Hanoi Old Quarter – a maze of streets dating back to the 13th century

Old quarter is located in the middle of Ha Noi. Ha Noi Old Quarter with its old-styled narrow streets full of antique brick houses seems to be nostalgic against the flow of time of a modern city. In the past of 13th Century, this zone was a busy center for people everywhere to trade their products.

Best places to visit in Vietnam, vietnam best places to visit

Painting of old quarter, one of the best places to visit in Vietnam

Hanoi Old Quarter, one of the best places to visit in Vietnam

You can find it peaceful with no high building, too much traffic noise. Everything seems to be smaller and slower. Old quarter is next to Hoan Kiem lake – heart of Hanoi. Ha Noi Old Quarter consists of many small, meandering streets, each street has a name of the goods that was specifically traded. For example: Hang Bac (Silver Product), Hang Go (Wood Product), Hang Ma (Paper Product)…. All streets in old quarter are small with old houses lying at two sides. The most common characteristics of these old houses are yellow walls covered with moss, red antique roofs. The antique houses are inspiration of many art products. Most of them are tube houses. The houses are long and narrow, and divided into many sections, of which the front side is for trading purpose, and the back section is for private family.

Best places to visit in Vietnam, vietnam best places to visit

Old quarter

This is the best place for merchants and artisans to gather and introduce their products. You can find here many small stores full with traditional products such as embroidered paintings, ceramic and porcelain products, silk and textile products, decoration products…. Many tourism companies and hotels are located here. That’s why it’s very comfortable for foreigners to stay here during the time in Vietnam.


There are some styles of gastronomy here. For example: drinking beer on pavement  (Ta Hien Street), enjoying Trang Tien ice cream on pavement  (Trang  Tien street). You can also find Hanoi’s most famous dishes in old quarter:

  • Fresh rice noodle rolls (pho cuon): Ngu Xa – Truc Bach
  • Beef rice noodle soup: Ly Quoc Su or Bat Dan street
  • Traditional meal or Crispy rice crackers: Ngo Hue
  • ….

Let’s look at translation of some of the streets and the trades that were practiced in the Old Quarter. Some of the streets still trade or produce the same items; others have traded more modern goods:

Hang Bac: silver

Hang Be: rattan rafts

Hang Bo: baskets

Hang Bong: cotton

Hang Buom: sails

Hang Ca: fish

Hang Can: scales

Hang Cot: bamboo mats

Hang Da: leather

Hang Dao: silk

Hang Dau: beans

Hang Dieu: bongs and pipes

Hang Dong: brass

Hang Duong: sugar

Hang Ga: chicken

Hang Gai: hemp and rope

Hang Giay: paper

Hang Hom: coffins

Hang Khoai: sweet potatoes

Hang Luoc: combs

Hang Ma: paper replicas/toys

Hang Mam: fish sauce

Hang Manh: bamboo shades

Hang Muoi: salt

Hang Non: conical hats

Hang Quat: fans

Hang Than: charcoal

Hang Thiec: tin

Hang Thung: barrels


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