In pictures: A glimpse of everyday life on the sidewalks of Hanoi

A man clad in uniform takes a moment to enjoy a cigarette and the day’s news as the city mellows. All pics: Jonathan Lim

HANOI is a progressing metropolis that’s loud and full of life in the mornings, but by night, it sleeps. 

These photographs offer a peek into the frenetic energy and sleepy vibes in central Hanoi.

Built by Emperor Ly Thanh Tong, the hallowed grounds of the Temple of Confucius date back to 1070. Known by locals as Quoc Tu Giam, or the Imperial Academy, it housed the country’s first national university and was the biggest educational center during its days of feudal regime. Established to educate the country’s elite, it remained opened until 1779 when a new academy was set up in Hue. It nonetheless continues to stand the test of time - a grand remnant of the people’s illustrious past. Here stand the four pillars that mark the entrance into the temple, shaded from the morning sun. With a customized eyepiece for magnification and a drawer full of surgical-like tools, this man tinkers with timepieces for a living. For him, no watch cannot be fixed; with a mound of mainly European pieces covering his work desk, work is essentially a matter of mixing and matching minute parts, and breathing new life into the old. Walking through the commercial bustle of Hanoi can often be overwhelming, but a stop at one of these nondescript streetside watch shops provide a calming respite – even if it's just for observation Banh mi and tea for breakfast - a quintessential Vietnamese delight. Consisting of a baguette filled with a range of ingredients (typically meat, pickled vegetables and chili peppers), one will easily spot vendors of this Vietnamese snack along the city’s busy sidewalks. While not all vendors offer tea and have chairs and tables set up around their stalls, this particular shop (Banh Mi 25) along Hàng Cá makes for an ideal introduction to the local delicacy Negotiating price-per-weight with these lovely fruits-on-bicycle vendors can be a tricky affair, but the sweet and fresh goodness of locally grown produce more than makes up for it – especially on a warm day A well-loved recreational spot for locals and travelers both young and old, the Hoan Kiem lake is ideal for those keen on observing everyday life in the city. Be it for exercise, a nap, to socialize or to have an ice cream, the lake accommodates everyone in the city. Here, a xích lô (pronounced sick-low), or trishaw rider, looks on for potential passengers by the lake’s sidewalk as the sun sets Ta Hien street is the city’s prime example, if not its nightlife institution, for a night out to enjoy the highly affordable and drinkable bia hoi (local draft) coupled with an array of local delicacies. Bars also line the street for those seeking a bit more space and swankiness. Plastic stools and tables flood the street leaving barely enough walking space, but this daily spectacle could very well be the definition of what it means to be in Hanoi

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