It is normal to witness tiny motorbikes whizzing through narrow alleys, precariously carrying multiple items in Hanoi. Amid the organised chaos of Hanoi, tiny motorbikes whizz through the narrow alleys, precariously carrying furniture, trees or even heavy gas tanks.
Photographer Mate Valtr travelled to the Vietnamese capital in February this year to explore and document the bustling city. Dubbed the ‘Paris of the East’, the city is famous for its artisans and merchants. The Old Town has changed little, with each street specialising in a particular trade.
City hub: The local people of Hanoi relax and work on the streets, such as this woman wheeling her goods to sell
Community feel: The busy streets are bustling with locals eating their lunch on tiny, communal, coloured chairs
What seems to be big vats of acetone are transported through the streets on a tiny motorbike
Vaulter said: ‘Experiencing Hanoi means to accept a certain level of madness and chaos, with flocks of motorcyclists ruling the roads, food hawkers popping up out of nowhere, cooking right on the streets and ubiquitous elder tea drinkers.
‘What makes life here different from the usual western town, is the fact that a big deal of life is happening directly on the streets.
‘People eat there sitting on mini stools, no matter if they are workers, or a business woman in a perfectly cut suit. Everyone is equal when enjoying their daily bowl of Pho.’
Although daily life in Hanoi is incredibly varied, much of it takes place outside on the streets.
The safety policies here are very different to those in the UK, with large dangerous items being transported by bike or scooter
Everyday activities take place directly on the streets, such as this gentlemen getting his hair cut by an outside barber
Balancing act: A man drives through Hanoi with an entire tree precariously strapped onto the back of his motorbike
Specific streets deal with particular wares, such as this bamboo. Dubbed the ‘Paris of the East’, the city is famous for its artisans and merchants
Between the chaos, the local people find time to relax on the Hoàn Kiếm Lake, which is a popular spot in the Vietnamese city
The Czech photographer said: ‘In a way it seems like time has stopped in Hanoi – you won’t find any subway as a mean of public transport.
‘Even some old systems remained unchanged – for example streets of the Old Town were historically a place for specific guilds, and even nowadays one street sells exclusively silk and cloth products, the other bamboo, another only silver and so on.
‘Hanoian people are cheekily indulging in many outdoors activities and so you can see avid book readers on the benches alongside the mythical lake in the centre of Old Town, old ladies practising power aerobics to modern trance music, and kids roller-skating in front of a communist monument.
‘Even though crossing the road might sometimes seem like the act of a madman, the whole town is actually very comfortable.’
The traditional city’s buildings contrast with modern clothes worn by locals. Many garments feature well-known brands like Adidas
Hanoi is famous for its local artisans selling items such as shoes, jewellery or silk. Pictured are kids keeping themselves entertained on an electronic device
The streets are filled with locals selling food. Pictured are two women with a variety of fruit and vegetables
Passing time: Two women watch the world go by as they get their hair permed at an open salon, which is located right on the streets
Hop on: Motorbikes or bicycles are the only forms of transport in the lively city, which features many chaotic roads and alleys
Mate Valtr said: ‘Even though crossing the road might sometimes seem like an act of a madman, the whole town is very comfortable’
The photographer visited the narrow streets of Vietnam’s capital, witnessing this cycling girl and inquisitive dog during his stay
Daily life in Hanoi is incredibly varied, from workers selling products to those just relaxing in the heat
The locals are extremely efficient at transporting their market goods from place to place, often using two suspended food baskets
The Old Town has retained its traditional, narrow buildings, and visitors have to be prepared to face the traffic in the local style
On a mission: Valtr travelled to the Vietnamese capital in February 2016 and set about exploring the bustling capital
Loaded up: In Hanoi seeing motorbikes laden with people and shopping is an everyday sight
The busy city of Hanoi surrounds the infamous, serene Hoàn Kiếm Lake, which is one of the most popular scenic spots in the capital
The bustling city has a few areas of tranquillity, but the honks of scooters and bikes are rarely far away
Traders sit along the side of the street with their wares on tiny plastic chairs. It is traditional for customers to pull up a chair and eat alongside the sellers
The locals balance their market goods on every inch of their bicycles, to transport them along the streets to sell during the day
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