The Old Quarter of Hanoi from above
The Old Quarter of Hanoi from above

The Old Quarter of Hanoi

Hanoi Old Quarter is chaotic, hustling, bustling, full of noise days and nights. Hanoi Old Quarter has an exceptional atmosphere that many would like to hang around the whole day. There are many markets in the Old Quarter such as Dong Xuan, Hang Da, Hang Be...to name a few. Besides, the Old Quarter is the place to try some local culinary specialties such as Bun Cha, Cha Ca, Bun Thang, Mien Luon....

Hanoi Old Quarter
Hanoi Old Quarter

The Old Quarter of Hanoi started shaping up from the 11th century, after King Ly Thai To (Ly Cong Uan) moved the capital city from Hoa Lu (Ninh Binh Province) to Dai La Citadel and renamed it to Thang Long Citadel, meaning the city of Ascending Dragons. The Old Quarter formed to the east of Thang Long Citadel extending to the bank of the Red River, and it was meant to accommodate growing commercial activities of the new capital city.

O Quan Chuong - a gate to the Old Quarter of Hanoi
O Quan Chuong - a gate to the Old Quarter of Hanoi

The Old Quarter of the time included 'Tube' Houses or shop houses which were narrow and dark inside and which had doors open to both streets. The front sections were reserved for shops and the family lived behind or on the first floor. Besides, there were community houses, temples, pagodas...in the area of the Old Quarter. There were also busy markets in the Old Quarter for local residents to buy food and other necessities for their daily life.

the shoes corner of Hanoi Old Quarter
the "Shoes Corner" in Hanoi

 

A quiet street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi in early morning
A quiet street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi in early morning

The residents of the Old Quarter of the time were from different villages in the Red River Delta. They were of different guilds and different handicrafts. They migrated to the Old Quarter of Thang Long Citadel for selling their skills and their products. Many brought along their family with them. In the 15th century, Chinese traders started their business in the Old Quarter and gradually a Chinese Quarter was formed within the Old Quarter. Under the French time in the 19th century, there were also French and Indian traders in the Old Quarter.

the shoes corner of Hanoi Old Quarter
the "Shoes Corner" in Hanoi

 Each street of the Old Quarter at the time would sell only one type of products, hence many streets got its name from the the products for sales on it. Studying the names of the streets in the Old Quarter could make your trip to Hanoi a fun experience. For example: Hang Bong Street (known as the Silk Street now) was for selling cotton things such as cotton blankets, cushions; Hang Ma was for worshiping items like votive money or items for festivals/celebrations; Hang Buom (Sails) was where lots of boats anchored selling bamboo materials...; Hang Bac for silver wares or jeweleries...; Hang Dao for silk and cloths...; Hang Chai was a street for poor people to collect trash; Hang Ga was for chickens and poultry...

Street vendor in the Old Quarter of Ha Noi
Street vendor in the Old Quarter of Ha Noi

Nowadays, many occupations of the Old Quarter in the ancient times have vanished, some still exist as they have been for centuries; but the atmosphere is still just as quaint. Visiting the Old Quarter, you can still feel the ambiance of the old times; you can adore the organized chaos with all kinds of activities, all kinds of smell and all kinds of noise and music. Traffic in the Old Quarter now is like flow of currents that may be the most visible difference compared to the past...

 Streets in the Old Quarter Hanoi Vietnam
Streets in the Old Quarter Hanoi Vietnam

In the Old Quarter of Hanoi, you can see people dine and drink everywhere: in little shops, in tiny restaurants, right on the pavements and right on the streets... Food in the Old Quarter is nothing of luxury, but not short of tastiness and flavors. If you have a strong stomach, dining in the Old Quarter could bring you some culinary delights...

Street dining in Hanoi Vietnam
Street dining in Hanoi Vietnam

 

Street vendor in the Old Quarter Ha Noi Vietnam
Street vendor in the Old Quarter Ha Noi Vietnam

The Old Quarter could be explored on foot, on push-rickshaws and on electric buggies. Paradissa does offer trips of one or two hours around the Old Quarter; though you would need a couple of days to explore it all. Besides, Paradissa hosts Hanoi street food tours for foodies and Hanoi photography tours for shutterbugs, each of the tours is for 3-4 hours. Do not hesitate to contact our team for further details.

Street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi Vietnam
Street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi Vietnam

 

Old house in the Old Quarter of Hanoi
Old house in the Old Quarter of Hanoi

 

A restaurant serving breakfast in Hanoi Old Quarter
A restaurant serving breakfast in Hanoi Old Quarter

 

A tunnel-like alley in Hanoi Old Quarter
A tunnel-like alley in Hanoi Old Quarter