Long Bien Bridge – The Historical Witness Of Hanoi

What You Need to Know about Long Bien Bridge

Rachel Tran
Rachel Tran | Published: January 7, 2020

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam with a thousand years of civilization, is famous not only for its unique cultural features, the modern and bustling life or the delicious traditional cuisine but also the constructions that have long become the symbol of Hanoi people. Among those architectures, Long Bien Bridge is a witness to the resilience of Hanoi in the two resistance wars as well as the dramatic changes of this city in the new epoch.

    Location: Ngoc Thuy Ward, Long Bien District, Hanoi
    Crosses: Red River, Hanoi
    Total length: 2290m
    Construction started: 1899
    Opened: 1902
    Entrance fee: free

1. History of Long Bien Bridge

Long Bien Bridge is the first steel bridge in Hanoi, also one of the first bridges built by the French in Vietnam. The more than one-hundred-year-old bridge was constructed from 1899 to 1902 with the idea and construction of the architects Daydé & Pillé of Paris. At first, it was named after the  Governor-General of French in Indochina – Paul Doumer. It was not until 1954 when the Vietnamese totally defeated the French in Dien Bien Phu that the bridge was renamed Long Bien Bridge.

The old railway on Long Bien bridge in Hanoi
Photo: redd.it

At the time it was built, Long Bien Bridge was one of the four greatest bridges in the world. To build the bridge, more than 3000 Vietnamese workers as well as a team of about 40 French directors, engineers, experts and foremen were recruited to run the work within the time of three years 9 months. The bridge played an important part in the colonial exploitation policy of the French, which allowed them to easily control North Vietnam.

During the resistance war against the United States, especially the period from 1965 to 1972, Long Bien Bridge was heavily bombarded by the US aircraft because of its crucial position connecting the two biggest cities in North Vietnam – Hanoi and Hai Phong. So serious was the war that the bridge was bombed fourteen times, destroying most of its spans. The remaining spans nowadays remind us about the unforgettable past of our country in general and Hanoi in particular.

In the peacetime, due to the drastic increase of vehicles since the 1990s, Long Bien Bridge has been used only for trains, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians. Not only is the bridge aim at transportation purpose but it is also an famous historical attraction in Hanoi the local residents and visitors.

2. Highlights of Long Bien Bridge

Long Bien bridge at sunset
Photo: flickr.com

With the length of 2290 meters, Long Bien Bridge crosses the Red River, connects two districts of Hanoi – Hoan Kiem and Long Bien. The cantilevered steel bridge has gone through the ups and downs of the history and tinted by time with rusty rails and the rough narrow roads on the two sides of the railway. Many people said that Long Bien Bridge was like a silk ribbon crossing the Red River, adorning the tranquil beauty of Hanoi capital.

From afar, you could contemplate Long Bien Bridge silhouetting against the blue sky. Seeing Long Bien Bridge also means that you set foot in Hanoi. On Long Bien Bridge, you cannot help but astounded at the stunning beauty of the city. Under the bridge, the Red River curves around the lush alluvial grounds; on the river, boats sail up and down busily. Along the riverbanks are verdant banana fields and corn alluvial plains stretching out towards every direction as an enormous green carpet. Visiting Long Bien Bridge, you for sure would be amazed at the spectacular beauty of Hanoi, which could be only imagined in a fairy tale.

3. What to Do at Long Bien Bridge?

Long Bien bridge from above
Photo: livingnomads.com

Things to do at Long Bien Bridge:

  • Escape from the crowded city
  • Take photos with the old railways
  • Review herotic past of Vietnam
  • Contemplate beautiful sunrise and sunset
  • Admire splendor light of Hanoi city center
  • Walk along the bridge to enjoy light wind

The breathtaking view of Long Bien Bridge makes it an ideal destination for those who want to escape from the crowded city for a while to enjoy the rare moments of relaxation.

Many teenagers and youngsters have gone to Long Bien Bridge to take photos in order to memorize their youth in the luxurious capital city.

The old have come to this bridge to review the heroic past of the nation when they lived, fought and fell in love with this city.

A lot of couples have chosen Long Bien Bridge as a rendezvous to shoot beautiful photos for their wedding albums. Tourists from other places visit Long Bien Bridge as a splendid landscape not to be missed in Hanoi.

Long Bien Bridge is said to be one of the most wonderful spots to see the sunrise and sunset near the capital Hanoi. This is also one of the worthwhile free things to do in Hanoi. At the two periods of the day, the sun leaves the brilliant light on the bridge then twinkling on the river below, which please any fastidious visitors.

At night, standing on Long Bien Bridge, you could admire the splendor light of Hanoi city center from afar as the magnificent stars from the sky. It is a flaw if you do not have a walk on the bridge to enjoy the light wind, then stop to wait for the night train as the children in a story written by Thach Lam – a famous Vietnamese writer.

4. What to Eat Near Long Bien Bridge?

What to eat near Long bien bridge - bun cha

For a long time, Hanoi has been well-known for its traditional cuisine with mouthwatering specialties that leave a long-lasting impression on people trying those dishes.

Long Bien Bridge is only about one kilometer from the Old Quarter, where you could sit down to drink a cup of ice lemon tea or egg coffee then enjoy the unique delicious street foods such as Pho, Bun cha, Banh cuon, Banh mi. On the way from Long Bien Bridge to the Old Quarter, you could stop at Long Bien Market to buy some vegetables, fresh fruits or fast food with a pocket-friendly price.

5. How to Get To Long Bien Bridge?

Long Bien Bridge is about one kilometer to the east of Hanoi city center. The short distance allows you to walk or drive a bike or motorbike to the bridge. For those who live in the districts far from Hanoi center, you could go by bus then get off at Long Bien Railway Station or Long Bien Transshipment Spot. The public transportation system in Hanoi is quite convenient for your movement with a variety of bus routes that take you to Long Bien Bridge including No. 01, 14, 15, 22, 34, 47, 55.

6. Tips on Visiting Long Bien Bridge

There are some more tips to make your trip to Long Bien Bridge perfect:

  • Do not buy any food or drink on Long Bien Bridge if you do not want to pay two or three hundred thousand VND just for a cup of lemon tea and a plate of sunflower seeds. If you want to have something to eat when going sightseeing, buy them at the grocery stores then bring your own trip.
  • If you go by bike or motorbike, go on the left hand side of the bridge. The thing that makes Long Bien Bridge different from the other bridges in Hanoi is that the riders have to go on the left hand side instead of the right hand side as normal.
  • The road for vehicles on the bridge is very narrow, so you should park in some wider parts of the road on the bridge. Don’t let your vehicle interrupt the movement of other people.
  • You should protect the environment on the bridge. Don’t throw your rubbish or carve and paint on the rails of the bridge.

Long Bien Bridge, the symbol of courageous capital in wars, is still living and sharing the daily life with Hanoi – the heart of Vietnam. We hope that the above information would be of some help to your visit to Long Bien Bridge. If you are planning a trip to Hanoi, remember to visit this wonderful destination!

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