Multi-ethnic Vietnam certainly offers up a treasure trove of colourful vignettes and experiences.
From its unspoiled islands, splendid beaches, verdant vegetation and breathtaking vistas, to its friendly people, famous full-bodied coffee, delectable cuisines, rich culture and poignant history, Vietnam truly lives up to its hype as a must-see destination.
Furthermore, as the northern slice of the country enjoys the four seasons (winter, spring, summer and autumn) whilst the warmer south experiences two, namely dry and wet seasons, there is always a good time to visit some regions of Vietnam, depending on your preference.
Whilst the entire country is an aesthete’s playground, it is the atmospheric capital city of Hanoi, located in Northern Vietnam, which serves as the most popular gateway into the country.
Bursting with energy, life, colours, scents and sounds, Hanoi really is a feast for the senses and a microcosm of Vietnam’s undeniable charm.
Its quaint streets and historic quarters are peppered with a captivating blend of French, Buddhist and Confucian influences. Add imposing monuments, historical landmarks, characterful temples and scenic lakes into the mix, and it’s no wonder that Hanoi was named the “World’s Leading City Break Destination 2022” by the World Travel Awards.
With an interesting discovery around almost every corner, here we share a few snippets that showcase the uniqueness of this entrancing city.
Commonly though mistakenly credited to Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, famed architect of the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris and metalwork builder for the Statue of Liberty in New York City, the historic Long Bien Bridge (above) was in fact designed and constructed by French company Daydé-Pillié. Inaugurated in February 1902 and stretching across 1.68km, the 110-year-old steel bridge defiantly survived several bombings by the American Air Force during the Vietnam War, and continues to dutifully service trains, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians (other automotive vehicles are prohibited).
Another bastion of French colonialism in Vietnam is the St Joseph’s Cathedral. Alleged to be one of the earliest buildings constructed here by the French, the church first opened its doors to congregants in December 1886 and bears the distinction of being the oldest church in Hanoi.
Originating from North Vietnam and dating back a millennium from the 11th century, water puppetry is a cherished form of traditional folk art in Vietnam. Locally, it is also known as Múa rối nước, which means “making puppets dance on water”. In the course of celebrating the end of the difficult rice harvest season in the olden times, farmers from the region of the Red River Delta would stage puppet shows in the harvested rice fields, which were filled with water, to create a wonderfully ethereal and distinctive theatrical setting. Portraying scenes of local culture and traditions, these shows render a unique and colourful narrative of Vietnamese heritage.
The houses on the streets of Hanoi share a typical trait – a narrow yet tall footprint. Some older examples are only two metres wide! Colloquially known as “tube houses”, their diminutive layout came into existence as a means to circumvent unfavourable property taxes. In the 19th century, when the French introduced property taxes based on the width of a building, people retaliated by constructing narrower, longer and taller structures. Though those laws are long gone, the practice of building such homes persists due to space constraints.
Hanoi’s most exhilarating street must surely be the Hanoi Train Street. Tucked amidst the labyrinth of lanes that make up the city’s thoroughfares, the street is home to tightly-packed tube houses, tiny cafes, lively foot traffic and well-informed tourists. At scheduled times each day, thrill-seekers dice with danger as the train trundles down the track that runs along the narrow street, which at some points are only about 20cm away from the walls of the buildings. Alternatively and preferably, you can opt to train-spot from the relative safety of the many quaint cafes along the tracks.
Having sprouted from the delta of the Red River and its distributaries, Hanoi is peppered with lakes, ponds and marshes. Though accounts vary as to the exact number, the Hanoi Lake Report 2015 cited that the number of lakes and ponds totalled 112 in 2015. Providing tranquil respite from the frenetic pace of the city, these picturesque lakes are understandably popular settings.
Sparked off by a proposal from a journalist, the drab walls of the Red River dyke system have been transformed into the world’s largest ceramic mosaic. Measuring 6,950 sq m, the 4km wall is a stunning visual account of Hanoi’s vibrant history and culture.
