In a modern life, high-tech transportation seems determined to surpass the ancient rickshaws, even though the rickshaw remains a favorite with tourists.
After wandering around Dong Xuan and Hanoi markets, I took a walk to the ancient town and reached Hang Duong. I was really impressed with the cyclo (xich lo) leisurely carrying travelers through the bustling streets. The red colored cyclos are striking in the crowds as they busily take care of their customers.
Without hesitation I decided to experience a cyclo tour. It is fascinating to ride a cyclo tour around the old streets, taking in ancient relics and the development of Hanoi capital city.
With no planned route we left behind the crowded areas and soon came to the spacious streets of Hang Chieu, Hang Buom and Hang Giay. The fragrance of a special kind of flower on Quang Trung Street was delightful, as was the panoramic view of Hoan Kiem Lake.
The Cyclo has existed in Hanoi for a long time. At first it was a rickshaw, introduced by the Japanese in 1868 and imported to Vietnam in 1983 to serve the rich. It returned as a cyclo from France to Hanoi in 1939 and became a popular means of transport in the romantic and peaceful city.
Having survived 80 years of the rise and fall of life, cyclos are now regarded as an ornament for Hanoi’s tourists. No longer the simple vehicles of the past, these days they are decorated splendidly and luxuriously.
A cyclo is a fascinating way to relax as one takes in 36 old streets in the shade of the trees, ancient buildings and temples, transparent lakes and old cultural features of Hanoi. A unique way to learn more about Hanoians and local relics and specialties is by talking with cyclo riders, as they can speak foreign languages such as pidgin English and French.
Though Hanoi has seen many changes with the rising buildings and economic zones, it still retains its elegance due to its old relics. Hanoi is a place for large-scale national and international events, and many celebrities have experienced a cyclo tour such as King and Queen of Spain, Czech Republic’s Prime Minister Milos Zeman, French’s President Jacques Chirac and other famous ones.
With old streets, traditional dishes, fragrance of milk flower and blue color of lakes, the capital city is also the place for tourists to enjoy relaxing moments on a cyclo tour around town.