Hanoi Old Quarter has long been seen as the soul and heart of the capital city. As time passes, locals embrace proudly the traditional lifestyle and quaint guild streets manage to keep their original state. In the middle of a busy and modern city, there lies an incredibly slow-paced and ancient corner that is imbued with national identity.
Narrow streets dotted with old houses, specialized shops, and historical relics will arm visitors with authentic senses of Hanoi.
A glory past hidden in the Old Quarter
Situated between the Returned Sword Lake and the Long Bien Bridge, the Old Quarter consists of 36 busy guild streets which were developed about 2000 years old on the east side of the ancient citadel of Thang Long. Each street was for a specialized business such as bronze casting, forging, silk making or wood carving.
A corner of Old Quarter in the past (Source: Internet)
At the beginning, just a few specialized streets were established. Gradually, the increasing number of skilled craftsmen boosted the expansion of the quarter, up to 36 iconic guilds as we know today. The name of old streets is associated with original goods or craft. Along with the establishment of craft streets, unique styled houses and a warren of pagodas and temples also sprung up. Wandering around present-day Hanoi, you might find out that many guild streets are no longer dedicated to its name but many still follow their conventional careers. A glimpse through Hanoi Old Quarter is not all about ancient streets but also about the legendary lifestyle of Trang An people. It is just like you are traveling back in time! Locals feel so attached to their land that they strive to promote traditional crafts and never give it a thought of leaving.
Wandering around on foot
Overflowing with historical and traditional values, Ha Noi Old Quarter is an indispensable part of excellent Hanoi day trips. And walking around with a map is no wonder, a cool way to get insights of the country’s vibrant history. Making your way through narrow streets full of sidewalk shops and eateries, you’ll be able to touch the revered soul of Hanoi. Each street, each old-style house, and each building are marked with priceless values that make your trip very worthy. A myriad of things to do and sees will render you restless. If you’re hunting for best photos, set out early. Dreamlike moments of the cityscapes lurking under the morning sun are perfect for selfies. The itinerary depends on visitors’ interests, either discovers on your own or with local guides offered by high-profile Hanoi tour operators. Of course, one can’t visit all sights of the Old Quarter so shortlist streets of your tastes.
French Quarter in Hanoi (Source: Internet)
It isn’t a bad idea to kick off your journey with French Quarter, south of Hoan Kiem Lake. As in its name, the French Quarter is home to a warren of French-styled buildings and ancient pagodas and houses characterized by a marriage of Asian and French architecture. Then, head your way to Hang Gai street where a giant banyan tree and silk clothing shops will pay you a big smile, Lan Ong street where a variety of herbs and medicines is displayed, Ma May street which opens to the world of internet cafes and tourists restaurants or Hang Ma where you are exposed to shiny paper products, gift wrappings, and wedding decors.
Ancient banyan tree in Hang Gai Street (Source: Internet)
Each guild takes you to a different level of the aha moment. Your mind will be boggled to eye how colorful and dynamic the streets are. Every attribute of authentic Vietnam is found there.
A glimpse of Dong Xuan market
Dong Xuan Market (Source: Internet)
Many foreign tourists are familiar with Dong Xuan market which is the iconic market of Hanoi. Established in the early 20th century, the market is the answer to any stuff you might think of, say, from herbs and vegetable, fresh food, fresh produce to household appliances. It’s a perfect venue for Vietnamese cuisine lovers and a not-to-miss destination in Hanoi private tours. Your taste buds will be rousing! Ease you dummy with a sizzling dish of Cha Ca Hanoi, or an aromatic bowl of Xoi Xeo then quench your thirst with Bia Hoi (draught beer), what more could you want?
What to do for Hanoi day trips? If you don’t have any clue for things to do in Hanoi, then give the Old Quarter tour a try. Packed with historical buildings, traditional crafts and national relics, shady boulevards in the Old Quarter will cast your mind back to the past, the true sense of Trang An people. All you need is a map, travel with hanoitravelreviews and then enjoy your trip!