Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, is a diverse and bustling city with much to offer to eager tourists and settled locals alike. Walk north from Hoan Kiem Lake, across Cau Go, and suddenly you’re in the tumultuous streets of the Old Quarter, a congested square kilometre that was closed behind massive ramparts and heavy wooden gates until well into the nineteenth century. As one of the city’s hot-spots, Hanoi’s Old Quarter is considered the main business hub as well as the best tourist spot in the city. This charming part of the city offers an impressive insight into the complex and long history of Hanoi, whilst alongside rife modernisation.
Hanoi Old Quarter Street Names
The Old Quarter’s street names date back five centuries to when the area was divided among 36 artisans’ guilds, each gathered around a temple or a dinh (communal house) dedicated to the guild’s patron spirit. Even today many streets specialise to some degree, and a few are still dedicated to the original craft or its modern equivalent. The most colourful examples are Hang Quat, full of bright-red banners and lacquerware for funerals and festivals, and Hang Ma, where paper products have been made for at least five hundred years.
Night Market Hanoi Old Quarter
From around 7pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Hang Dao and its northerly continuation as far as Dong Xuan Market is closed to traffic, and vendors set up stalls selling all kinds of trinkets at the Weekend Night Market. Though it’s a fun place to experience modern Hanoi, there’s not much on sale that would interest Western visitors – most shoppers are Vietnamese youngsters snapping up fashion accessories like mobile phone covers.
(Source: Rough Guides)