Sports have been an integral and institutionalized part of the Hanoi educational system for years. Many resources are still committed to the study and improvement of martial arts such as tae kwon do and wushu, two disciplines in which Vietnam is world renowned. Ping-Pong and badminton are also determinedly pursued.
Hanoi Bicycle Collective. While nobody would call frenetic Hanoi a cyclist’s paradise, the Hanoi Bicycle Collective is doing its best to encourage the use of pedal power. As well as serving as a retail space, with several brands of bike on offer, the outlet has set itself up to become a hub of cycling life, commuting, social activity, and fitness. 29 Nhat Chieu, Tay Ho District, Hanoi.
King’s Island Golf & Country Club. King’s Island Golf & Country Club is a gorgeous course surrounded by the beautiful Tan Vien Mountain. Golf in Vietnam is not cheap, however, and caddy fees add an extra 630,000d. Renting clubs will set you back another 1,050,000. You reach the club via a scenic boat trip across a reservoir. Dong Mo, about 45 km (28 miles) west of Hanoi, Son Tay town, Ha Tay Province.
Bowling is a popular activity for Vietnam’s trendy young urbanites. If your image of bowling includes folks in matching shirts, you’re in for a surprise: pumping music, lights, and attached bars add a little extra excitement to this wholesome pursuit. Call ahead to reserve a lane.
Hanoi Starbowl Centre. Hanoi Starbowl Centre, housed in a trendy shopping mall, has 30 lanes of high-tech bowling fun for between 20,000d–40,000d depending on the day and the time. 2 Pham Ngoc Thach St., Dong Da District, Hanoi.
Paddleboating and sculling are voguish forms of boating in Hanoi. You can rent dragon-shape paddleboats on Truc Bach Lake at a few spots, one on the southwest corner of the lake and another on the causeway. Thien Quang Lake, just north of Lenin Park, also has paddleboats for rent. Go to the Student Culture Center (Nha Van Hoa Hoc Sinh Sinh Vien) on the small island that is connected by bridge to Tran Nhan Tong Street. Boats are 20,000d to 40,000d per half hour. The newer plastic boats are more expensive than the rusting metal hulks.
In Hanoi, sailing and water- and Jet Skiing are, for the most part, reserved for members of the elite Hanoi Club. If you’re not a member or the guest of a member, the only way you’ll be able to use the club’s catamarans and other goodies (including tennis, racquetball, squash, and exercise facilities and a swimming pool) is if you stay at the hotel or apartment facilities managed by the club.
No sport captures the attention and hearts of the Vietnamese quite like soccer. The game’s biggest crowds are down in Ho Chi Minh City, but the religiously followed semiprofessional national league packs them in at the 20,000-seat capacity Hang Day Stadium. The season runs roughly from October to May, and when the Hanoi Police face off against the Ho Chi Minh City Police in the capital, you can bet the stadium is rocking. Smaller matches are held at the Army Stadium, in the southern portion of the citadel, with access from Hoang Dieu Street. Nearly every Vietnamese bar in town has a soccer schedule, and with a bit of gesturing and pointing you should be able to figure out whether or not a huge match is going to be played while you’re in town.
Hang Day Stadium. No sport captures the attention and hearts of the Vietnamese quite like soccer. The national V League packs them in at the 22,000-seat capacity Hang Day Stadium. The season runs roughly from January to August, and when the Hanoi teams play here, the stadium is rocking. Nearly every Vietnamese bar in town has a soccer schedule, and with a bit of gesturing and pointing you should be able to figure out whether or not a huge match is going to be played while you’re in town. Trinh Hoai Duc, Hanoi.