Fruit stand in Hanoi's Old Quarter

Hanoi Old Quarter in Pictures

Built over 1,000 years ago, Hanoi’s Old Quarter is perhaps the most famous, historical area of the city.  It certainly seems to attract the most tourists, particularly around Hoan Kiem lake, where you can catch Hanoian’s exercising every morning and evening.  We live just a 15 minute walk away from the Old Quarter and go there often, mainly to eat in our favourite cafes or pick up some groceries from one of the delicious French-style bakeries.

St Joseph's Cathedral, Hanoi's Old Quarter

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The Old Quarter Hanoi

As the Capital City of Vietnam, Hanoi is a mix of modernity and tradition. In part the city is a bustling metropolis with offices, malls and governmental buildings but it’s also steeped in history and tradition. Amongst the routines of daily life in these tree-lined, traffic-choked streets lie the shadows of past struggles with colonialism and war; the body of the nation’s hero, Ho Chi Minh, lies embalmed in a mausoleum, red and gold flags line every street and you can spend days here visiting temples, museums and old French prisons.

Turtle Pagoda, Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi's Old Quarter

The Old Quarter consists of 36 streets, each one specialising in a particular type of goods. Hang Dau, for example, is crammed with shoe shops while fine silks are sold in Hang Gai and there are dozens of jewellery stores along Hang Bac. The practice of having streets lined with identical shops selling identical products seemed odd to me at first, but it does make it easy to find exactly what you want; when we need school supplies like stickers or balls we visit the toy and party decoration streets.

Hanoi Old Quarter in Pictures

Here’s a snapshot of daily life in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, would you like to visit one day?

Small Buddhist temple in Hanoi's Old Quarter

Locals and tourists enjoying Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi's Old Quarter

Quiet leafy street in Hanoi's Old Quarter

Shoe shop on shoe street in Hanoi

Tree and wire-lined street in Hanoi's Old Quarter

Ao Dai: Vietnamese traditional silk dresses in the Hanoi Old Quarter

Street barber in Hanoi

Coffee shops with small stools in Hanoi

Cyclo driver and fountain in Hanoi's Old Quarter

Stainless steel shop on stainless steel street in Hanoi

Motorbike taxi waiting for passengers

Made in Vietnam shop on every corner in Hanoi

Electric bike, push bike and oranges in Hanoi's Old Quarter

Silk shop on Hang Gai, Hanoi's Old Quarter

Mobile flower seller in Hanoi's Old Quarter

Fully-loaded motorbike in Hanoi's Old Quarter

Railway line in Hanoi

Fruit stand in Hanoi's Old Quarter

Deep in conversation outside the gravestone plaque shop

Hanio's Old Quarter in Pictures
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33 Comments
  • Miriam of Adventurous Miriam
    Posted at 14:16h, 25 October Reply

    This post brings back so many memories from my time in Vietnam. It’s many years ago now, but Hanoi doesn’t look like it has changed one bit 🙂

    • Amy
      Posted at 06:31h, 26 October Reply

      I’m glad to have inspired some reminiscing Miriam. The Old Quarter in Hanoi does feel pretty ageless and it’s a great place to spend an afternoon.

  • Laura
    Posted at 17:45h, 25 October Reply

    Lovely photos! I loved Hanoi – so chaotic, but so wonderfully different to anywhere else I’d been before! I had the best Vietnamese coffees there, too.

    Laura
    Sometime Traveller

    • Amy
      Posted at 06:30h, 26 October Reply

      Thanks Laura 🙂 Yes, the coffee is definitely pretty good here, a couple of weeks ago we tried the famous egg coffee which was much more delicious than it sounds; a bit like a mini-dessert!

  • Patti
    Posted at 18:38h, 26 October Reply

    Thanks for the tour! I love all of the little shops and such. Hanoi seems to be a very busy alive city. Do you ever find it overwhelming, or have you been able to settle enough to feel comfortable?

    • Amy
      Posted at 10:42h, 28 October Reply

      We did find it overwhelming when we first moved here Patti but we’ve settled in now. I am starting to crave a bit of green, open space though when we finish here in May we’re planning some serious beach time in Thailand!

  • Gilda Baxter
    Posted at 22:08h, 26 October Reply

    I like the idea that each street will specialize in a particular item to sell. It makes shopping a lot easier. Lovely silk dresses. I would like to spend some time on that street.

    • Amy
      Posted at 10:43h, 28 October Reply

      I thought that was strange at first but now I agree, it does make shopping a lot easier. There are lots of bargains to be had in the Old Quarter too Gilda.

