Monday, May 30, 2011

My adventure to Hanoi ( Part 9 ) Walking around the Old Quarter

( Welcome to Hanoi ! )

Today, we  decided to walk around the Old Quarter of Hanoi... Hectic, noisy, chaotic are the adjectives that would describe the Old Quarter. A visit to the Old Quarter in Hanoi should rank as a MUST DO when you are in Vietnam... It is a unique experience and deserves a spot in your itinerary. According to our guide, the Old Quarter in Hanoi is over a thousand years old and even up to today it retains much of the old flavor that made the area special.

Each street was exclusive of one trade ---- so there were whole streets selling silver ware, lacquerware, handbags, clothing for both men and women, eyeglasses, paper shops and galleries. Originally -- the Old Quarter consisted of 30 streets but today there were more than 50 streets. Although the streets are short, I would recommend first time visitors allow at least 4 to 5 hours to go around.... 

Just wandering the streets and marveling at the activity taking place on the pavements is a joy. A good place to start your walking tour to the Old Quarter is at the end of Hoan Kiem lake. Bring a map with you because you can easily get disoriented in this area.

I decided to go to the galleries

and some small boutiques to see what they had.

I took some photos of the architecture of some buildings. 

Crossing the street in the Old Quarter is an art form. Move slowly forward and keeping your eyes on the kamikaze motorbikes coming towards you. NEVER step back!!

There is no road " less travelled " in this part of town. They are loaded with scooters, motorbikes, cars and people so my advice is to watch your step all the time but be assertive when crossing the road.

The sidewalks can be just as chaotic as the middle of the street. Locals stake out their spots with small plastic stools and the wares of whatever trade they are plying. Small dogs running around. People bargaining and negotiating for goods and food.

The ambience in the Old Quarter is definitely deserves to be the number one activity on any travel in your Vietnam itinerary.



  1. Great post time I must go to Hanoi, I only went to Saigon 2 years ago..
    Do you have pics of Halong Bay and the cruises?


  2. Halong Bay was on my list ... but the day we went to Halong Bay... we were not allowed to board the cruise ( 2 days/1 night ) -- the weather was not good for sailing... i have photos but I am waiting for another opportunity before the year ends to go back to Halong Bay...

    It is better to book your Halong Bay cruise on the internet than getting it when you get to Hanoi...