Trompe-l'œil Murals of Hanoi – Hanoi, Vietnam - Atlas Obscura

Hanoi, Vietnam

Trompe-l'œil Murals of Hanoi

Life-sized painted illusions let pedestrians blend in with the street art.  

Still largely undiscovered by western tourists, this joint street art project between Vietnam and Korea covers the blank walls between stone railway arches with whimsical murals. Many of them are trompe-l’œil optical illusions, which blur the lines between the painting and reality.

The murals show charming scenes from Hanoi that befuddle the senses and make it difficult to tell where the artwork ends and the actual city begins. Pedestrians delight in photographing each other blending into these trompe-l’œil mural illusions while the train that heads down Hanoi’s “train street” rumbles above.

Couples, families, groups, and even pro photographers and models alike partake in the fun. Some pretend to enter a painted door, while others fake plucking fruit from a flat fruit seller’s hanging basket or stage being hit by a realistically painted street car. One mural even has patterned aprons hanging nearby, which anyone can wear to disappear into the artwork.

The murals begin at 27 Phùng Hưng, Hàng Mã, Hoàn Kiếm and extend northward along the road until its intersection with Hàng Cót.

Know Before You Go

Check out the tea shop across the street, where you can sit at a window on the second floor and watch those enjoying the art illusions.