Exploring the Old Quarter of Hanoi is one of those experiences that will keep you captivated for days. You will very quickly get used to the crazy traffic and just nonchalantly walk across roads without noticing the hurtling motorbikes careening at you. Don’t worry, the motorbike riders in Hanoi know what they are doing and will miss you … the cars are the ones you need to be more aware of.
- 1 The Appeal of the Old Quarter in Hanoi
- 2 Where to Stay in Hanoi
- 3 About Hanoi
- 4 About The Old Quarter of Hanoi
- 5 The Streets of The Old Quarter of Hanoi
- 6 Did You know that it is illegal to eat in the streets of Hanoi?
- 7 Hoan Kiem District
- 8 Exploring the streets of The Old Quarter of Hanoi
- 9 See many of Hanoi’s significant buildings
- 10 Where to Stay in Hanoi?
The Appeal of the Old Quarter in Hanoi
It is all about watching the people go about their daily lives; it is about Vietnamese BBQ and hotpot, Vietnamese egg coffee (true), it is about the bia hoi corners, it is about corn ga, cao lau, and Hoa Beo – where you will get the best dessert yoghurt at 17 To Tich St, FYI. Ok, Vietnam is a lot about food as well as history and culture. It is just an amazing city, and one you will return to again and again. For lots of great tips for Hanoi Budget travel, read this.
Where to Stay in Hanoi
Hanoi has many accomodation options to suit all budgets. Click here for the latest prices.
Hanoi is in the north of Vietnam and is the capital city of Vietnam. The influence of both the French and the Chinese is very evident. It is a very pleasant and intriguing city. It is also a very clean city where the people very quickly clean up any mess. With a population of 7.588 million and over 4 million ‘legally registered’ motorbikes, you can see that this is the most popular form of transport.
About The Old Quarter of Hanoi
The Old Quarter of Hanoi is a labyrinth and maze of streets that make sense when you get used to them.
The Old Quarter is Hanoi’s oldest and major commercial district. The irregular street are named after the good and services sold in the street, and these date back about 1,000 years.
The Streets of The Old Quarter of Hanoi
The Old Quarter of Hanoi is charming and is full of colonial architecture, Buddhist temples. The Vietnamese people are predominantly Buddhist, and there are also many pagodas paying homage to the Chinese influence on the city.
Did You know that it is illegal to eat in the streets of Hanoi?
Crazy as it sounds, because eating food is a way of life in Vietnam and Hanoi, it is actually illegal to eat on the streets. We were there when the police did a crack down, and everyone had to run inside. The next day they had painted white lines down the street.This is happening across the country, and we were told about this in Ho Chi Minh City.
How long will it last? Who knows. This is a way of life for the local people, and why we tourists love the city and the country so much.
Hoan Kiem District
The Old Quarter is situated near Hoan Kiem Lake in Hoan Kiem District, and each morning you will see people doing a lap of this beautiful lake in their exercise gear. Some will be jogging, and many will choose this backdrop to do their tai chi. During the day it is a pleasant place to relax and buy some fresh pineapple from one of the street hawkers. At night the red bridge glows ..red. You should visit to the Ngoc Son pagoda on the lake, by crossing the red bridge known as the Bridge of the Rising Sun.
Exploring the streets of The Old Quarter of Hanoi
A fun way to experience Hanoi is to just explore the streets of The Old Quarter of Hanoi and to guess their function. It is not rocket science. There are said to be 36 Streets in the Old Quarter, but add in some thriving laneways and alleys, and there are a lot more. Hang Bac Street for example, specialises in silver, with bac meaning silver. We are unsure what the word for cheap crap is, but there is a street for that as well.
Luong Ngoc Quyen Street has many local food stalls including an amazing sticky rice ball cooked in front of you. Hang Giay Street sells the Vietnamese specialty “Thit Bo Kho” (Dried spiced beef) and pottery products. Hang Buom Street sells wines and alcohol, albeit mostly local Vietnamese wine, which is just not good. Stick to the beers at the local bia hoi corners, and part with 20 cents for the pleasure.
The Dong Xuan Market are the massive dry goods markets, and while worth a look it is better exploring the streets on your own. Hang Duong Street is the homeland of dried sweetened fruits or vegetables. Bat Su sell china bowls, and Hang Dau has so many shoes and that you may need extra baggage. Cha Ca street is famous for its roasted fish, and Hang Gai is known for selling Vietnamese silk. Be careful as they see tourists coming and the prices increase.
Phung Hung Street runs along the wall of the city’s old citadel, at the western edge of the Old Quarter, Phung Hung Street is notable for the publication offices of an influential Communist paper at no. 105 Phung Hung.
Lan Ong Street is, in essence, the Old Quarters Chinatown. If you follow Hang Chieu across the northern end of the Old Quarter, you will come to Quan Chuong Gate, the only remaining gate of the city’s previous fortifications
Get a bit of a culture hit by seeing the White Horse Temple at 76 Hang Buom St., the Bach Ma Temple. The inside of the temple has a large courtyard, large red pillars and a Buddhist statuary and altars.
Ma May Street is a bit like the backpacker district of any city, and fun to visit. Just off this street you will find Beer Street, and it is a great place to watch people. There is a famous landmark on Ma May Street – no. 87 Ma May is a renovated house that gives you a glimpse into the merchants lives many years ago. There is another one to be found at 38 Hang Dao Street.
See many of Hanoi’s significant buildings
Look for the Hanoi Opera House (technically in the French Quarter of Hanoi) , the National Museum of Vietnamese History, Ba Dinh Square, a former Governor-General of French Indochina’s mansion, the One Pillar Pagoda, Bach Ma Temple, and Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre.
Make sure you take the time to stop and sample the food in Hanoi, and definitely head to Giang Café, which sells the original Egg Coffee, a unique experience to say the least. Egg coffee is the latest trend in this amazing city and can be found at 39 Nguyễn Hữu Huân.
Where to Stay in Hanoi?
We recommend staying in the Old Quarter. It is lively and central to everything.
The best part of Exploring the Old Quarter of Hanoi, Vietnam is that you really don’t need a map. Yes, you will get lost, but it will be the best fun as you watch people at work and play in this amazing city.