Aside from its traditional strong and robust coffee, Hanoi is also famous for its egg coffee. Whilst the notion of adding egg to coffee may sound peculiar or downright off-putting to those with a less adventurous palate, the resulting brew is in fact a delicious and decadent concoction of Vietnamese espresso topped off with silky whipped sweetened egg cream.
Meanwhile, other exciting things have also been percolating in this ancient city, where just 10km away from the bustling historic city centre, the fresh township of ParkCity Hanoi has arisen like a phoenix from once-barren terrain.
Located in the new and upcoming district of Ha Dong – one of the fastest growing socio-economic regions in Hanoi – the welcoming green sanctuary that is ParkCity Hanoi has quickly morphed into one of the city’s hippest property hot spots.
Like Desa ParkCity in Kuala Lumpur, this first-of-its kind township in Hanoi was very well received when unveiled in 2010. Investors were captivated by the refined new urban living concept defined by the township. So eager was the response that all the 111 terrace houses and 17 semidetached homes on offer were snapped up during the launch.
The 191-acre ParkCity Hanoi deliberately mirrors the philosophy, master plan and development blueprint of the flagship 473-acre Desa ParkCity township, which was built with a focus on sustainability and the aim of creating a community of holistic and wholesome living.
Though governed by the signature ParkCity Group DNA, the newer township of ParkCity Hanoi naturally builds on innovations and is adapted to accommodate local persuasions.
“At ParkCity Group, it’s not so much about disruptive innovation. Instead, we are sensitive to consumer demands, constantly adapting and employing sustainable and cutting-edge strategies to build quality townships that offer seamless connectivity, state-of-the-art security, a gamut of lifestyle conveniences and a rich communitycentric culture. All our townships and developments boast a strong sense of identity and belonging,” clarifies Lau.
Indeed, the parallels between both townships are obvious, for while Desa ParkCity is touted as the most liveable township in KL, ParkCity Hanoi has been named among the Top 10 Most Liveable Townships in Hanoi by the Vietnam Real Estate Association.
Comprising 13 distinctive neighbourhood precincts housing 5,739 residential units, ParkCity Hanoi is supported by a growing array of conveniences and facilities.
First on the scene was a members-only recreational facility, The ParkCity Club Hanoi, which came into operation in 2017. Set on 4.2-acres, the club boasts three tennis courts, a children’s playground, gymnasium, sauna and various social areas including a multipurpose hall, pavilion and cafeteria. Catering to the four-season climate, one of the three swimming pools is sited indoors and is heated.
In August 2019, The International School @ ParkCity Hanoi (ISPH) kicked off, validating the Group’s goal of providing top-notch international education within all its townships. By 2024, ISPH will offer a comprehensive range of classes accommodating students from nursery right up to A-levels.
Acknowledging that urban retailing is an important aspect of holistic community living, Arkadia Square was launched in July 2022 and is expected to be completed by end-2024. Sporting French-inspired aesthetics, the hybrid mixed-use development is also the first of its kind in Vietnam.
Conceived and developed as an all-in-one shopping, dining, entertainment and lifestyle destination, Arkadia Square will inform the township’s social pulse and will be augmented by the upcoming neighbourhood mall – The LINC @ ParkCity Hanoi.
A game changer in the local retail scene, The LINC will push the boundaries beyond typical shopping centres in Hanoi, introducing a new generation of retail, entertainment and dining experiences. Slated for completion in two phases – with Phase I targeted for opening in 2Q2024 – the three-level mall offers an estimated gross floor area of 18,965 sq m, and a net lettable area of approximately 11,842 sq m.
Additionally, ParkCity Hanoi has joined hands with one of the premier multi-model and multi-field retailers in Vietnam – Central Retail Group – to establish a branch of its popular supermarket chain, Tops Market, as an anchor tenant in The LINC. Scheduled for opening in Phase I, Tops Market will offer customers more than 20,000 products, including a wide range of fresh and organic agricultural products, plus an impressive assortment of quality imported goods at affordable prices.
