Long Bien Bridge: A Historical Symbol In Hanoi

Long Bien Bridge is the first steel bridge to cross the Red River. This bridge connects two districts of Hanoi city, Long Bien and Hoan Kiem. 

The French built Long Bien Bridge with the original name of Dourmer. The name of Long Bien bridge was named since Hanoi capital was liberated and existed until today.

Long Bien Bridge
Long Bien Bridge | © Huong4487/pixabay

Today, this bridge is a tourist destination in Hanoi that a lot of foreign tourists visit, and many young people come to take pictures.

Let’s go to visit it!

Long Bien Bridge

  • Address: Long Bien Bridge, Ngoc Thuy, Long Bien District, Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Total lenth: 2,290 m
  • Built: 1899 and opened: 1902
  • Entrance fee: free

1. The starting of Long Bien Bridge

The bridge officially was constructed on September 12, 1899. With a total investment of 5,390,794 French Francs, this bridge was the largest project in Indochina at that time.

After more than three years of construction, on February 28, 1902, Long Bien Bridge was officially inaugurated with the name of Dourmer Bridge, the name of the host governor of Indochina. The Long Bien Bridge was expected to be a tool serving the colonial exploitation of the French colonialists in Vietnam in particular and Indochina in general.

2. The architecture of Long Bien Bridge

Long Bien Bridge used to be a big project in Asia. The bridge consists of 19 long steel girder spans placed on 20 high-profile pillars, with a total length of 2,290 meters. There are also 896 meters of the stone road leading up to the western bridgehead. When inaugurated, Long Bien Bridge was the second-longest bridge in the world after Brooklyn Bridge in the US.

The Long Bien Bridge is 4.75 meters wide, divided into 3 main sections. The two sides are roads for vehicles and pedestrians, in the middle is a single track for trains. But, now cars are not allowed to run on this bridge, just motorbike and bicycle can go.

Long Bien Bridge was designed and constructed by the famous companies in France, ensuring the most sophisticated technical and artistic elements of bridge construction. The entire bridge body is made of steel designed in harmony and impression. From a distance, Long Bien Bridge is like a giant dragon winding that is both soft and strong.

bong bien bridge hanoi
The bridge looks like a winding dragaon. | © khoinguyenfoto/pixabay

3. The ups-and-downs history of Long Bien Bridge

Long Bien Bridge is not only famous for its perennial bridge and unique architecture but also a witness of the majestic history of the capital.

As the first bridge across the Red River, Long Bien became an important traffic route to promote travel and to accelerate the development of both the suburbs of Hanoi and city areas at that time.

Going through the two wars in Vietnam, Long Bien Bridge suffered violent destruction because of its essential traffic role.

In 1954, Long Bien Bridge was the place to welcome the victorious troops in the war zones back to the capital and also the site where the French expeditionary army withdrew from Hanoi.

During the first destructive war in the North (1965 – 1968), Long Bien Bridge was bombed 10 times by US planes, damaging 7 bridge spans and 4 large pillars. Second war destroying the North in 1972, the bridge was bombed four times, making 2 big pillars cut off and destroying 1500 meters of the bridge.

To protect the bridge, the Vietnamese Air Force and Engineers arranged armed forces, built combat posts. This force had fought bravely and protected the fierce bombardment of the enemy. Therefore, many people consider Long Bien Bridge is also a symbol of the extraordinary strength of the Capital Army in particular and the Vietnam Revolutionary Army in general.

Because of development, Long Bien Bridge cannot suffer too many vehicles go up here every day. Thus, the Chuong Duong bridge has been opened near this one. Due to the current degradation, Long Bien bridge only serves motorbikes, bicycles, pedestrians, and trains.

4. Experience to explore Long Bien Bridge

You can follow the guides below to explore the Long Bien Bridge.

4.1. When is the best time to visit Long Bien bridge?

long bien old bridge
Lovely view of Long Bien Bridge | © HOANG_PHOTOGRAPHY/pixabay

Sunrise and sunset are the two ideal times that you should visit Long Bien Bridge. When you come here early in the morning, you will enjoy the fresh and open-air atmosphere. You can watch the sunrise from afar as well as witness the first rhythm of life starting a new day.

If you go at sunset, you will be able to see the warm, fanciful, and romantic afternoon scenery. Besides, you can feel the hustle to return home to reunite people after a hard-working day. And, when the city begins lightening up, the colourful lights make the bridge shimmering and more beautiful.

No matter the time, the peaceful scenery at the poetic Red River with slowly running barge combines with the timeless beauty of the bridge, which makes you have an exciting experience.

4.2. What can I see at Long Bien bridge?

When visiting Long Bien Bridge, you can follow the guides below.

  • Choose a place to see the panorama of the bridge: You can stand at the foot of the bridge to see the panoramic view of Long Bien Bridge. You can sit at on coffee shop near the bridge to enjoy the ancient beauty of its design. Please check this café to have a nice view: Serein Cafe & Lounge, address: 16 Tap The Ga Long Bien, Tran Nhat Duat, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi.
  • Walking on the bridge: You will feel joyful when you take a walk on the side roads along the bridge to enjoy the old frame of the bridge. You can notice many love locks that the young couples lock.
  • Standing on the pedestrians on both sides of the bridge: When staying on the bridge, you can see the Red River and the city view.
  • Taking pictures of the bridge: This activity cannot miss during your journey to the historical bridge Long Bien. The bridge will be a perfect background for your classic style of photos.

4.3. How long should I spend at Long Bien Bridge?

To visit and take pictures at Long Bien Bridge takes you 1 hour only. Thus, you should combine this site with other attractions in Hanoi to plan a half-day trip or a full day journey, such as Dong Xuan Market, Hoan Kiem Lake, and Bat Trang Pottery Village.

4.4. What are the most appropriate means to visit the Long Bien bridge?

Visiting Long Bien Bridge is best to walk on it. When walking, you can stop anywhere on the bridge or at its foot to enjoy its beauty. It is also easy for you to watch the surrounding scenery from the bridge. To travel from the Hanoi Old Quarter to Long Bien Bridge, you can catch a taxi. It takes you about 10 – 15 minutes to move.