So everybody that knows I moved to Vietnam keeps asking me how things are working out for me. The truth is that until I find somewhat of a routine it makes me feel disconnected, an outsider – like a tourist. Finding an Airbnb and having my space certainly helped but finding a gym was the second vital step to make me grounded.
I was running around Hoan Kiem Lake but apparently running on the streets is not something common here, so I got tired of people not getting out of the way or even taking too many photos of me – as if I was the tourist attraction. Turns out the pollution in the air should also be a concern so I decided to sign up for a gym.
I believe I tried every single work out place in town, so here is my overview on gyms in Hanoi:
California Fitness in Hoan Kien was quite an experience! The facility itself was amazing (in a cheesy way, see photo) and the receptionists spoke English. Interestingly, the bathroom looked like a club in Vegas and there was this rest zone where people nap in between classes. But it was too crowded, the classes filled up too fast (you had to arrive 20 minutes to get a spot in spinning or yoga) and there the bathroom had lines to shower – and Asians trying to cut the lines!
The Fitness Village will always hold a special place in my heart because it is just too beautiful, but to go there everyday was just not convenient due to its location. It is a great place for yoga, but in terms of machines (cardio and lift) it was not the best.
Fusion Body Works was a joke! Their rep was trying to sell me a long term contract, even thou I said multiple times that I was in town just for 2 months. When they finally gave me the month to month prices it was way more expensive than California Fitness, and they offer nothing all that special. I get their focus must be locals, but I wouldn’t recommend this gym for anyone.
Then I tried another local gym. Olympia Fitness Center was a bit too rough, because there was no ac and no classes, just plain weights. What is great about it is that you can just pay for the day. No one spoke English but they wrote on the paper the daily rate and I was ready to go. Oh they also have a lap pool.
A lot of people recommended Zenith Yoga but I thought the prices were too expensive for just yoga (and for that I had Fitness Village) so I honestly never gave them a try, but I heard good things about it.
Then finally I found one I love: Elite Fitness. I first tried the one by Xuan Dien which has a pool but was far from my place. There was sauna but vietnamese old ladies do strange things in sauna – such as scrubbing each other and joining you inside of the shower! So I registered on the Hoan Kiem location and I loved it! The receptionist spoke English, there was spinning, yoga, a lot of cardio and weight machines. And even better, it was a brand new location so it was always empty which is something precious in the middle of chaotic Hanoi!