The Old Quarter is an attractive place for most travelers in Hanoi with its classic and beautiful streets, old style houses and the authentic scenes and activities of people on the street. There are many ways to visit the Old Quarter: from the window of your tour bus, on a cyclo, a tramcar or by bicycle. But the best way for you to see and discover the Old Quarter of Hanoi is by walking.
When you take a walk in Hanoi Old Quarter on a regular tour or on your own, you mostly just walk on the streets and enjoy the busy scenes and activities of the local people, and you may do some shopping in the most popular shops for travelers. But the Old Quarter of Hanoi also preserves very interesting hidden charms in the special tunnel houses and the very dark, narrow alleys. This area is very packed with the local people who live there. It can be very easy for you to see a family of 3 or 4 generations living in one small house. The alleys just keep going on and on, and the local houses are built very close together. Your visit of these amazing alleys with their local houses is a great opportunity for you to see and experience the lives of the people living there. It will be a beautiful discovery and balance to the regular walking tour on the street.
How Different Is Our Walking Tour in The Hanoi Old Quarter?
Our Walking Tour in The Hanoi Old Quarter will start by visiting an ancient house in Ma May Street. This is a very original and typical house which is more than a hundred years old, and what you will realize from this house is that wealthy people lived in Hanoi in the past. Then we can take a walk along a typical street in the Old Quarter, from Ma May to Hang Buom Street.
From Hang Buom Street, you can see a small entrance with a tea shop owned by an old man. Even the local people hesitate coming into this entrance. But our guide will take you inside this entrance after saying “hello” to the old man. The small alley leads us past a local family on the ground level, and we will be able to view their activities through the open door. Then we walk up an old staircase from the ground to the second floor. It is a very quiet, old place and totally away from the exciting atmosphere on the street. Because they have gone to work, some families shut their doors. But others, with elderly people and children staying at home, keep their doors open. Because people live in such tight quarters here, doors are always left open when people are home for more air and space. We can say “hello” to them and experience their activities at home. Some parts of the alley can be dark and long, but with our guide, we just go and see it without fear. Then we can follow the stair case back down to the other street.
From here, we take a walk along the Ta Hien to Hang Giay Street. During the day, people in the old quarter do all of their activities on the pavement as if it was a part of their house. You can totally be a part of this busy life on the street in the old quarter.
We then reach a small entrance to a local living quarter. We will follow a complicated and zigzag alley that leads you past many local houses, an alley from which you could never find the way out by yourself. Finally we go out to Hang Dao, the busiest street in the old quarter for local trade.
From Hang Dao, we will take a walk to some typical streets in the Old Quarter where they are still selling things, as in the past, according to the street names like Hang Ma for the street with colorful decoration paper, Hang Dong for Bronze furniture, Lo Ren for black smith businesses, Lan Ong for herbal medicine shops, and Hang Quat for very colorful shops selling things for funeral decoration and worshipping. This is a very interesting walk that can show you the idea and atmosphere of the Old Quarter during Hanoi’s past, when it was the trading center of the city. The walk in the open street, combined with the discovery of the small and narrow alleys and local houses, show you in the most detailed way about what goes on in the life of local people and the atmosphere of this area.