Vietnam TravelA Guide to Hanoi’s Old Quarter

Kaylin3 months ago11
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Hanoi is a city of contrast, where the old and the new sit side by side. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Old Quarter, where ancient temples rub shoulders with modern high-rises, and street stalls jostle for space with luxury boutiques. If you’re planning a trip to Hanoi, here’s everything you need to know about the city’s most historic neighborhood.

hanoi old quarter street life

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photo: Florian Wehde

A Brief History of the Old Quarter

The Old Quarter dates back to 1010, when Emperor Ly Thai To moved the capital of Vietnam from Hoa Lu to present-day Hanoi. The area was divided into 36 streets, each named after the guilds that occupied them—for example, Silk Street (Hang Gai) or Tin Street (Hang Bac). These days, many of the street names have changed, but the area still retains its traditional feel.

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Exploring the Old Quarter

explore hanoi old quarter

photo: Manh Nghiem

The best way to explore Hanoi’s Old Quarter is on foot. Walking through the narrow alleyways is the best way to soak in the unique atmosphere of the district. There are many small businesses located in the Old Quarter, so it is also a great place to do some shopping. You can find everything from traditional Vietnamese handicrafts to modern fashion items. bargaining is expected and part of the fun!

If you want to learn more about the history and culture of Hanoi, there are several museums located in the Old Quarter. The Vietnam Fine Arts Museum and the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology are both excellent choices. Both museums offer a wide range of exhibitions that are sure to appeal to visitors of all ages.

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What to See and Do in the Old Quarter

There’s plenty to keep you occupied in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Start by ticking off some of the neighborhood’s most famous landmarks, like Hoan Kiem Lake, Dong Xuan market, and St. Joseph Cathedral. When you’ve worked up an appetite, head to one of the many street food stalls for a bowl of Pho or Bun Cha—two of Hanoi’s most iconic dishes. And be sure to leave some time for shopping; whether you’re looking for souvenirs or simply want to take advantage of the cheaper prices than in other parts of Vietnam, you’ll find what you’re looking for in the Old Quarter.

Eating and Drinking in the Old Quarter

hanoi fruit ladies

photo: David Emrich

Hanoi’s Old Quarter is home to many of Hanoi’s best restaurants and bars. If you are looking for a traditional Vietnamese meal, there are plenty of options to choose from. For something a little different, there are also many international restaurants located in the district. When it comes to drinking, there are plenty of bars serving up refreshing cocktails and local beers. If you want to experience a traditional Vietnamese coffee shop, there are many cafes located throughout the Old Quarter.

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No trip to Hanoi is complete without spending some time in the Old Quarter. This historic neighborhood is crammed full of temples and markets, street food stalls and luxury boutiques. Whether you’re looking to tick off some famous landmarks or simply soak up the atmosphere, the Old Quarter is well worth a visit.

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BambooArt
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BambooArt

Immerse yourself in the vibrant nightlife of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, where you can find an array of bars, clubs, and live music venues. The buzzing energy and lively atmosphere will leave you feeling invigorated and ready to dance the night away. Don’t forget to take a cyclo ride around the Old Quarter, a traditional bicycle taxi that allows you to soak in the sights and sounds of this bustling neighborhood in a unique and enjoyable way.

Larsay
Member

The Old Quarter is unique (nd old, it started developing by Chinese merchants and craftsmen in the XIth Century. At that time, it was a maze of small streets and numerous canals, all covered today. The most amazing is that each street had a specialty : baskets, hats, shoes, etc. and that, today, those streets still have the same specialties, with the exception of some modern products such as scooter seats and electronics.
As a matter of fact, Old Hanoi is the reason why, after 35 years of concrete in New York and 7 in Bangkok, I have decided in 2007 to move here. 

AlwaysByYourSide02
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AlwaysByYourSide02

Hanoi’s Old Quarter is a captivating district where the past and present seamlessly blend together. Its narrow alleyways, lively markets, and picturesque architecture create an enchanting atmosphere that immerses visitors in a rich cultural experience. It’s a must-visit destination for anyone looking to explore the heart and soul of Hanoi.

anon23
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anon23

Long Water Puppet Theatre, which showcase the rich and fascinating history of Vietnam’s capital city.

AngelZhao
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AngelZhao

@anon23 The Old Quarter of Hanoi is a vibrant and bustling place that is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the true essence of Vietnamese culture, and I highly recommend trying the street food!

CoffeeLover88
Member

Exploring Hanoi’s Old Quarter is like wandering through a maze of history and culture, with surprises and delights around every corner. One time, I stumbled upon a hidden alleyway filled with street art and live music, and it ended up being the highlight of my trip!

DalatDreamer
Member

Oh, thank you for enlightening me about the Old Quarter of Hanoi. I had no idea that it was a vibrant and historic area with numerous shops, restaurants, and cultural landmarks. And here I thought it was just another boring neighborhood with nothing to offer.

ThreadTactician
Member

Having visited Hanoi’s Old Quarter myself, I can attest to its charm and character. The mix of ancient architecture and modern life creates a vibrant atmosphere that is hard to find elsewhere. I highly recommend taking a walk through the area and trying some of the delicious street food. What are some of your favorite places to visit in Hanoi’s Old Quarter?

BenjaminNgo
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BenjaminNgo

@ThreadTactician The Old Quarter of Hanoi is a treasure trove of cultural and historical significance. The bustling streets and alleys are a testament to the city’s rich heritage and offer a glimpse into the daily lives of its inhabitants. I particularly enjoyed exploring the various markets and shops, where one can find unique souvenirs and traditional handicrafts.

stevienguyen
Guest
stevienguyen

The Old Quarter in Hanoi is like a maze of culture and history, filled with hidden treasures waiting to be discovered. Just make sure to bring a map and some comfortable shoes, because those narrow streets will have you feeling like you’re in a real-life game of Pac-Man.

WeekendWarriors
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