Red River of Vietnam: Flower Gardens in Hanoi and More

The Red River (Vietnamese spelling: sông Hồng) is the origin of rice cultivation in Vietnam. Since rice cultivation is inseparable from Vietnamese culture, people also call it the Mother River (sông Cái).

The modern banks of the Red River in Hanoi now give way to a number of gardens and fields. These have become trendy destinations for snapping photos and outdoor picnics, especially for the younger generations.

About the Red River of Vietnam

About the Red River of Vietnam
[ by quangvuha from Pixabay ]

The entire Red River is 1 149 km long and starts from Yuan River in Yunnan, China. It flows across Northern Vietnam for 510 km before reaching the Gulf of Tonkin (vịnh Bắc Bộ).

During the flood season, the water becomes slightly red due to alluvium, hence the name Red River. The alluvium creates a rich soil ideal for agriculture, especially in the delta region.

However, the alluvium also silts up the bottom of the river resulting in the annual floods. This is why embankments have been erected and recorded since the Ly Dynasty (1010).

Studies show that civilization around the Red River began around the second millennium BC. Then, around 800 BC came the Dong Son Culture (văn hoá Đông Sơn).

This culture is attributed to Vietnam’s first ancient kingdoms of Văn Lang and Âu Lạc. Nowadays, you can still visit the Co Loa Citadel of Au Lac Kingdom just 15 km from central Hanoi.

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The Red River Delta

Red River Delta
[ by xrosspoint from Pixabay ]

The area of the Red River Delta has a humid subtropical climate and a high population density. It covers many cities and provinces in Northern Vietnam. This includes the capital Hanoi and popular Ninh Binh Province. Its total area and gross agricultural production are second only to the Mekong Delta in the south.

The agriculture of the Red River Delta includes crops such as rice, fruits, vegetables, and farming freshwater fish. Furthermore, its 400 km coastline has much potential for sea fisheries and tourism.

Even though the delta is agriculture-based, it also has a growing industry thanks to its mineral resources. Additionally, some branches of the river are suitable for building hydroelectric power plants.

Red River West Lake – Calm amid Temples and Pagodas

West Lake
[ by ePi.Longo from Flickr ]

West Lake (hồ Tây/ Tây Hồ) is the biggest freshwater lake in Hanoi which was separated from the Red River. Its history and scenery continue to inspire literary works through the ages.

Compared to the central Hoan Kiem Lake, it’s less crowded and quieter with nice lake-view cafes. There are swan boats and stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) on the nearby Truc Bach Lake (hồ Trúc Bạch).

West Lake is the ground of many religious sites including Tran Quoc — the oldest pagoda in Hanoi. If you’re interested in staying in the neighborhood, the Fraser Suites Hanoi has a nice view over West Lake.

Read more about the West Lake

Red River Bedrocks Botanical Garden

Red River Bedrocks Botanical Garden
[ by Bãi Đá Sông Hồng from Facebook ]

Red River Bedrocks Botanical Garden (Vườn hoa bãi đá sông Hồng) has a number of seasonal and pretty flower gardens. Located 6 km away from the center of Hanoi, it’s ideal for a day outing. It’s by the bank of the Red River and close to the West Lake.

The botanical garden requires a small entrance and parking fee if you drive. However, each flower field has its own entrance fee which varies from one to another.

For the best picnic and photoshoot opportunity, try to arrive by mid-morning. Some go-to photo spots are giant trees with swings, the bedrocks near the river, and a big windmill.

Due to all the seasonal flowers, you can visit the Red River Bedrocks Botanical Garden any time of the year. However, much like a lot of destinations in Hanoi, it gets really crowded during the Lunar New Year.

Protip: Don’t get too close to the river, especially the areas with danger signs. Of course, pay attention to the environment and collect your trash upon leaving.

  • Entrance ticket: 50 000 per adult ; free for children under 2 years old.
  • Parking ticket: 10 000 VND per motorbike.
  • Flower fields entrance fee: 30 000 – 50 0000 VND per person.

Picnics in Red River Bedrocks Botanical Garden

Picnics Bedrocks Botanical Garden
[ by Chimi Farm 3 – 264 Âu Cơ from Facebook ]

One of the best things to do in Red River Bedrocks Botanical Garden is picnicking on the grass. Many visitors prepare their food at home and bring along their own ground bedding. Although the garden has a few coffee shops, they only sell fast foods and some noodle dishes.

