Looking around Hanoi, you never miss Hanoi Old Quarter. You will immediately feel in love with old- style narrow streets with full of the brick houses side by side. Over 1000 year-old temples that brings ancient beauty for Hanoi Old Quarter. Besides, you see the bustling of Old Quarter that adapt with dynamic atmosphere of the modern city with markets, street foods and narrow streets with its specialty.
Hanoi Old Quarter – the beauty of 36 streets
One of the most reasons Hanoi is attractive with many tourists over the years is Hanoi Old Quarter. Talking about history of Hanoi Old Quarter, you will see the historical process of 1000 year-old. From 11th century when King Ly Thai To decided to choose this place to build his palace. That also marked the appearance of 36 streets and guilds. It initially concentrated a group of workshop villages and then gradually turned to special guilds. And then it gained its reputation as the business trading areas with unique products and services soon. Over the year, the reputation of Hanoi Old Quarter is more and more developed that attract more craftsmen surrounding migrated to live and work together in the same guilds.
How to identify name of the streets
An unique of Hanoi Old Quarter is that each street was named after goods conducted there and started by the word “Hang”. For example, Hang Muoi (Salt) Street sold salt, Hang Manh sold bamboo curtain, Hang Quat Street sold silks and feather fans. Hang Ma Street is famous for shiny paper such as gift wrapping, paper objects that burn to the dead people, etc…
Under French colonial, there increasingly became a market place for trade between local, Chinese, French. The busy trade created another characteristic of Hanoi Old Quarter, which is ancient house architecture. The typical brick houses there with only about 3 meter wide and 60 meters long that means those are very short and narrow but have great length. The old Hanoian was very skillful in building their house. They constructed their house based on tubular house with tiled roofs, facades of shops, design rooms, mezzanine, courtyards. Therefore, they meet the diversify needs of lives such as manufacturing, dining and living of each family. Therefore, despite not too big, space for sales, accommodation is still enough.
Hanoi Old Quarter today
With the change of time, most of streets now are selling variety of commodities and services. There are only some streets that still sell its traditional products such as Hang Ma, Hang Tre, Hang Thiec. Although Vietnam War destroyed much architecture in Hanoi, Hanoi Old Quarter still retained some architectural passion. With the eye of tourist, you can see Hanoi Old Quarter looks like huge department store with many commodities and products that you cannot see anywhere. Or you will surprise by next to old French architecture or high-rise commercial building. This is suddenly a pagodas, temples, small tile-roofed house in the deep of a very narrow street. Despite of its change, the beauty, ancient and bustle is still retained and its change do not lose the worth of Hanoi Old Quarter with all people.
A rich food culture
One of the most reasons why most people are very interesting in discovering Hanoi Old Quarter is distinctive food culture. Britain’s Daily Telegraph recognized Hanoi as one of the top 10 cities for street food by in early 2017. For the first time visiting Hanoi, many foreigners will have a bit anxious and be at fault by landed motorbike when walking around small streets with similar house selling the same products. However, when wandering about the streets; you will be engrossed in street food culture atmosphere of traditional dishes such as Bun Cha ( Kebab Rice Noodle), Pho ( Beef Noodle), Banh Cuon ( Rolled Rice)… that you have never seen in any other country. It creates distinctive and impressive feature for Hanoi Old Quarter. Hanoi street food tour or Hanoi Walking Tour is the best choice to experience local food.
Especially, you have chance to see the Hanoi Old Quarter night market held every weekend (from Friday to Sunday). It ranges from Hang Dao street to the edge of Dong Xuan market. You not only see people trading popular items such as clothes, handicrafts, accessories but also enjoy row of foods. If you visit on special occasions such as the Mid-Autumn Festival, you have opportunities to catch traditional Vietnamese music performance or featuring souvenirs.
Besides traditional dishes, a distinctive cultural feature of the Old Quarter is coffee. No matter how you are fastidious about coffee drinking, the quality of the coffee here will satisfy you. Do not forget egg coffee that makes reputation for Old Quarter coffee.
Places you must visit while you are in Hanoi
You can not finish the trip without visiting symbols of Old Town. Just in the heart of Hanoi Old Quarter, you can see many temples and pagodas. They stand over the year and is the witness of history of Hanoi. Just next to busy street of Hang Buom, Ta Hien, a Bach Ma Temple with over 1000 years old. It is the oldest temple in Hanoi. People built this pagoda to honor a white horse that people believe that it helped the King constructing Citadel. And you do not miss the opportunity to venture many religious sites in Hanoi Old Quarter such as Dong Huong Temple, Nam Huong Temple, Phu Ung Pagoda.
Not too far from Hanoi Old Quarter is very famous and iconic place that is Ngoc Son Temple, where dedicated to the Confucian philosopher Tran Hung Dao. You also enjoy the beauty of Hoan Kiem Lake and historical spots Thap But nearby.
Besides, Temple of Literature, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum & Museum, Tran Quoc Pagoda, Hoa Lo Prison is remarkable sightseeing if you go to Hanoi Old Quarter.
Travelers voted Hanoi Old Quarter in the top of 10 destinations for 2017 should travel by its user. Hanoi attracts tourists by charming Old Quarter with ancient and breathtaking pagodas, landmarks and busy streets together with markets, cuisine, and daily local style. Don’t miss the chance to find out beauty of ancient town.