Early morning exercise in the park leads to a market find ~ Hanoi, Viet Nam

What to do when jetlagged and waking up at 4:30am? Join the locals of course and go for early morning exercise of stretching, yoga, walking etc… in the park around the lake, before the daily heat sets in.

These people are NOT shy!  Neither mind you is Peta, so she feels very comfortable and quickly becomes “one of the girls”.

Our experience so far, is nothing like we had been told by some others that have travelled in the region. While everybody universally raves about the Vietnamese food, more often than not we were cautioned about Vietnamese people being assertive, aggressive and not particularly friendly. This is not at all our experience so far.

We have found people to be consistently friendly, eager to engage and extremely funny. Then again, we tend to be very open and interactive with locals. (Witness no other falang/foreigner around or joining in on the morning laughing yoga, nor would they join a group of men in an alley and take a puff of the bamboo bong.)

While it is great fun, do not be fooled … This is a great workout. We are sweating by the end and sore the next day ….. and we do yoga quite frequently as well as lots of walking.

Yoga with sound, introduced to us in Granada, by good friend and yoga teacher Rasa, who trained in Thailand. Here it is called “Smile Yoga.”
Every good deed is rewarded… here Ben (who has joined the “laughing yoga” session), gets a team massage ~ not the soft variety either. So hard, it almost hurts ~ thus all the laughter
“Where’s Waldo?” look for Peta in the back slapping reflexology crowd
EVERY bit of the park  around the Temple of Literature is host to spontaneous groups of avid exercisers…  If you every wondered why Asians live so much longer… here is one of the reasons. Many of the people we saw were quite eldery, yet exercising vigorously.
The two most popular activities? Free style exercise with lots of bending,  and Badminton (Badminton? really?)

OK well, this 6am work out is great, but it’s time for a stroll through the market streets and breakfast (of chicken soup with fresh noodles and all sorts of greens, and of course, lemon)

Classic scene
Assorted fresh fish, tofu and veggies
Little crabs on the left, lotus nuts on the right
Fresh bamboo shoots
Plenty of assorted fresh greens
A tray full of larvae ~ not sure how one eats these, we’ll have to wait till someone cooks them so Ben can try them…  Larvae anyone?

As we walk down the labyrinth of alleys, we run into a group of guys using what looks like a bamboo bong!  They offer us to take a try. We don’t do tobacco, but couldn’t really refuse this kind invitation… (Not exactly the kind of interface with locals that one gets by traveling in tour groups!)

Much laughter as Ben over inhales and is overwhelmed by tobacco fume


Laughing at and with the Falangs (foreigners)
“What about me?”, surely this is not just for men?
Not one to be out-done, Peta claims her turn to the bamboo tabacco pipe, to the roar of this group of workers having their morning smoke

  Peta gets tempted by mochi type breakfast balls…Similar to Chinese sesame balls, and being made fresh. These are really yummy!
This particular labyrinth of streets has blackboards on the walls. Hard to tell what is written on them .
Motorcycles are EVERYWHERE… not surprisingly, someone had to come up with a line of motorcycle covers to be oh so chic flying through Hanoi’s streets…Many people also have face masks worn while riding, and often the masks  actually match their jackets ~ a novel fashion statement.
Small shrine always a good place to rest from the tumult of Hanoi streets

4 thoughts on “Early morning exercise in the park leads to a market find ~ Hanoi, Viet Nam

  1. Estelea

    Looks great, thanks so much for pointing it out 🙂 Will definitely give it a try – at least once, does it really start so super early? I guess iti s like in the Philippines, after 8 it is too hot?

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Estelea it is so much fun that it is definitely worth getting up for. Of course we were jetlagged so we were up anyway, but most importantly the earlier you awake to go to exercise, the sooner you can get to eat a phenomenal Vietnamese breakfast!


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