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Glimpses of a Tranquil Hanoi From Inside 21 Days of Hotel Quarantine

I landed at Noi Bai Airport on May 28, 2021.

After my paperwork was checked and my luggage delivered, I was driven to the Hoa Binh Hotel, where I spent three weeks inside room 804.

When I landed, Vietnam was experiencing its fourth wave of COVID-19 resurgence, its strongest yet, with hundreds of positive cases being discovered every day in nearly all provinces, thousands of people being sent to quarantine facilities, and therefore stricter social distancing measures being imposed.

The whole country was on high alert, doing their best to contain this latest outbreak, yet still welcoming foreigners like myself. The conditions were understandably strict, but once in the country, I noticed the kindness and professionalism of the people in charge of welcoming me.

From the moment I stepped out of the airplane to the moment I left the hotel, even if I never saw anyone's face, people were helpful and kind.

I am immensely grateful for this welcome.

Here is a photo essay about my 21 days inside.

Quarantine day one: looking out.

Day one at the Hoa Binh Hotel.

Looking up: late spring, early summer skies in Hanoi.

Dawn delivery: day two, looking at the corner of Ly Thuong Kiet and Ngo Quyen.

The morning routine.

Looking up.

A self-portrait on the balcony.

Dawn again, this time on day four.

The hotel hallway. Day five.

Fried fish curry.

A different type of room service.

Rules and regulations during quarantine; a description of Cloramin B spray, which we are encouraged to use; a thermometer (we have to report body temperature twice a day); and medication declaration forms for the three COVID-19 tests we are to undergo during our stay. We are also given protective outfits in case we need to leave the room in an emergency.

Dinner for one.

The COVID-19 testing room at the hotel.

Morning light on day 17.

Sunrise on the last full day of quarantine.

Day 21. Ready to leave.

Top photo: A party for one.

Darkroom is a Saigoneer series documenting the beauty and stories of Vietnam and beyond via photographs. If you have a compelling story you wish to share, send us an email via

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