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Stop At: Old Quarter, Hanoi 100000 Vietnam
This guide of the best things to do in Hanoi Old Quarter is ideal for travellers looking to experience the rare sense of timelessness that seems to sum up this area of the city – you can still see glimpses of previous generations despite the modernisation that is going on relentlessly. This prominent district is relatively pedestrian-friendly compared to other cities in Vietnam - on weekends and evenings, the streets are closed off to motorised vehicles to make way for bia hoi bars and food stalls selling a variety of Vietnamese food. For a feel of rich old Vietnamese customs, you can also stroll along ancient commercial streets surrounding Hoan Kiem Lake, which are named after their original businesses dating back about 1,000 years. Located on the northern end of Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi Old Quarter’s most popular attractions comprise mostly quaint Buddhist shrines, street markets, and traditional Vietnamese arts.
Duration: 3 hours
Stop At: Charming Vietnam Travel, 3 Gia Ngu, Hanoi 000000 Vietnam
Meet your guide in the Hoan Kiem district in the evening to start your stroll through the districts of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, each known for their historic trades including blacksmiths, silver shops, paper shops, headstone makers, silk traders, and jewelers. Along the perimeter of the market, dozens of street hawkers sell a staggering variety of products from live seafood to exotic fruits and spices.
Your English-speaking expert local guide will give you an insight into the intricacies and traditions of Vietnamese food culture including details on ingredients and historical backgrounds of popular northern dishes. Eat as you go, trying seasonal fruits and sampling a tasty French-inspired snack from a street cart. Walking through the maze of bustling streets that make up Hanoi’s Old Quarter will tempt your taste-buds with the famed Hanoi dishes such as Bun Cha Ta, Banh Cuon at a local eatery. Watch in awe as the skilled chefs demonstrate for you how this tasty dish is put together.
Continuing into the atmospheric heart of the Old Quarter, wander past street stalls and quiet residential lanes where you can observe local life that has changed little since Hanoi was founded over 1000 years ago.
The next two snack stops are at outdoor barbecue stalls. Sit down with the locals and sample various meats, vegetables, and bread specialties that are flame grilled over hot coals for extra flavor. It’s then time for dessert as you venture down a small alley to join in the local tradition of feasting on fresh fruit served in a cup and smothered with crushed iced and condensed milk. This specialty is one not to be missed.
Your local guide will then take you to one of Hanoi’s best kept secrets, a hidden street food restaurant, to taste some of the top street foods in Hanoi such as Banh my Hanoi, Vietnamese rice wine and the famous egg coffee. This hard-to-find café is one of the few left in the narrow street inside the old quarter of Hanoi. Or, if coffee is not your style, a cold beer awaits.
At the end of the trip you are free to continue exploring the area or your guide will assist you with directions, or a taxi back to your hotel (at own expense).
Duration: 3 hours