Lady carrying groceries at Hanoi's markets


The capital of Vietnam, Hanoi was once the most important political centre of Vietnam. At the beginning of the 20th century it consisted of around 36 streets, all of which now make up the Old Quarter. It used to be crowded with silk traders and jewellery sellers and in more modern times, tradition has been upheld.

Getting Around

Hanoi is famous for small artisans, merchants, and silk shops that are always overflowing with handmade goods. Beyond shopping and looking at all the goods on offer, there are a fair number of nightlife spots with clubs, bars and a night market.  

Local Artisans

When visiting a new country it is always exciting to explore the handmade products of the people that live there and Vietnam is no exception. When you are packing, be sure leave space in there for all the goodies and souvenirs you’ll be bringing back—you’re going to want multiples of everything.

If you are looking for china bowls in various shades of colour and in the classic white, head to Bat Su. If you are looking for traditional silks, you can walk over to Hang Gai Street. Plus, once people know where you are headed on holiday, they will undoubtedly request you bring home a traditional Asian comb decorated in beautiful gems. To find a wide variety of these, simply stroll to Hang Luoc.

If you are looking for traditional candies and foods, head to Cha Ca, To Tich, Hang Duong, and Tam Thuong. Roasted fish is a delicacy and can be found on Cha Ca and traditional candies on Hang Duong. Meander through these streets and try many of the delicious delicacies, not often found elsewhere.

For the ladies that love to shop and want all of the finer things in life, head to Hang Bac and Cau Go. Need to pick up a new pair of shoes? Hang Dau is the place for you.

Night Market

Along four streets of the Old Quarter you will find the usual goods, but after dark on the weekend, are many of the best products you found during the day but at a better price.

Funny Names

While you’re in Hanoi, let the locals tell you the true meaning of the street names. Gia Ngu Street means “Underwear Street” and is named directly from what you can find here: Underwear, socks, and some children’s clothes. You can find well-made undergarments for a relatively low price.

One of the other famous streets is names “Lazy Old Man,” after a famous physician that once inhabited the street. The man was a physician specializing in traditional medicine and through the physician’s stores that now live on Lan Ong Street, his memory lives on.

Take your time exploring Hanoi’s Old Quarter—after all it’s one of the main tourist draws for Hanoi! The area is well-known for its history, architecture, culture and the enormous diversity of products on offer in its streets. Before you head to Vietnam to explore, be sure to have a travel insurance policy in your back pocket for added protection against the unexpected.

Image courtesy of Flickr user David McKelvey