Where is the Hanoi Old Quarter?

The Hanoi Old Quarter is situated in the heart of the city center and covers about 100 hectares. It's surrounded by Hoan Kiem Lake in the south, Dong Xuan Market in the west, Long Bien Bridge in the east, and the remnants of Hanoi Citadel in the north. This area is famous for its lively markets, narrow streets, and historic buildings that represent the rich cultural heritage of Hanoi.

Hanoi Old Quarter - hanoi old bridge

Long Bien bridge is the oldest birdge of Hanoi

What is so special about Hanoi Old Quarter?

The Hanoi Old Quarter is a remarkable and exceptional district that enthralls tourists with its fascinating past, lively traditions, and one-of-a-kind allure. Let's take a look at some of its standout features that make it truly distinctive:

  • Historical Heritage

Hoa Loa Prison Museum Hanoi

Hoa Loa Prison Museum, Hanoi 

  • Architectural Marvels

  • Bustling Markets

  • Street Food Paradise

  • Traditional Craft Villages

  • Water Puppetry

  • Cultural Festivals

  • Coffee Culture

Best time to visit Hanoi Old Quarter

To enjoy the Hanoi Old Quarter, come in spring (March to April) or autumn (September to November). Summers (May to August) can be hot and humid with occasional heavy rainfall, and winters (December to February) can be chilly with occasional fog. Consider cultural events like the Mid-Autumn Festival and Lunar New Year for a vibrant experience. Note that weather conditions may affect outdoor activities during summers and winters.

Hanoi Old Quarter - autumn in hanoi

The autumn - a nice season now in Hanoi

Additionally, it's worth considering the cultural events and festivals when planning your visit. Hanoi celebrates various festivals throughout the year, including the Mid-Autumn Festival (September) and the Lunar New Year (January or February). These festive occasions bring vibrant displays, cultural performances, and a lively atmosphere to the Old Quarter.

Must-Visit Places in Hanoi Old Quarter

  1. Hoan Kiem Lake: Located near the Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake is a picturesque centerpiece of Hanoi. It offers a serene escape from the bustling streets and is surrounded by beautiful pagodas and historic landmarks. Make sure you don't overlook the famous Huc Bridge, painted in red, and the Ngoc Son Temple that's located on an islet in the lake.

Hanoi Old Quarter - hoan kiem lake

Hoan Kiem Lake

  • Dong Xuan Market: If you're a shopping enthusiast in Hanoi, you must visit Dong Xuan Market. It's one of the largest covered markets in the city and offers a diverse range of products, including clothing, accessories, household items, and local street food. The lively atmosphere of the market is an exciting experience for visitors.

Dong Xuan Market

  • Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre: It is renowned for its traditional Vietnamese water puppetry performances, which have been entertaining audiences for centuries. Enjoy an enchanting performance that showcases traditional tales and legends accompanied by live music.

  • St. Joseph's Cathedral: Standing as a striking Gothic-style structure, St. Joseph's Cathedral is an architectural gem in the Old Quarter. This Roman Catholic cathedral, built in the late 19th century, showcases intricate stained glass windows, tall spires, and a serene interior. It's an important religious site and a symbol of Hanoi.

Hanoi Old Quarter - hanoi church

St. Joseph's Cathedral church in Hanoi capital, Vietnam

  • Ta Hien Street: Dive into Hanoi's lively nightlife at Ta Hien Street, also known as "Beer Street." This bustling hub is famous for its outdoor beer stalls and vibrant atmosphere, where locals and tourists gather to enjoy a cold drink and soak in the energetic ambiance.

Local food recommendations

Hanoi Old Quarter is a culinary paradise, offering many mouth-watering dishes. Indulge in local favorites such as:

  • Pho: A quintessential Vietnamese dish, pho is a flavorful noodle soup typically made with beef or chicken, fresh herbs, and rice noodles with 2 -4 USD per unit. It's a popular breakfast option and can be found in many local eateries throughout the Old Quarter. 

pho in Hanoi Old Quarter

Pho Thin is one of the most famous brand Pho in Hanoi

  • Bun Cha: This Hanoi specialty consists of grilled pork with rice noodles, herbs, and a dipping sauce. It's a delightful combination of smoky grilled meat, refreshing herbs, and the tangy-sweet flavors of the dipping sauce. And it costs 2-4 USD per unit

  • Banh Mi: A Vietnamese sandwich that has gained popularity worldwide, banh mi is a crusty baguette filled with a variety of ingredients such as grilled meats, pâté, pickled vegetables, and fresh herbs. There are many street food stalls in the Old Quarter where you can savor this delicious and portable snack. It just 2 USD per unit

banh mi in Hanoi Old Quarter

Banh Mi Ha Noi

  • Cha Ca: Cha Ca is a famous Vietnamese dish originating from Hanoi. It features grilled or fried fish (usually catfish or snakehead fish) marinated in turmeric, served with rice noodles, peanuts, fresh herbs, and a tangy dipping sauce with about 10 USD.

