Lideco Bắc 32, Hanoi’s Abandoned Parisian Suburb

One of Lideco’s inner street, lined with abandoned houses

photography by: Omri Westmark

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Opened to a fanfare of public brouhaha and mass purchase of homes, a Frech-style suburb in the western outskirts of Hanoi is nearly four fifths empty for a decade now. Awash with hundreds of unfinished buildings, Lideco Bắc 32 offers far more questions than answers, and yet, its breathtaking dilapidation is the wet dream of any urban explorer.

With an ever-growing economy, Vietnam is set to become an addition to Asia’s four tigers in the not-so-far future. As more and more people can afford high standards of living, verdant suburbs have recently mushroomed throughout the country, and yet, nowhere this phenomenon is more apparent than in the capital.


Tucked away roughly 15 kilometers west of downtown Hanoi, Lideco Bắc 32 is a suburban neighborhood, originally designated as a nook for the city’s well-heeled. Planned with an artificial lake, expansive lawns, multiple cafés and perhaps most strikingly, French-style architecture, it was supposed to be the most upscale district across the Vietnamese capital.


Despite its promising start, though, this gated community never lived up to its pomposity. Following five years of intense construction works (from 2008 to 2013), only a fraction of Lideco’s 648 garden villas and 136 townhouses were fully completed. Instead, hundreds of identical, Parisian-looking houses were left unfinished or uninhabited, imbuing the place with a post-apocalyptic scenery.


Whoever walks along the eerily empty streets of Lideco might wonder for a moment or two whether it is the City of Lights, but then a closer look will reveal that many of these lavish villas are actually abandoned for quite some time. Other parts of the suburb are dotted with dozens of unfinished buildings, wide open for anyone to explore the derelict interior.

In the middle of this surreal place lies a large manmade lake, which is in turn surrounded by an esplanade with several balconies. Each viewing platform is adorned with a medley of classical sculptures, yet another futile attempt to resonate with the district’s European source of inspiration.


There are many theories as to why Lideco Bắc 32 ended up depopulated, with the leading explanation being the delayed handover of apartments by the company that built the project, Tu Liem Urban Development. The developers were then asked to pay a hefty compensation for the deferments, something that only further exacerbated the problem.


Others also point to the refusal of homebuyers to move in. As the story goes, many of whom were disappointed of the neighborhood’s lack of infrastructure, faraway location as well as the buildings’ uniform architectural style.


Whatever the reason for the district’s semi-abandonment, one thing is clear, Lideco offers visitors a glut of mind-bending sights to awe at, akin to the scene of a horror film where humanity is vanished. As of 2023, there are no restrictions to enter the suburban enclave, which can be easily accessed via the main gate along Đ. Vạn Xuân Street.