Most visitors to Hanoi will find their days packed with sightseeing and discovering elements of Vietnamese like its superb cuisine, but if you feel like a change and need some exercise, there are plenty of places that offer the chance to keep in shape.
T’ai Chi and Aerobics in Hanoi
For a different experience in Hanoi, head down to Hoan Kiem Lake or any other lake in the city at around 06.00 and join in with groups of Vietnamese practicing t’ai chi or aerobics to loosen themselves up for the day ahead. You’ll probably notice that lots of participants are still wearing their pajamas, so there’s clearly no dress code, but most foreigners would feel more comfortable in jogging gear or shorts and a T-shirt.
Fitness and swimming in Hanoi
There are plenty of fitness clubs and swimming pools in Hanoi. The majority are located in upmarket hotels and use of these facilities is usually free for guests, so it is worth bearing in mind when you book accommodation if you plan to spend a lot of time in the city working out.
Facilities may not compare with fitness clubs in the West, but they will at least offer enough equipment for a good work-out. Besides the big hotels, there are a few independent fitness centres, such as Olympia Gym (at 4 Trang Hung Dao, tel: +84 4 3933 0796).
Tennis in Hanoi
Hanoi’s climate is cool enough for much of the year to make tennis a good type of exercise. However, there are not too many courts around. You’ll need to head for the Pullman Hanoi Hotel: at 40 Cat Linh Street, tel: +84 4 3733 0808, fax: +84 4 3733 0888
Yoga in Hanoi
Yoga is a very popular way of keeping the body supple and alert, and there are a few places in Hanoi where you can join classes for around US$12 a session. One convenient choice is Zenith Yoga: Open: 07:00-14:00, 08:00-15:00 (weekend); at 3rd Floor, 111 Xuan Dieu, tel: +84 90 435 6561, email: email@example.com, website: www.zenithyogavietnam.com, on the north side of West Lake.
Massage and Spa in Hanoi
If your idea of getting in shape involves less effort than lifting weights or contorting your body, then have someone else do it for you at a massage centre or spa. Hanoi, like many other cities globally, has seen an explosion of spas opening in recent years, and rates are much lower in the West, making it tempting to pamper yourself. A couple that come highly recommended are Qi Salon & Spa:at 27 Ly Thuong Kiet, tel: +84 4 3824 4703, fax: +84 4 3824 4699, email: firstname.lastname@example.org,and Zen Spa: Open: 09:00-21:00 (daily); at 310 Nghi Tam Alley, Tay Ho, tel: +84 4 3179 9889, email: email@example.com, website: www.zenspa.com.vn.
Golf in Hanoi
Few visitors consider playing a round of golf while in Hanoi, but in fact Vietnam is one of the most up-and-coming destinations for golfers in Asia, with new courses opening all the time. One of the best near Hanoi is the 36-hole King’s Island Golf Club: Dong Mo, Son Tay, tel: +84 4 3468 6555, fax: +84 4 3368 6606, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.kingsislandgolf.com) located 45km west of the city centre.