What to see
In the late 1950s, the Hanoi People’s Committee- the city council launched a construction project to turn a large dumping site into the largest central park in Hanoi. The lot had been designed as the place for a public park by the French urban planner during the colonial time. However, not until the People’s Committee started did the project turn into real life. The project was given the full support from the President Ho Chi Minh. He expressed his determination to turn the lot into the green lung of the capital. You can still see the banyan he grew here in the park.
The project was completed due to the collective work of socialist volunteers. Upon its completion in 1961, Vietnam was still divided in two parts- the North Vietnam and the South Vietnam. Thus, the park was named as the Reunification Park in which Reunification is Thong Nhat. The park name showed the strong will of the North to be reunited with the South.
It is more than a park. Thong Nhat poses as a legacy of communism and of collective strength. Since its early days, Hanoi residents have always come here for their early exercises and evening walk. Even during the severe bombing of the American B52s, people continued their exercise in Thong Nhat Park.
In 1980 on the 110th birthday of Lenin, the park was changed into the Lenin Park in an effort to show the allegiance to Leninism. Since the reform of 1986, the face of Vietnam has changed quickly. The open market has brought in town an over-night concrete jungle. The city is packed with rampant buildings and people from other areas in the country. The urban landscape has modernized in a rapid rate but with an aesthetic cost. Thong Nhat Park is a green oasis in the dessert of concrete and dust.
Here is the place you can find the charm of life in Hanoi. Elders walk around in their pajamas. Mothers and old ladies carry out their exercise routine while chatting heartily. Some people gather in a small crowd over a Chinese chess game. Some lovebirds seek their space of privacy among the old, large tree. It is like a slow motion footage among the rapid, restless flow of traffic and noise outside. You can choose for a slow stroll or a long run around the 7 acre lake. If you are an expat, spend sometimes with this park of history and daily charms.