The Old Quarter of Hanoi is a fascinating area, full of winding lanes, active marketplaces, and historic temples. This is one location in Vietnam that you most definitely don’t want to skip if you’re planning a vacation there. To help you make the most of your time in the Old Quarter, we’ll be looking at two outdoor activities, two must-visit locations, and one unique suggestion in this guide.
Explore Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem Lake is a key feature of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, and it’s the great spot to go for a leisurely stroll or jog. There are several seats where you may rest and take in the scenery since the lake is surrounded by parks and gardens. You may also take a lake trip with a guide or hire a paddleboat. Try crossing the renowned red bridge to go to the little Ngoc Son Temple on a lake island if you’re feeling daring. While it requires a difficult stair walk to get there, the views of the lake and neighborhood are definitely worth it.
Take a Street Food Tour
One of the best ways to experience the Old Quarter is through its food. Vietnamese cuisine is famous for its bold flavors and fresh ingredients, and the street food in Hanoi’s Old Quarter is no exception. Take a guided food tour and sample some of the best dishes that the city has to offer, from the famous pho noodle soup to the lesser-known but equally delicious bun cha grilled pork and noodle dish. Not only will you get to taste some incredible food, but you’ll also get to learn about the culture and history of the area from your knowledgeable guide.
The Temple of Literature
One of Hanoi’s oldest and most significant historical attractions is the Temple of Literature. It was the country of Vietnam’s first university and was founded in 1070. The temple is loaded with old stone tablets that list the names of academics who completed their examinations here and has lovely gardens, courtyards, and ponds. This is a location that you just must visit if you have any interest in history or architecture.
The Hanoi Opera House
The Hanoi Opera House is a stunning structure from the first half of the 20th century. The French colonial administration constructed it, and concerts are being held there today. It is worthwhile to have a guided tour of the structure even if you are not a lover of opera or ballet in order to see its gorgeous architecture and discover its rich history. If you’re interested, you may also attend a performance here as the Opera House presents a range of events all year long.
Visit the Train Street
The Train Street is a tiny passageway that borders a live train track in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Tourists have started to discover the area in recent years since you can watch the train pass by while standing right next to it. Check the timetable in advance as there are only two daily train trips. As you wait for the train to come, you might also stop at one of the cafés that are located along the alleyway and have a cup of coffee. Just make sure you stay away from the tracks safely when the train is passing!
The Train Street Cafe
Located on the infamous Train Street, the Train Street Cafe is a unique coffee shop that offers visitors the chance to sit and enjoy a drink while watching the trains pass by just inches away. The cafe is built on a narrow platform between the train tracks and the neighboring buildings, and the staff is careful to clear the area when the train is approaching. It’s a thrilling and unforgettable experience, and one that’s definitely worth checking out.
The Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural
A vast work of public art, the Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural covers about 4 kilometers along the Red River dike system’s walls. Around a thousand ceramic panels, all of which were produced by Vietnamese craftsmen, make up the mural. The panels show scenes from Hanoi’s past and present, as well as scenes from ordinary life and the natural world. It’s a magnificent piece of art that will undoubtedly have an impact.
For tourists on a tight budget who wish to stay in the Old Quarter, the Tiny Charm Hanoi Hostel is a fantastic choice. Both private and shared dormitory accommodations are available at the hostel, and each is tidy and welcoming. There is both a rooftop patio with a beautiful view of the city and a common lounge space where visitors may hang out and meet other tourists.
The Hanoi La Siesta Diamond Hotel & Spa is a fantastic mid-range choice for those seeking a bit extra comfort and elegance. The hotel has a variety of accommodation types, from basic doubles to opulent suites, all of which are well furnished and come with contemporary conveniences. The hotel also features a rooftop bar with breathtaking city views, a spa, and a wellness center.
The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is a five-star hotel that has been greeting visitors since 1901 if you want the height of luxury. The hotel offers several different accommodation types, such as suites and villas, all of which are exquisitely decorated and supplied with top-notch facilities. The hotel also features a number of dining options, a spa and wellness area, and an outdoor heated pool.
The Chi Boutique Hotel is a fantastic choice if you want a more distinctive and boutique experience. The hotel offers exquisitely designed rooms and suites, each with its own distinct design and furnishings. The hotel also features a restaurant serving delectable Vietnamese and foreign cuisine, a rooftop bar with stunning city views, and both. It’s a fantastic option for those looking for something a little unique from the typical chain hotels.
Hanoi is a fascinating city with a rich culture and history, and it offers visitors a plethora of unique and unforgettable experiences. From exploring historical sites like the Temple of Literature to sipping coffee at the Train Street Cafe, or admiring public art like the Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural, there is something for everyone. And when it comes to finding a place to stay, Hanoi has accommodation options that range from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious five-star hotels. No matter what your interests or budget, Hanoi is a city that is sure to leave a lasting impression.