Seasonal Flowers in Red River Bedrocks Botanical Garden

Seasonal Flowers in Red River
[ by Bãi Đá Sông Hồng from Facebook ]

In the Red River Bedrocks Botanical Garden, all kinds of colorful flowers bloom each season. Springtime brings along favorites like cherry blossoms and sunflowers. There are also many species of daisy, and the eye-catching cockscomb flower.

The Summer has many shades of red and yellow from different roses and more daisies. During the end of Fall, the elephant grass fields by the river become the favorite backdrop for photoshoots.

By Winter, the crowd-stealer changes to fields of white daisies which complement the cold winter of Hanoi. They also symbolize new beginnings, in this case, after the end of a year.

Chimi Farm with Fresh Strawberries

Chimi Farm
[ by Chimi Farm 3 – 264 Âu Cơ from Facebook ]

The Chimi Farm was a new addition to the Red River Bedrocks Botanical Garden in 2020. Coming here, you’ll be able to handpick the freshest strawberries charged by the kilo.

Furthermore, they have a dairy cow farm where children can visit and feed the cows. The farm’s coffee shop sells tasty drinks and cakes made with the fresh in-house milk and strawberries.

The Chimi Farm also has a designated day-camping site. They also provide tents and fireplaces. For an easy BBQ party, you can buy their seasoned whole chicken and a variety of meat skewers.

The Chimi Farm doesn’t have an entrance fee. Additionally, if you buy more than 1 kg of strawberries, they’ll refund your entrance fee to the botanical garden.

The Middle Field of Red River below Long Bien Bridge

Long Bien Bridge
[ by NguyenCaoDat from Pixabay ]

The Red River banks of Hanoi have a number of flood plains below its bridges. However, the Middle Field of the Red River (Bãi Giữa sông Hồng) is the locals’ favorite. In the middle of Long Bien Bridge (cầu Long Biên) is a pedestrian ladder to get down to this field.

People come here to simply enjoy the river breeze amidst the elephant grass and watch boats drifting from afar. It’s a nice and calm setting in the busy capital of Hanoi, especially during sunset.

Long Bien was the first bridge over the Red River. Daydé & Pillé Enterprise from France built it in 1898. It was heavily damaged in the Vietnam War (1955 – 1975) and became an icon of Hanoi history. 

Long Bien Longan Garden

Long Bien Longan Garden
[ by Vườn Nhãn Long Biên – Khu sinh thái from Facebook ]

Long Bien Longan Garden (Vườn nhãn Long Biên) is another choice for picnics and photoshoots near the Red River. It’s 7km away from Hoan Kiem Lake, a little further away compared to Red River Bedrocks Botanical Garden.

This place was a private garden until its photogenic rows of longan trees became a popular backdrop for wedding albums. It currently has a number of seasonal flowers to add to the scenery as well.

After its opening to visitors, the grassy ground under the longan shades became a favored spot for family outings. Similar to the Red River Bedrocks Botanical Garden, you can prepare your own picnic basket. Furthermore, the garden can help organize team-building activities and even wedding venues.

The Long Bien Longan Garden is also spacious enough for playing soccer or badminton with your children. Additionally, the garden has a small farm for raising some friendly goats.

  • Entrance fee: 50 000 per adult ; free for children.

Long Bien Flower Plateau

Long Bien Flower Plateau
[ by Thảo Nguyên Hoa Long Biên from Facebook ]

Long Bien Flower Plateau (Thảo nguyên hoa Long Biên) is a group of flower fields on the near side of the Red River. It’s close to the Longan Garden and more of a ‘professional studio’ alternative. The sheep on the farm can be your lovely photo partners as well.

  • Entrance fee: 70 000 VND per person.

Traditional Handicraft at Bat Trang Ceramic Village

Traditional Handicraft Villages
[ by Giang Chu Bình from Pixabay ]

Bat Trang Ceramic Village (làng gốm Bát Tràng) is one of the most popular traditional handicraft villages in Hanoi. For over a thousand years, it has been producing the world-famous Bat Trang Ceramic. Tours to traditional handicraft villages in Hanoi may include a quick pottery class in the Bat Trang Village’s factories.

A boat trip along the Red River in Hanoi may also visit the Bat Trang Ceramic Village. You can easily find these tours online and through the frontdesk of your hotel.

Bat Trang Ceramic Village is only 15 km away from central Hanoi near the Red River. If you want to visit the village by yourself, local markets are a less touristy option.

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