Best Things to Do in Hanoi Old Quarter – Travel Guide

Street view of Hanoi Old Quarter in Vietnam

Welcome to Hanoi’s Old Quarter, a vibrant and unique neighborhood that has been at the heart of the city for centuries. If you’re traveling in Vietnam, or solo traveling in Vietnam, then you’ll need to stop by this magnificent place.

This guide will provide an overview of things to do in this area, so if you’re looking for things to do in Hanoi’s Old Quarter you’ll find plenty of ideas here.

Read on for an exciting range of attractions, activities, sights, and the best things to do in Hanoi Old Quarter.

Overview of Attractions in Hanoi Old Quarter

To keep in mind if you’re traveling in Hanoi, one of the best things about Hanoi’s Old Quarter is its rich history.

You can learn all about it with a visit to Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple. The lake itself is also beautiful – it’s great for taking a leisurely stroll, or renting a paddleboat and exploring the area.

If you’re looking for things to do during the day, Hanoi’s Old Quarter is home to many historic sites and landmarks.

Stroll around Hoan Kiem District to visit the Flag Tower of Hanoi and the Temple of Literature. Or head to Dinh Tien Hoang Street for some great shopping – there are plenty of souvenir shops and clothing stores here.

You can also find traditional art galleries in this area, such as Hang Trong Gallery, which showcases local artwork from Vietnam’s most talented painters.

Foods in Hanoi Old Quarter

Are you hungry? Don’t worry – Hanoi’s Old Quarter is loaded with great places to eat and drink. You’ll find plenty of traditional Vietnamese restaurants in the area, such as Quan An Ngon and Hang Rau. Or if you prefer something more international, there are lots of Western-style cafes and bars around like The Kizuna or Noi Bai Café & Bar.

Best Things to Do in Hanoi Old Quarter

Let’s check out some of the best things to do in Vietnam in Hanoi’s old quarters.

The old quarter is the perfect spot for a tourist or traveler looking for an exciting and unique experience. There are plenty of things to do, from exploring night markets, taking part in cultural activities, enjoying local cuisine, and more! Here is a list of things to do in Hanoi’s old quarter:

1. Visit Ngoc Son Temple

View of Ngoc Son in Hanoi

This temple is so beautiful and full of history that it’s worth spending a few hours here. You can learn more about Vietnamese culture while admiring its architecture.

Ngoc Son Temple (Temple of the Jade Mountain) sits on the Hoan Kiem Lake and serves as a spiritual center for many Buddhists.

The temple was built in memory of several Vietnamese national heroes, including Tran Hung Dao. This sacred temple features three separate courtyards and is full of iconic pagodas, shrines, and delicate carvings that tell stories from Vietnam’s past.

Visitors can marvel at the tranquil beauty of Ngoc Son Temple while learning about its history and significance.

Take extra time to explore the shops near the temple that specializes in traditional Vietnamese goods such as pottery, jewelry, incense, paintings, and gifts. Be sure to check out the Dong Xuan market nearby where you can find fresh produce, snacks, and souvenirs.

Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for things to do in Hanoi’s old quarter, Ngoc Son Temple offers an unforgettable experience that will stay with you forever.

2. Take a Cooking Class

Street foods in Vietnam

Learning how to cook traditional Vietnamese dishes is one of the best things you could do in Hanoi’s old quarter.

There are plenty of cooking classes available and it’s a great way to spend an afternoon.

When it comes to things to do in Hanoi Old Quarter, taking a cooking class should definitely be at the top of your list! Hanoi’s bustling streets are filled with countless restaurants and street stalls serving up delicious local dishes.

To get an authentic taste of Vietnamese cuisine, there’s no better way than to take a cooking class.

These classes are usually taught by local chefs and home cooks, who will show you how to create the classic dishes that make Hanoi’s culinary scene so special. You’ll learn everything from making spring rolls and banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches) to creating traditional soups such as pho and bun cha.

After the class, you’ll be able to impress your friends and family with your new cooking skills. If you’re looking for things to do in Hanoi Old Quarter, consider taking a cooking class – it’s an experience that you won’t forget.


