer, the French Governor-General in Indochina at that time. Not until 1954 when the Vietnamese government completely defeated the French in Dien Bien Phu, the bridge’s name changed into what we call today, Long Bien bridge. Originally, this impressive bridge had 19 spans, making it one of the four greatest bridges in the world. 

    Over 100-year wartime, Long Bien bridge underwent many bomb attacks by aircraft of American military in 1967 and 1972. Therefore, those bomb attacks destroyed major spans of this historical bridge. The remaining spans today remind locals of memorable events.

    Moreover, Long Bien bridge was a pride of being an impressive architecture for locals. That made a great contribution to the win of Vietnamese military against the French in 1954. It was a connecting point of transporting tons of rice to the Dien Bien Phu battle from Northern and the middle part of Vietnam. Thereby, the iconic Long Bien bridge is not only an impressive construction for traffic but a historical witness as well.

    IV. Highlights of historical construction - Long Bien 

    With its significant values regarding history and culture, Long Bien bridge also carries impressive aspects. As designed by Dayde & Pille, French architects, Long Bien was one of the greatest bridges in Asia at that moment. The bridge’s design somehow resembles that of Tolbiac Bridge on Paris - Orleans Railway, France. To construct this landmark, over 3000 Vietnamese workers and 40 French engineers, architects and experts gathered to run the work. Furthermore, they used a large number of building materials up to 30.000 cubic meters of stone and steel. Also, the amount of money was about 6.2 million francs for this construction. 

    Another feature that makes a great impression on people’s minds is its unique architectural design. The bridge has 2290 meters across the Red River and includes 19-steel beams spanning more than 20-meter tall and a stone path. There is a railroad running in the middle of the bridge. Both sides are paths for other vehicles to run such as motorbike, cyclo, car and pedestrians. The road width for commuters is 2.6 meters and for pedestrians is 0.4 meters. 

    Additionally, the traffic flow on the bridge is one of the highlights that you might know. All vehicles commute on the left side of the bridge different from other modern bridges. 

    Besides historical highlights, this iconic bridge is a perfect place for contemplating the tranquil peace and magnificent landscapes of Hanoi. The Red River bends around the verdant sedimentary grounds under the bridge while many boats sail feverishly on the river. Some say that the Long Bien bridge looks like silk across the Red River, beautifying the peace of Hanoi. 

    V. What to do in Long Bien bridge 

    With its stunning landscapes, Long Bien bridge is an ideal attraction for those escaping from the bustling life of the city to enjoy relaxing moments. So there are many exciting activities here for you such as taking photos, sightseeing and watching the sunset or sunrise. 

    Long Bien Bridge - Hanoi Attractions
    Source: Shutterstock

    Read more: Things to do in Hanoi, Vietnam 2020

    1. Watching the sunset or sunrise at the iconic bridge of Long Bien 

    Many say that Long Bien bridge is one of the wonderful places to see the sunset and sunrise in Hanoi. There are two periods within a day that allows you to watch the best moment of those scenes. When the sun leaves luminous lights on the bridge then sparkling on the romantic river, satisfying any fastidious travelers. So contemplating the sunset or sunrise at the iconic bridge is a must-try activity during your memorable trip to Hanoi

    2. Taking pictures along the historical bridge - Long Bien 

    Taking nice photos on the Long Bien bridge is another thing for you to do here. Lots of youngsters go there to take pictures to memorize their formative years on the symbol of ancient Hanoi. Besides, some adults and elders come here to recall the magnanimous history of the country. Recalling the time when they lived, struggled and saw the courageous moment of this city. Moreover, plenty of couples choose this iconic bridge as a venue to shoot their wonderful photos for the wedding albums. Travelers come here to visit a historical construction and contemplate spectacular landscapes in their remarkable journey in Hanoi. 

    3. Tasting street vendors sold near Long Bien bridge 

    With its only one-kilometer from the Old Quarter, tourists can enjoy many local dishes and excellent drinks near the bridge. Hanoi cuisines are always well-known for its diversity and excellent tastes. There are tons of unique delicious street food here for savoring such as Pho, Bun cha, Banh mi, etc. You can taste a cup of egg coffee or black coffee, or even ice lemon tea. Moreover, you can stop at Long Bien market to buy some fresh vegetables, fruits and fast food at a reasonable price. 

    Tourists can go along the river banks then pass by some fish restaurants and try finger-licking local dishes here. You can have a chance to observe the beautiful view of the iconic bridge from a nearby restaurant. That would be an amazing experience for your trip. On the bridge, there are some yummy street foods such as grilled corn, grilled sweet potatoes, fried banana cakes, different sweet soups, etc that you must try. 

    4. Walking along the bridge to enjoy the fresh air 

    Standing on the iconic bridge of Long Bien, especially at night, you can admire the brilliant light of Hanoi capital. From a long distance, the magnificent light makes Hanoi look more and more sparkling. Additionally, there’s a miss if you don’t go for a walk on the bridge to immerse into the fresh wind and watch the night train leaving the station. That might be an unforgettable memory for you. So walking along the bridge is a fascinating experience that you have to try here. 

    Explore: What do in Hanoi at night - Hanoi Nightlife 2020

    VI. Tips for visiting the iconic symbol of Hanoi 

    Here are some guidelines to make your journey in Long Bien bridge superb. 

    • You should ask for a price first when you want to buy any food or drink sold on Long Bien bridge. 
    • If you go by motorbike or bicycle, please go on the left side of the bridge. 
    • The path for vehicles on the bridge is quite narrow, therefore you had better find a wider space and then park them there. Please do not let your vehicle disturb the movement of others. 
    • Do not throw the trash on the bridge or draw or paint on the railways here. 

    With its historical, cultural and architectural values, Long Bien bridge has become one of the most popular attractions in Hanoi city. Long Bien bridge, the iconic symbol of Hanoi capital, has still been living and undergoing many changes of the capital. Hopefully, the above information helps you to know more about this historic bridge on your trip here. If you’re intending to visit Hanoi, do not forget to leave your foot on this symbol of Hanoi. 


    18 Nov 2020
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