Life in Hanoi’s Old Quarter

Life in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam (B)

After a whirlwind 3-day trip in Ho Chi Mihn City (Saigon); we hopped on a plane and head to the north of Vietnam. It takes about two hours to get to Vietnam’s capital city, Hanoi, from Ho Chi Mihn City. If you’re on a packed schedule, consider half a day wasted on airport transfers and flight delays. We had made the Old Quarter our base for the next three days. Our hotel, Hanoi Guest House Royal, was tucked in one of the narrow alleys of the Old Quarter. It was nothing short of an oasis of luxury — in the midst of chaos and derelict buildings.

The streets of the Old Quarter don’t need a tour guide to be explored. Getting lost in the maze of winding alleys is its top draw. And believe me, it doesn’t take a lot to get lost here. Most hotels provide a schematic map and that should be sufficient for basic navigation. Or, follow the crowd of tourists. They don’t disappoint. Don’t depend on street boards to guide you as most signboards aren’t printed in English.

Back in the day, during the reign of King Lý Thai Tổ, the Old Quarter might have represented a seat of economic progress — with each street known for its highly specialised guilds. Some streets date as far back as the 13th Century and come to think of it: have witnessed the fall of Kings, French colonialism, the freedom movement, and even the dreaded Vietnam War. Today, the Old Quarter, minus its old glory or old citadel walls, resembles a slowly decaying piece of history. Each street continues to be lined with shops selling their wares. Travel companies, clothing stores, eateries, local fruit and vegetable stores, and even art shops engulf every viable space in the old buildings. At times, it might be entirely possible to ignore the building above the shop and forget the origin of the oldest part of town. ...... (follow the instructions below for accessing the rest of this article).
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Guide Name: Life in Hanoi’s Old Quarter
Guide Location: Vietnam » Hanoi
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (B))
Author: Cheryl Dsouza
Read it on Author's Website:
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • New Day Restaurant
  • Hoan Kiem Lake
  • Ngoc Son Temple
  • Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre
  • Lý Thai Tổ
  • Trang Tien Plaza
  • Hanoi Opera House
  • Avalon BBQ Garden