I will be living in Hanoi for at least 6 months, and whilst I am there I want to try and get involved in the Vietnamese way of life. Obviously it will be good to meet up with other expats, but I was wondering if people had any suggestions on how to get to get more involved in the Hanoi life. I'm thinking sports, NGO work at weekends, etc.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
I've found that a big part of getting involved is being a regular. Find a pho place in your area and go there for breakfast a few times a week. Get your water bottles from the same corner every time. Find a good xe om driver and text him when you know you'll need a ride.
The language barrier will always keep these relationship somewhat shallow, but networks of familiarity and trust are very important here.
Try some of these
Hanoi Capitals Football Club
Hanoi Minsk Football Club
Hanoi Oi Netball Club
Hanoi Swans Australian Rules Football Club
Red River Runners
Phil 090 342 5709
292 Lac Long Quan
I would suggest taking Vietnamese language courses and practicing with people you meet around.
Do some sports or activities (not with expats only). Badminton, football and Martial Arts are all popular with young Vietnamese.
Travel outside Hanoi, visit the surrounding areas and see how people live. In terms of population most Vietnamese still live outside of the major cities and the countryside is a lot more laid back than Hanoi.
Get on a bus with no destination and see where it takes you.
Ask the locals you work with to join you for a beer or drink after work, great way to see how the Vietnamese unwind after a day of work.
I found dating a local introduced me to many aspects of the culture I would have never learned about (good and bad) but this does take some time and luck.
Preeko and Stosskraft are right on the money. Once you find a nice restaurant in your neighborhood or a regular activity nearby, such as badminton in the park, return within a week and see how the locals appreciate your interest. Breaking out even the most basic Vietnamese language skills can work wonders.
From my previous travels I thought Badminton might be a good idea - is it just a case of turning up in the park or are there club to join? I'm also up for playing football too, although it has been a while!
There's some really good advice so far. Thanks a lot. I'm having Vietnamese lessons as soon as I arrive so hopefully that will help too!
football...as in soccer? or rugby? :D
Badminton'd be excellent, wake up early in the morning and go to some parks, you'll find people playing it like everywhere :D They just love badminton, my parents do too haha.
I don't think they have a club for us...But you can make one here, some people might be interested to join.
I think it'll be just fine to get involved since Viets really like foreigners *not me though, I look Azn, and I am Azn* lol
I just saw the word "badminton" here and would like to share. If you want to play badminton with local young people, there is one group (all amateur) playing at the weekends : every Sat and Sun from 2h30pm till dark in Thanh Cong Park (opposite the National Cinema). You can contact me for more details if you are interested.
Hope this helps.
i would try table tennis (ping pong), too. it's always interesting to watch the really good people play and they get a kick out of you trying. bia hoi at a place that's not the tourist bia hoi junction.
and get outta town! getting outside the city (esp. on motorbike) can really open your eyes to the culture.