3. Sample Street Food

Try out the delicious Vietnamese food that this place has to offer you.

Treat yourself to some delicious street food while in the area! From pho to banh mi, you’ll find something for everyone’s tastebuds.

Hanoi’s Old Quarter is a great destination for foodies and food lovers alike. There are countless things to do and eat in the area, from street vendors serving up Pho Bo (beef noodle soup) to fried spring rolls and ice-cold beer.

Street food is a great way to sample the local cuisine and mingle with locals – just don’t forget to bring your own hand sanitizer.

If you’re looking for something different, you can explore some of Hanoi’s fantastic craft beer taprooms and cafes.

There are plenty of local options to choose from, as well as imported and specialty beers. For something a bit more traditional, you can take part in one of the Old Quarter’s regular teahouse gatherings.


4. Explore the Night Markets

Night market Hanoi

A must-do when visiting Hanoi’s old quarter is exploring its vibrant night markets. Stroll through the stalls and pick up souvenirs or sample local delicacies.

Hanoi’s old quarter is known for its vibrant night markets. Vendors sell everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to souvenirs and street food.

The best part about the night markets is that they are a great way to get an authentic glimpse at local life.

You can stroll through the market, sample some delicious street snacks, and haggle with vendors over prices.

One tip to keep in mind when bargaining is the ‘Sống Dao’ rule – the price should always be half of what the vendor initially offers.

Ngoc Ha night market

If you’re looking for a unique experience, try exploring the Ngoc Ha night market, which stays open until late in the evening.

Here, you can find all kinds of things: clothes, shoes, furniture and even electronics.

Another popular night market is Cho Hom Market. This one is known for its wide range of food stalls; it’s a great spot to grab a delicious snack or bite to eat after dark. The market also features a great range of souvenirs and trinkets, so keep your eyes peeled for the perfect Hanoi-souvenir.

Whether you’re looking to try some local street food or pick up a unique souvenir, night markets in Hanoi’s old quarter are definitely worth exploring.


5. Take a Walking Tour

Tour in Hanoi

Sign up for a guided walking tour and learn more about this city’s history and culture from your knowledgeable guide.

Hanoi’s Old Quarter is the perfect area to explore on foot. Taking a walking tour will give you an intimate look at what makes the city so unique.

Stroll through bustling streets and local markets, take in ancient temples, learn about Vietnamese culture from street vendors, and even sample some of Hanoi’s delicious street food.


6. Try a Vietnamese Coffee

Vietnamese Coffee

If you’re looking for a unique coffee experience, then Hanoi’s Old Quarter is the place to be!

A cup of traditional Vietnamese coffee is the perfect accompaniment to any old quarter visit. Be sure to sample some while you’re in town.

Vietnamese Coffee has a unique flavor that sets it apart from other coffees around the world. It incorporates things like egg and condensed milk, giving it an interesting twist on a classic beverage.

You can find many coffee stands in the Old Quarter, and they all offer a slightly different take on Vietnamese coffee. Make sure to try some out! It’s an experience you won’t soon forget.


7. Attend a Water Puppet Show

Water puppet show in Hanoi

If you’re looking for things to do in Hanoi’s old quarter, a water puppet show is not to be missed.

This unique form of entertainment has been around for centuries and is one of the things that makes Hanoi so special. Don’t miss an opportunity to watch a water puppet show while here.

This often overlooked form of traditional Vietnamese entertainment involves hand-crafted puppets which are manipulated from behind the scenes via poles and strings.

The artists operate these dolls while standing waist-deep in a pool of water, and the audience eagerly looks on as the puppets are brought to life with music and stories.

Water puppet shows are a unique way to gain insight into Vietnam’s culture and history, and they can be found at many theaters in Hanoi’s old quarter.

Be sure to purchase tickets beforehand, as these performances often sell out quickly.


8. Wander Through Hoan Kiem Lake

View of Hoan Kiem Lake

Take some time out for yourself and wander around the tranquil Hoan Kiem Lake. Admire its beauty, feed the fish, or relax with a good book on the lake’s edge.

Hoan Kiem Lake lies in the centre of Hanoi’s Old Quarter and is one of the city’s most popular attractions.