The LINC will undoubtedly inject a fresh and dynamic vibe into the township. Targeted towards families and young adults in the contemporary district of Ha Dong and its vicinities, the mall is built around the concept of creating convenience and offering a lively venue for people to spend quality time together.
However, the core of a township are its homes, and as the adage goes, “home is where our story begins”.
To date, several residential projects have been completed in ParkCity Hanoi. Earlier developments such as Nadyne Gardens and Evelyne Gardens, completed in 2014 and 2017 respectively, are fully occupied.
Next were The Mansions, elegant three- to four-storey parkhomes that epitomise the essence of living large and luxuriously. Completed in 2020, the four-storey units also feature private lifts, another benchmark in the Hanoi property scene.
Says owner and entrepreneur Tran Van Rinh: “My business has seen me travelling extensively to many countries, and I was impressed with the lifestyle concept of ParkCity Hanoi, which promotes exclusivity and connected communal living, all set within peaceful greenscapes. It’s like living in a park but with access to all the modern amenities!
“Our family enjoys bonding at the extensive facilities available at The ParkCity Club, while my wife especially loves her walks along the verdant pathways, listening to the music of chirping birds and breathing in the lovely fragrance from the abundant flowers.”
“From my very first visit to ParkCity Hanoi, I have found myself emotionally attached to this place. Furthermore, in the lucky draw campaign for The Mansions homebuyers, we won a Mercedes! It was the first time that we have ever won anything so valuable. So, moving into ParkCity Hanoi has been a blessing for us. We were one of the first owners to collect the keys, and we are so happy with and proud of our home that we regularly invite relatives and friends over,” confides Mrs Tran.
Meanwhile, the latest residential parcels completed are Le Jardin @ ParkCity Hanoi and the Park Kiara condominium. Whilst the exclusive 57-unit Le Jardin villas have recently been handed over, unit owners of the first condominium in ParkCity Hanoi received their keys in 3Q2022.
“I was so excited that I was up by 4am on the morning of handover. And when we eventually saw the apartment at our appointed time, it exceeded our expectations!” reveals Hien, whose family received the keys to their unit in Park Kiara on day one of the handover before moving into their new home in January 2023.
“We used to live nearby and I have often driven past ParkCity Hanoi. I really liked the atmosphere and felt that the living environment of this township would be very suitable for my family. Additionally, my brother, who lives in Evelyne Gardens, only has good things to say about this place, and since our parents also live close by, it was an easy decision to relocate to Park Kiara.
“In truth, we had bought an apartment elsewhere by an established developer but not only was the unit smaller, there was also the added problem of high density and insufficient parking.
“So, we sold that unit and invested in Park Kiara. Happily, we are extremely satisfied with our new home and with the services provided by the ParkCity Group team,” explains Hien.
The current ever-changing post-lockdown lifestyle has influenced the design of the products introduced into the market. At ParkCity Group, close attention is paid to homeowners’ needs whilst adapting to the local context and culture. For instance, outdoor fireplaces have been integrated in the communal areas of The Mansions to foster greater comfort and camaraderie during the cold of winter. And since homeowners show a preference towards choosing their own finishes and furnishings, Le Jardin villas are being handed over as bare units rather than in the usual semi-furnished state.
The spirit of a township is in the strength and harmony of its community.
ParkCity Group is committed towards cultivating a lifetime community, where residents and visitors of all ages and walks of life can thrive in a safe, secure and amenity-rich environment whilst interacting, learning and growing together. Accordingly, ParkCity Group also prioritises community engagement and activities through frequent value-added events that promote sportsmanship, volunteerism and community responsibility in all its townships.
“What we do is beyond building a property. The most important part of what we do is to create structures that work well and cohesively with one another to add value to the community, continually raising our standards so that what we build will last for generations to come. Right from the outset, our townships are designed and created to grow as sustainable and self-contained townships not only within Malaysia, but regionally,” asserts Datuk Joseph Lau.
It’s no wonder then why ParkCity Group townships are so sought after!
For more information on ParkCity Hanoi, visit www.parkcityhanoi.com.vn