Long Bien Bridge - A historical symbol of Hanoi

Last updated - January 27, 2024
Long Bien Bridge - A historical symbol of Hanoi

Construction on the bridge commenced in 1899, and upon its completion in 1903, it received the appellation "Paul Doumer Bridge" in honor of Paul Doumer, the French Governor General of Indochina.

Even today, as visitors stroll along the bridge, they can catch sight of a preserved metal plate affixed to the truss bearing the inscription "1899-1902 ~ Daydé & Pillé - Paris."

A metal plate on Long Bien bridge

Notably, this remarkable structure stands as the inaugural steel bridge ever erected over the Red River.

The Long Bien Bridge stands as a vivid testament to the unwavering resilience of the capital city amidst the tumultuous events that unfolded throughout the 20th century. It serves as a living embodiment of the indomitable spirit displayed by the people of the region during both challenging and prosperous times.

A classical beauty of Long Bien bridge by the vibrant city

Location and How to get to Long Bien Bridge

Situated approximately one kilometer east of Hanoi city center, the Long Bien Bridge offers convenient access to visitors.

The close proximity allows for enjoyable walks or leisurely bike or motorbike rides to reach the bridge. Even for those residing in districts distant from the city center, reaching the bridge is feasible by utilizing the extensive bus network. By taking buses that pass through Long Bien Railway Station or Long Bien Transshipment Spot.

Map from Hoan Kiem Lake to Long Bien bridge

Hanoi boasts a well-developed public transportation system, offering a range of bus routes, including No. 01, 14, 15, 22, 34, 47, and 55, that cater to travelers heading towards the Long Bien Bridge, ensuring convenient and accessible transportation options.

History of Long Bien bridge

In 1897, Paul Doumer, the Governor General of French Indochina, granted approval for the construction of the Long Bien Bridge. The primary objective behind this project was to enhance the region's infrastructure and serve as a crucial element of the colonial exploitation policy.

From 1899 to 1902, the Long Bien Bridge was meticulously constructed. Over 3000 Vietnamese workers, accompanied by approximately 40 French engineers and experts, actively contributed to this impressive feat of engineering. The construction process incorporated indigenous materials such as timber sourced from Phu Tho, Yen Bai, and Thanh Hoa provinces, as well as cement from Hai Phong.

Long Bien bridge in the past - hundred year ago

Upon its completion, the bridge received its name in honor of Paul Doumer, the Governor-General of French Indochina and subsequently the President of France, paying tribute to his significant role in the region.

Following the liberation of Hanoi on October 10, 1954, the bridge underwent a renaming and came to be known as the Long Bien Bridge. This symbolic change reflected the new era and the spirit of liberation that swept across the city.

The renaming of the bridge signified a break from its previous association with colonial rule, embracing a fresh identity aligned with the values and aspirations of the newly independent nation.

Throughout the Vietnam War, especially in 1972,  the Long Bien Bridge endured relentless bombardment by American aircraft, primarily due to its strategic significance. The bridge's critical location made it a prime target, resulting in severe damage and the destruction of numerous spans.

During the war, many parts of Long Bien bridge were repaired and no longer as the original ones

Today, only remnants of the original structure stand, as substantial sections had to be reconstructed in the aftermath of the war to repair the extensive damage inflicted upon it.

Nowadays, with the significant growth in transportation options, several modern and expansive bridges have been constructed across the Red River. However, the Long Bien Bridge continues to serve as a vital transportation artery for trains, motorbikes, and bicycles.

A train on the Long Bien bridge

Moreover, it has transformed into an iconic destination for pedestrians seeking to relish the panoramic vistas of the cityscape, offering an ideal setting for photography enthusiasts.

Despite the emergence of newer alternatives, the Long Bien Bridge maintains its unique charm and continues to be cherished both as a functional transportation route and as a picturesque landmark for locals and visitors alike.

Notices when visiting Long Bien bridge

Long Bien bridge allows passengers to walk on. This bridge is for transportation so no fee.
Visitors could explore Long Bien market right next to the bridge before going on the bridge.

Long Bien Market

There is a down stair in the middle of the bridge allowing visitors to go to an island in the middle of Red River. This is a lush green landscape adorned with flourishing banana fields and fertile corn alluvial plains.
This picturesque setting has become a favored destination for both young individuals and local families who seek a serene and refreshing picnic spot during weekends.

A stair leading to an island in the middle of Red river

What sets the Long Bien Bridge apart from other bridges in Vietnam is its unique traffic arrangement. Unlike the standard practice of riding on the right-hand side, riders crossing the Long Bien Bridge are required to travel on the left-hand side.

Long Bien bridge and other beauty spots in Hanoi such as: The Old Quarter, Long Bien market, Dong Xuan market or Imperial Citadel of Thang Long will keep you busy with a wonderful day trip.

Do not forget to take your camera for your nice photos from the Long bien bridge


Long Bien bridge is an ideal place for great shots

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