Locals come here to relax, meditate and socialise with friends, while tourists marvel at its beauty and history.

At sunrise and sunset, you will find many locals practising tai chi around the lake, and you can even join in if you wish.

The lake also has a beautiful red wooden bridge with two Chinese-style pavilions built into it, making it perfect for taking photos.

The Ngoc Son Temple is situated on an island in the middle of the lake and is worth exploring to learn more about Hanoi’s history and culture.

The lake is also home to Hanoi’s famous Giant Turtle, which according to legend was gifted to the king of Vietnam in the 15th century.

It’s a great place for visitors to spend some time admiring nature and soaking up the city’s atmosphere.


9. Shop at Dong Xuan Market

View of Dong Xuan Market

Whether you’re looking for souvenirs or clothing, Dong Xuan market is the place to go. Explore its stalls and find something unique to take home.

One of the things to do in Hanoi’s old quarter is visit to Dong Xuan Market. This bustling market is one of the biggest in Vietnam, stretching over four city blocks and containing thousands of stalls inside.

A highlight of the market is its impressive selection of clothing – from traditional Vietnamese ao dai (traditional dress) to more modern fashions. You’ll also find all sorts of food, from traditional Vietnamese dishes like pho and banh mi to tasty street snacks.

Don’t miss the renowned local produce section on the fourth floor either – you can pick up fresh fruits, vegetables and other local specialties here for great prices. It’s a great spot for shopping and exploring Hanoi’s local culture.

And that’s not all, the market is open at night too, making it perfect for late-night bargain hunters who want to get the best deals. There are also plenty of restaurants in the area where you can relax and enjoy some delicious Vietnamese cuisine after a full day of bargaining.


10. Take a Hanoi City Tour

Hanoi mountain

An organized city tour will give you an insight into this vibrant city’s culture, history, and things to do that you might have otherwise missed out on.

Hanoi City Tour is one of the best things to do in Hanoi’s old quarter. You can take a half-day or full-day tour around the city, discovering some of the most famous attractions such as Hoan Kiem Lake, the Temple of Literature, and the Old Quarter.

An experienced guide will lead you through narrow alleyways and bustling markets, giving you an insight into Hanoi’s rich culture and history.

Tourists can also enjoy a fresh cup of Vietnamese coffee at a traditional café and sample some delicious street food.


Best Hotels Hanoi Old Quarter

Hanoi mountain

Hanoi’s Old Quarter is a must-see destination for any traveler heading to Vietnam. It offers plenty of things to do and see, as well as some great places to rest your head at night. Here are some of the best hotels in Hanoi’s Old Quarter:

1. Hanoi La Siesta Hotel & Spa

This hotel is located in the heart of the Old Quarter, making it an ideal spot to stay while exploring all that Hanoi has to offer. The hotel features modernly-furnished rooms and suites with complimentary Wi-Fi and a restaurant serving up traditional Vietnamese cuisine.

2. Old Quarter View Hotel

Situated right in the center of things, this charming boutique hotel offers unique views over the ancient streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Rooms are airy and bright, featuring flat-screen televisions and glassed showers so you can admire the cityscape while relaxing in your room.

3. Hanoi Signature Hotel

Located on one of the Old Quarter’s busiest streets, this hotel provides a perfect base for exploring the city. The rooms are designed with comfort in mind offering plush beds and modern bathrooms as well as complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the property.

4. Hanoi Elegance Diamond Hotel & Spa

Located near Hoan Kiem Lake, this boutique hotel offers the ultimate luxury experience for those looking to stay in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Spacious suites feature all of the amenities you could want including large flat-screen TVs, Jacuzzis, and even a private terrace with views of the lake.

5. Hanoi Collection Hotel

This modern hotel is located on Hang Ma Street, one of the oldest streets in the Old Quarter. Rooms are elegantly appointed with large windows and classic furnishings, with some suites offering private balconies. The hotel offers free daily breakfast and complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the property.