  • Catherine
    Posted at 16:21h, 27 October Reply

    Great photos! I love the idea of each street being dedicated to different products – would certainly make it much easier to find what you’re looking for. Would love to visit Hanoi one day and see for myself!

    • Amy
      Posted at 10:44h, 28 October Reply

      You should definitely visit Hanoi Catherine, it’s a really vibrant city (if a bit chaotic at times!) – it feels very different to other Asian cities I’ve visited.

  • Charlie
    Posted at 20:32h, 27 October Reply

    Lovely photos! I’m really looking forward to visiting Hanoi. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it recently. Looks like a nice place to settle for a while.

    • Amy
      Posted at 10:45h, 28 October Reply

      We are finding it nice to have a temporary home base here in Hanoi Charlie, it took us a while to settle in but life is good now.

  • Helen
    Posted at 11:14h, 28 October Reply

    Great pictures, I’m looking forward to visiting Vietnam next year so this has whetted me appetite!

    • Amy
      Posted at 11:17h, 28 October Reply

      Glad you like them Helen, I hope you do make it to Vietnam next year 🙂

  • Anna R
    Posted at 15:50h, 28 October Reply

    The amount of things strapped to that moped are insane!

    • Andrew
      Posted at 02:44h, 29 October Reply

      We have seen crazier things Anna, but that one is pretty crazy. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  • paper boat sailor
    Posted at 07:40h, 29 October Reply

    a well-informed post and a great photo essay. Viet Nam’s history is fascinating.

    • Amy
      Posted at 04:05h, 31 October Reply

      I agree, it is fascinating 🙂

  • Emily
    Posted at 12:58h, 30 October Reply

    Vietnam, and Hanoi, have long been on my travel bucket list. I’ve only heard great things from bloggers and the travel community – it sounds like a dream 🙂

    • Amy
      Posted at 04:06h, 31 October Reply

      Let me know if you make it to Hanoi Emily 🙂

  • Joe Louis
    Posted at 02:46h, 02 November Reply

    We used to play a game to see who can find a motorbike carrying the highest number of people (kids included).

    • Amy
      Posted at 06:28h, 02 November Reply

      That game will keep you entertained for ages here in Hanoi 🙂

  • Natasha Amar
    Posted at 13:01h, 06 November Reply

    Lovely post! Took me right back to Hanoi, a city I love. Spent quite a few days by the lake and exploring the Old Quarter.
    Thank you for sharing 🙂

    • Amy
      Posted at 12:25h, 07 November Reply

      Hi Natasha, thanks for commenting, I’m glad you liked our little taste of Hanoi 🙂

  • Shobha
    Posted at 22:17h, 11 November Reply

    Great photos! I can’t believe that motorcycle can balance with all that stuff on it. You get a sense of how busy the city is. Life is happening all around you and not shut off behind closed doors.

    • Amy
      Posted at 15:07h, 13 November Reply

      It’s pretty crazy what Vietnamese people can manage to balance on their motorbikes Shobha 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Pingback:Lake Life | Pictures of Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi, Vietnam
    Posted at 09:33h, 22 November Reply

    […] to Vietnam, park space here in Hanoi is seriously lacking. Hoan Kiem Lake, in the heart of the Old Quarter is the closest thing to green space as you can get and given that it’s basically a giant […]

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    Posted at 07:22h, 13 December Reply

    […] is a concentrated city, it’s centre in the Old Quarter is a tightly wound sprawl of snaking lanes and shop-lined streets, pavements over-flowing with […]

  • Pingback:What's the cost of living in Vietnam?
    Posted at 12:46h, 04 January Reply

    […] in Ba Dinh district, very close to the touristy Hoan Kiem Lake. We’re 15 minutes walk from the Old Quarter and it takes around 20 minutes to drive from here to our work. We love our apartment as it is […]

  • Pingback:Favourite Places to Eat in Hanoi | Top Restaurants in Hanoi
    Posted at 05:38h, 19 March Reply

    […] Ho, the restaurant sits right next to the picturesque West Lake. These days we like to get out of the Old Quarter for at least part of the weekend and West Lake has become one of our favourite places to go. The […]

  • Pingback:Five Reasons to Love Hanoi | Why I Love Hanoi, Vietnam
    Posted at 15:05h, 26 May Reply

    […] live just a ten minute walk away from Hanoi’s Old Quarter, which I think of as the heart of the city. The streets of the Old Quarter are part of our daily […]

  • Nasiema Mowzer
    Posted at 19:59h, 01 October Reply

    Im a qualified tefl teacher from tefle world. I would like to work in vietnam

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