  • Egg Coffee: A unique Hanoi specialty, egg coffee (ca phe trung) is a decadent and creamy drink. It's made by whisking egg yolks with condensed milk and coffee, resulting in a rich and velvety texture by 2 USD per cup. The Old Quarter has several cafes where you can enjoy this indulgent treat.

Hanoi Old Quarter egg coffee

Egg Coffee in Cafe Giang, at 39 Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem

Ways to get around

Hanoi Old Quarter offers various transportation options to help you navigate the area conveniently. Here are some common ways to get around:

  • Metro: The metro in Hanoi is a convenient and affordable option. The fare for a single journey on the metro is typically around 8,000 - 15,000 VND (0.35 - 0.65 USD), depending on the distance traveled.

  • Motorbike: Renting a motorbike in Hanoi Old Quarter can cost around 100,000 - 200,000 VND (4.35 - 8.70 USD) per day, depending on the type of bike and rental duration. Fuel costs can vary but are generally affordable.

  • Cyclo: Immerse in Hanoi's cultural tapestry as you ride through the Old Quarter for an enchanting experience, typically costing around 150,000 to 200,000 VND per hour (about 8 USD)

Hanoi Old Quarter cyclo

Fun experience when explore the Quarter by cyclo

  • Taxi: Taxis in Hanoi Old Quarter operate on a metered system. The starting fare is usually around 10,000 - 15,000 VND (0.43 - 0.65 USD), which increases based on distance and time. A typical taxi ride within the Old Quarter may cost around 20,000 - 50,000 VND (0.87 - 2.17 USD), depending on the length traveled and traffic conditions.

  • Public bus: Explore Hanoi on a budget with the affordable public bus system. Fares range from 7,000 to 10,000 VND (0.30 - 0.43 USD) per trip. Bring exact change and some small bills for convenience.

Practical Tips and Recommendations

When visiting Hanoi Old Quarter, it's helpful to remember some practical tips and recommendations to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Here are some suggestions:

  • Currency: The official currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). It's advisable to carry some cash with you, as smaller establishments in the Old Quarter may not accept credit cards. Currency exchange services are available if you need to convert your money.

vietnamese money

Vietnamese currency

  • Bargaining: Bargaining is common in Hanoi Old Quarter, especially when shopping at markets or dealing with street vendors. Don't be afraid to negotiate the price, but do so in a friendly and respectful manner. It's all part of the shopping experience.

  • Street Etiquette: To stay safe while exploring the bustling streets of Hanoi Old Quarter, it's important to be cautious and aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye out for motorbikes and other vehicles when crossing the streets, and walk at a consistent pace to make yourself more predictable to traffic and ensure your safety.

  • Dress Code: Although there are no official dress codes in Hanoi Old Quarter, it is suggested to dress conservatively, especially when visiting temples or pagodas. To show respect, it is advised to cover your shoulders and knees when entering religious sites.

  • Safety and Security: While Hanoi Old Quarter is generally safe, it's important to be cautious and take necessary precautions. Keep a close eye on your belongings and be aware of pickpockets in crowded areas. To ensure the safety of your valuables, it's recommended to use a money belt or a secure bag to keep them close to you.

  • Language: English is spoken to some extent in tourist areas, but it can be beneficial to learn a few basic Vietnamese phrases or carry a translation app to facilitate communication with locals. Politeness and a smile go a long way in interactions.

  • Travel Insurance: It's advisable to have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies and unexpected events during your visit to Hanoi Old Quarter. Check the terms and coverage of your insurance policy before your trip.

travel insurance to vietnam

Need to buy travel insurance whenever traveling in Vietnam

If you're ever in Vietnam, make sure to visit the Hanoi Old Quarter. This neighborhood is a must-see for anyone interested in immersing themselves in the city's rich history and vibrant culture. Take a stroll along its narrow streets, and visit iconic landmarks like Hoan Kiem Lake and St. Joseph's Cathedral. Whether you're exploring on foot or by cyclo, Hanoi Old Quarter is an enchanting district that is sure to create unforgettable memories. And if you are looking for best Vietnam package tour, feel free to contact us for more detailed informations!