Restaurants Hanoi Old Quarter

Hanoi old quarter restaurants

Hanoi’s Old Quarter is an ideal spot to sample some of the city’s best cuisine. Here are some of the most popular restaurants you should check out:

1. The Street Kitchen

This restaurant is a great spot for those looking for authentic Vietnamese dishes and street food in a relaxed atmosphere. There’s a wide variety of traditional dishes on offer here, from pho to banh mi and more.

2. Green Tangerine

Serving up French-Vietnamese fusion fare, this restaurant is ideal for gourmet dining in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Guests can enjoy elegant dishes such as wok-fried beef or seafood noodles with herbs in a charming setting.

3. The Cart

Another great spot for traditional Vietnamese cuisine, this local restaurant is known for its fragrant pho and other classic dishes. There’s also an array of vegetarian options on offer here as well.

4. Cha Ca La Vong

This iconic Hanoi restaurant has been serving up the city’s signature dish, cha ca la vong (turmeric-marinated fish) since 1871. The restaurant also offers a range of other delicious dishes like beef in ginger sauce or chicken curry with lemongrass.

5. Bun Bo Nam Bo

For those looking for something more casual, this eatery specializes in bun bo nam bo, a delicious noodle soup dish. The restaurant also offers a wide selection of tasty appetizers, from spring rolls to meat skewers and more.


Nightlife Hanoi Old Quarter

night life in Hanoi

Hanoi’s Old Quarter is home to a vibrant nightlife scene, with plenty of things for travelers and locals alike to enjoy into the wee hours of the morning. Here are some great things you can check out during your stay:

1. Moon Bar & Lounge

This rooftop lounge offers stunning views over Hanoi’s ancient streets as well as delicious cocktails and light bites. Whether you’re looking for an intimate evening or want to party the night away, this is the place to be.

2. Highway 4

This live music venue hosts some of Hanoi’s best local and international acts, from rock bands to hip-hop artists. The atmosphere here is always electric and you can expect to find plenty of locals here dancing into the early hours of the morning.

3. Club Q Bar

A popular spot for both tourists and locals, Club Q Bar offers a great selection of drinks at reasonable prices as well as nightly live performances ranging from jazz and soul to hip-hop and house music.

4. Kim Bien Jazz Cafe

Situated in a beautiful French colonial building, this cozy café hosts regular live jazz performances from some of Hanoi’s best musicians. There are also plenty of snacks and drinks on offer here as well.

5. The Fat Cat

This quirky bar offers an eclectic mix of music, from classic rock to modern pop, guaranteed to keep things interesting all night long. Be sure to try the signature cocktails for a unique taste experience.


Shopping in Hanoi Old Quarter

shopping in Hanoi

Hanoi’s Old Quarter is a great place to shop for souvenirs, traditional arts and crafts, and more. Here are some things you should check out during your stay:

1. Dong Xuan Market

This bustling market is the largest in Hanoi and offers a huge variety of things to buy, from clothing and accessories to electronics and toys. Be sure to bargain hard for the best deals here!

2. Hang Gai Street

This street is home to some of Hanoi’s most renowned silk shops, offering everything from traditional Vietnamese fabrics to contemporary designs. Here you can find luxurious silk scarves, quilts, pillowcases, and more.

3. Ly Quoc Su Street

A great spot for art lovers, this street is lined with galleries showcasing works by local artists in all media. Here you can find everything from paintings and sculptures to jewelry and other handmade crafts.

4. Phuc Kien Market

Also known as the Night Market, this shopping center is a must-see for anyone looking to get their hands on some traditional souvenirs. From wood carvings and lacquerware to jewelry and other folk art, you can find it all here.

5. Handicraft Street

This street is home to numerous stores selling handmade crafts like scarves, pottery, and paintings made by local artisans. It’s definitely worth taking a stroll down this street for unique things to take home with you.

Thoughts and Conclusion

If you’re planning on traveling to Vietnam, then you’ll need to put Hanoi’s Old Quarter on your list.

Hanoi’s Old Quarter is a fascinating spot that has plenty to offer – from its rich history to its delicious food.

So whether you’re looking for things to do during the day or things to do at night, this guide should help you make the most out of your time in Hanoi’s Old Quarter.

Please check out Cool Things to Do In Vietnam and 10 Things to See in Ho Chi Minh City.

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