Hanoi’s Old Quarter is the ideal destination for all visitors with the narrow line and bustling streets, becoming an identity for the capital city of Vietnam.
The historical value of Hanoi’s Old Quarter
In the Edict on the transfer of the capital, King Ly Thai To who chose Hanoi as the capital of Vietnam wrote: “This land is broad and flat that there will be a new point as the commercial center of the country”. Although it is no longer “new” as King Ly Thai To had identified, together with Saigon in the South, Hanoi today has turned into one of the largest trade zones with the busy trading activities, providing strong growth and becoming a rich residential city. As one of the oldest areas of Vietnam, Hanoi has been still constantly evolving throughout the last 1,000 years.
In the old town area, there are many historical relics including communal houses, temples, pagodas, and congregations. Each street often has a communal house to worship the forefather. Besides the ancient temples still existing until today like Ma May, Nhan Noi, and Ba Chua temples, in the old quarter area, Quan Chuong gate is intact, playing an important role in the historical value and spiritual life of Hanoi city in particular and Vietnam in general.
Tourist attractions of Hanoi’s Old Quarter
Featured stores and houses
In Hanoi’s Old Quarter, tourists can easily find the goldsmiths and silversmiths of Hanoi’s oldest traces though many craft now disappeared. Today, the traditional ironwork is no more needed so it has been replaced by small shops selling all kinds of colorful papers, bamboo bowls, or pictures of the Vietnam war and lacquer, etc.
Old Quarter – the heart of Hanoi is always bustling, crowded, and full of life with houses interspersed picturesque coffee shops. There are also stores specializing in copying paintings of Picasso or Warhol with mature skills in the town. These stores do not have much space, just as the little old town, creating a narrow specificity that exists only in Hanoi.
Your chance to explore the world behind the shops is very small if you do not “speak”. But the traders with love for assets and their culture will take you to the world that you have never discovered before. Furthermore, It’s hard to describe the changes taking place if we don’t go deeper into the interior of the stores on a bustling street and start exploring. The facade of the shops in Old Quarter is very narrow by sellers taxed according to the width of the shop. A “unique” financial solution is given that it is the narrow horizontal building stretching vertically.
Along with that is the narrow alley leading into residential areas located away from the street with the small walkway that your shoulders can touch the walls on either side. That may be the home of the poor households, almost derelict, but can also be a surprisingly rich house. It all takes visitors to a world of narrow houses, often only a single room, under the laundry place which is a very small common courtyard.
Many families live around the courtyard, in the tiny room, but this place will make everyone amazed by the excessively high real estate prices. Land prices here approximately equal to those in Tokyo or New York, which are considered having the most expensive cost of living in the world.
Why is Hanoi’s Old Quarter so crowded? The answer lies in the inheritance. Over many generations, the property has been handed down. Through each inheriting time, it is split up to more people so parts of each person get increasingly less, but no one wants to give his inheritance to go elsewhere. Therefore, through time to time, the population is increasing and space becomes cramped.
Seductive street food
Coming to Hanoi’s Old Quarter, travelers can spend all day wandering the streets and enjoying the street food from early morning until midnight. Streets of Hang Buom, Ta Hien, Ly Quoc Su, Nha Tho, and Dong Xuan market are the most famous places of Hanoi for those who passionate about the savoring cuisine here. These streets are like a miniature Hanoi which are always busy and crowded. Traveling here, visitors will have the opportunity to be immersed in a gastronomic paradise, from the traditional Vietnamese food to countless characteristic dishes from all over the world.
Especially, it seems that all Hanoi food lovers know about the “beer heaven” in Ta Hien street. This street has long become a fun gathering place for many visitors when visiting Hanoi. At Ta Hien, people cannot find any high-rise or luxury brewery but simply the sidewalk restaurants in which guests just sit along the roadsides, on the plastic chairs and enjoy the cool craft beer with friends.
Hanoi’s Old Quarter brings in itself an ancient, peaceful yet attractive beauty in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the modern capital city. If you like the place, don’t hesitate to like and share this with others. Thank you.