I always tell anyone who is traveling to Asia and especially to Hanoi, Vietnam to not sleep in and miss all the excitement on the streets in the early mornings. There is something magical that can happen in the parks, streets and public areas in Asia with early morning exercise. This is always one of my favorite parts of the day.
It is usually safe to go out in the early mornings in Hanoi, Vietnam. The streets are always bustling with a lot of activity and excitement. People in the city tend to start their days very early. To see the early morning exercise you must also get up very early. There are a lot of places in Hanoi where you can see a lot of the early morning exercisers. Starting the day early is a habit that many people have throughout all of Asia.
Here is a video that shows some of the kinds of morning exercise on the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam.
Is It Safe to Go Out In The Early Mornings?
I think one of the concerns that many people may have about getting out the door in the early hours of the morning is if it is really safe to go out so early? The answer to that is not an easy yes or no answer.
Here are a few things you can do to ensure your safety:
- Let Other’s Know – For safety sake, if you have a traveling companion and they are not going out early in the morning with you, then you should let them know where you have gone. If you are traveling by yourself you can let the front desk know where you are going when you turn in your key.
- Do Not Carry A Lot of Cash On You – if you are going out to exercise there is really no point for you to carry with you and a lot of cash. I always carry some cash just in case I need it like I get lost and need to get back to my hotel or I need a bottle of water.
- Hotel Name Card – If you are staying in a hotel you should have a copy of their name card with you in case you get lost. I have found it is always easier to ask people directions if they can see the address in their own language in case you trying to pronounce in their language where you need to go.
- Use a Fanny Pack or Arm Band- I know there are a lot of people who think having a fanny pack is outdated and unfashionable. I do not care as I always have one with me when I am exercising and traveling. I use it to put in some money, keys, lip balm, water, and my phone. Sometimes I will also put in a pair of sunglasses. The reason is in the early morning before the sunrises it may be a bit dark, but suddenly the sun will come up and you may need your sunglasses. If you really cannot run with a fanny pack then you can use a running armband. but make sure you slip a bit of money and the hotel name card into the running armband.
- Carry Your Phone – I always carry my phone with me. I like to listen to podcasts when I am exercising and also I like to have it take photos when I see a photo I want to take. But also a phone is a safety measure in case you get lost or hurt or need to be contacted.
- Face Mask – After the COVID-19 scare, many countries in Asia had a law that you need to wear a face mask in public. Even if there is no law, many Asians will wear a face mask in public. You may want to be sure this is either not a law or something that is socially or culturally required. If it is then you need to make sure you have a face mask.
I have found traveling in Asia early in the mornings to be safe, but I also make sure to take all these necessary precautions. If you are traveling to Vietnam you can read our blog on Is Vietnam really safe to travel alone? What you need to know. by clicking here. This blog will give you some tips on how to stay safe when you travel around Vietnam.
If you are traveling to Cambodia you can also read a blog on Is Cambodia Safe for a Solo Female Traveler to Travel Alone? by clicking here. This blog talks about how to stay safe in Cambodia.
One thing that has happened to me on a morning walk was that I got bitten by a dog. This dog ran out of his house and ran up to me and nipped me in the leg. I asked the dog owner for papers to see if the dog had a rabies shot but they could not produce any papers. My rabies shots were not updated so I had to get a new series of rabies shots. If this happens to you while you are traveling, it could be a real problem.
If you are traveling to Southeast Asia you can read our blog on Why you need a Rabies Shot Before Traveling to Southeast Asia by clicking here, This blog will explain, why we encourage everyone who is traveling to Southeast Asia to get a rabies shot before traveling. Rabies can be deadly, yet it is a problem in many parts of Asia.
Get Up Early to the Parks, Lakes and Public Areas.
If you are traveling to Hanoi, Vietnam or to any part of Asia you should consider getting up early in the morning to see the morning exercise. In the summertime when it is hot outside these activities will start as early as 5 am and in some cases as early as 4 am. In the wintertime when it is still dark outside in the mornings, you can see the exercisers starting at 5:30 am or 6 am or some even earlier.
By 7 am to 7:30 am most people are starting to go to work. Most offices start work at 8 am.
Life generally starts early in Asia so if you decide to sleep in until 10 am you will miss most of the morning excitement. The morning times are always bustling with activities.
If you are traveling to Hanoi, Vietnam here are some places for you to see the morning exercise routines:
- Hoan Kien Lake, Hanoi – If you are staying near downtown Hanoi, a jog or walk around Hoan Kien lake any morning of the week should have a lot of people out exercising and a lot of activity. They may have exercise classes, pop dance, ballroom dance, Tai Chi and even people lifting weights on the sidewalk This is a popular place for people to exercise.
- West Lake (Tay Ho), Hanoi – Another very popular place is around West Lake or Tay Ho. Some of the major spots for exercising would be near the Dragons on the Lake off Lac Long Quang Street. Or the street between West Lake and Truc Bach Lake on Thanh Nien Street. Every morning West Lake is very active with bikers, joggers, and people exercising. All around the West Lake area, you can find people out exercising in the morning, every morning of the week.
- Lenin Park – Lenin Park is a park that is on Dien Bien Phu Street. There is usually a lot of activity going in the park in the early mornings. I have seen some pretty serious Badminton players and competition going on there some mornings.
In almost all parts of Asia where ever there is a park, lakes or some other public spaces you will find some exercise groups out there in the early mornings. If you happen to see a dance, aerobics or Tai Chi group they may even ask you to join them. Don’t be shy – get out and exercise with them.
There is nothing like the mornings in Asia. Not only are they filled with excitement but it gives you a chance to be able to go out and see some culture, people and things you may not see otherwise. At least in Hanoi Vietnam, early morning exercise is the heartbeat of the city.
How Can I Travel Alone and Make Friends?
To travel alone and to make friends you must first learn how to be alone by yourself and enjoy yourself. Then with some smiling at other people, it can help to break the ice. Go up to talk to new people and get to know them. Be a good listener and get to know others. Don’t be afraid to try a new language. And finally, when you travel alone and start to make friends around the world, you quickly learn that there are a lot of good people out there in this big wide world of ours.
You can read our blog on How to Travel Alone and Make Friends, What You Need To Know by clicking here.
Does Travel Change Your Life?
I first started traveling when I was in High School when I spent 6 months in Northern Sweden as an exchange student. After all the years have passed I still have friends from that time of my life, That experience to travel overseas changed my life and perspective forever.
I am a great believer that everyone should try to travel overseas to a new culture, at least once in their life. Travel will help you to discover new life experiences, give you fresh horizons, allow you to see poverty in a whole new light, so you realize your life is not so bad after all. Travel also gives you a chance to be a cultural bridge to the world and to understand that experiences in life are more important than collecting material things.
You can read our blog on 7 Ways Travel Will Change You and Your Life by clicking here.
Anita L Hummel from A Bus On A Dusty Road