“It’s 3:30am and the old city is silent and still. (…) Most backpackers are fast asleep, but I had heard a rumour about another dimension of this city, one which exists only in the darkest hours, one which most will miss.”
When traveler and photographer Annapurna Mellor took a trip to Vietnam, she stopped by Hanoi – as most do. But once there, she decided to stay up after dark in the purpose of attending the Long Bien Market, which only takes place at night from 1 am to the sunrise. An attraction that many tourists miss because of its unusual working hours.
Annapurna Mellor’s article describes the atmosphere of the market. Long Bien stands out from the rest of the city that is completely quiet. There, it seems that you are in another world within Hanoi. The photographs she took show how vivid and animated the place is, whereas houses in the background remain in a sleepy darkness. The author tells all about the surrounding sounds and scents from the vendors’ shouts to the strong odors from fish for sell.
As soon as the sun rises, sky becomes pinky and whereas Annapurna Mellor watches the gorgeous cityscape, vendors pack their things and are to begin their own night, following an opposite rhythm from the rest of the city.
The Long Bien Market is often listed in travel guides but few tourists find motivation to get up that early to attend it. It is a wholesale market for fruits and vegetables where restaurants, local markets and other businesses go to stock up for the day. The market is situated next to the Long Bien Bridge.