Flower vendors in Hanoi, Vietnam, known for their bicycles loaded with colorful blossoms, are diversifying their business by offering tourists the option to rent their bouquets for social media-worthy photos. Phan Dinh Phung street in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, adorned with French-style buildings, has become a popular destination for tourists, many of whom are drawn to the area for its aesthetic appeal. These visitors, including a 26-year-old woman from another region, can be seen holding vibrant bouquets of red roses, sunflowers, and lotuses as they capture photos with their friends.
Traditionally, these flower vendors used to transport flowers from rural areas on their bicycles and sell them to local residents for religious or decorative purposes. However, in recent years, they’ve become a hit with young people and tourists, particularly those from abroad, who want to capture visually stunning photos for their social media profiles. Some even dress in traditional ao dai outfits and hire photographers to ensure the perfect shot. The vendors have adapted their offerings accordingly, selling bouquets instead of individual flowers and occasionally enhancing the petals’ colors. Consequently, these traditional flower vendors have transitioned into being a popular tourist attraction.
The cost of a bouquet from these vendors typically ranges from 80,000 to 150,000 dong ($3.25 to $6), which might seem pricey for a single social media post. To address this, vendors have introduced a rental service, allowing customers to lease a bouquet for a lower fee, take their photos, and then return the flowers. This rental model has led to a two- to threefold increase in sales, according to a 58-year-old vendor who has seen her income rise significantly since launching this service.
While Hanoi has experienced remarkable economic growth and rapid urban development, the flower vendors on bicycles evoke nostalgia for the city’s past. Nevertheless, these vendors have shown a keen understanding of the evolving preferences of modern tourists, adapting their business model to meet the demand for beautiful and shareable moments in the age of social media.