I have just had to rewrite what I know of the geography of Hanoi. Despite living in the Vietnamese capital on and off for four years, it’s only now that I have discovered that Long Bien bus station isn’t actually in Long Bien at all. It’s in Ba Dinh.
Who names their bus station after another district? And their railway station and their bridge, too, for that matter.
Until now I had assumed, not unreasonably, that Long Bien was this side of the Red River. Turns out everything I thought I knew is completely wrong.
Long Bien district is not reached until you cross over the Long Bien bridge (from Ba Dinh). Until recently I had believed it was Gai Lam on the opposite bank. Keeping with the theme, however, when you land in Long Bien proper, the main bus station there is the Gai Lam bus station. For the record, Gia Lam is 11 kilometres away.
It’s a bit like rocking up to Euston Station in London only to find it has been renamed Edinburgh Station because that’s where the trains go.
Maybe someone out there can explain why Ba Dinh bus station is called Long Bien bus station. And why Ga Hanoi, the railway station, is not Ga Da Nang?
No doubt there’s some logical explanation for all this. Perhaps there are historical reasons? Kilmarnock FC, for example, play at Rugby Park, but only because the ground was originally a rugby field. If you can explain the naming system in Hanoi, please leave a comment below.