There are plenty of places to go in Vietnam, yet a must do is the Hanoi Old Quarter.
Hanoi is Vietnam’s capital and has so much to see… combining the rich history and constant construction in modernizing this city.
In peak times… be prepared to walk single file down some of the popular streets in the Old Town. That’s because there can be little space for both pedestrians and vehicles to share!
Thankfully at certain times, some of these streets become walking streets only… So vehicles are banned from going through.
So in this travel blog post, I’ll run through 5 things to do in the Hanoi Old Quarter.
1. Take A Stroll Around Hoan Kiem Lake
It was surprising to see so many beautiful tree lined streets in Hanoi. So when we went on a self-guided walking tour in the Old Quarter we saw Hoan Kiem Lake…
It was pretty with lots of lush green trees lining the outside of the Lake. There are lots of cafes and coffee shops around too if you wanted to take in the tranquil views.
Plus, like several of the lakes we’ve seen, you can hire a swan paddle boat to roam around. To hire one, it costs about 80,000 VND (about USD $3.45) for an hour. And they’re not only in Vietnam, we saw them in Thailand too!
2. Visit The Ngoc Son Temple
Buddhism in Vietnam is prevalent, which is why you’ll see many temples around the country. So while you’re at Hoan Kiem Lake in the Old Quarter section, take a stroll to visit the Ngoc Son Temple.
The temple built in the 19th century has been restored over time… to the beautiful structure you can see today.
It does cost about 30,000 VND (about USD $1.30) if you want to go in. But if you don’t want to pay the fee, I think the pretty red Rising Sun bridge, to get to the temple is worthy to see… even from a distance.
3. Witness The Last Standing Hanoi Old Quarter Gate
The Quan Chuong Gate is the last surviving gate of the Thang Long citadel, built in the 1700’s. This Gate is an historic site… and a symbol of the resilience of the Vietnamese as they were repeatedly attacked.
So today, you can see the Vietnamese traveling through the Quan Chuong Gate in their vehicles and by foot… going about their daily business.
And while it may not look as majestic as some of the gates in Hue, for example… Knowing that you’ve been a part of important history should make you proud. Because who knows how long this Gate will be up standing for.
4. Get Amongst The Hustle And Bustle At Dong Xuan Market
If you’re up for some shopping in Hanoi’s biggest market, then head on over to Dong Xuan Market.
Now, while there are many vendors who sell in wholesale quantities… there are others who will sell you their wares.
And most of the time if you don’t want the feeling of being ripped off, you will have to bargain.
You can pretty much find everything here from clothes, food, household goods, electronic goods through to souvenirs.
5. Have A Bia Hoi In The Beer Street
After seeing some of the sights in the Hanoi Old Quarter, what better way to wind down and relax with a drink. And while you’re in the Old Town, you may as well try the local bia hoi.
Bia Hoi is a homemade beer… with a medium to low alcohol percentage in comparison to your mainstream beers. They brew it and put it in steel or metal barrels ready for consumption.
Yet, it’ll be pot luck if the beer is cold or not! So find yourself a bia hoi place and plant your butt on one of the tiny plastic stools and watch the world go by.
You can find many of them in the beer street of Hanoi Old Quarter, called Ta Hien. Plus, we also found several others dotted around the Old Town area.
So that was a taste of 5 Things To Do In The Hanoi Old Quarter.
One of the great things is, if you don’t have a fixed itinerary and have time, go wander and explore… Who knows what experiences you’ll come across. And that’s all part of the fun in traveling, right?
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