Hanoi Old Quarter Walking Tour. Unraveling the Heart of Vietnam’s Capital

Nestled amidst the bustling streets of Hanoi, the Old Quarter, also known as 36 Old Streets, is a captivating labyrinth of narrow alleys, ancient temples, and centuries-old shops. This vibrant district is a living testament to Hanoi’s rich history, diverse culture, and enduring traditions. Join us on a comprehensive walking tour of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, where we’ll explore its hidden gems, savor its delectable cuisine, and immerse ourselves in the charm of a bygone era.

If you’re interested in exploring Hanoi’s Old Quarter on foot, here’s a suggested walking tour for you:

1. Start at Hoan Kiem Lake: Begin your walking tour from this iconic lake in the heart of Hanoi. Enjoy the scenic surroundings and visit Ngoc Son Temple located on a small island in the lake.

2. St. Joseph’s Cathedral: Head north from Hoan Kiem Lake to reach St. Joseph’s Cathedral, a striking French colonial-era church. Admire its beautiful architecture and take some time to explore the area.

3. Dong Xuan Market: Continue your walk towards the northeast to reach Dong Xuan Market, the largest covered market in Hanoi. Explore the bustling stalls selling a variety of goods, from clothes and souvenirs to fresh produce.

4. Hang Ma Street: From Dong Xuan Market, head west to reach Hang Ma Street. This street is famous for selling traditional decorations and items used in Vietnamese festivals. It’s a vibrant and colorful place to explore.

5. Bach Ma Temple: Take a short detour south from Hang Ma Street to visit Bach Ma Temple, one of Hanoi’s oldest temples. This small yet culturally significant temple is worth a visit for its historical and religious value.

6. Ta Hien Street: Head back north from Bach Ma Temple and make your way to Ta Hien Street, commonly known as the “Beer Hoi” street. This lively street is popular among locals and tourists for its cheap beer and vibrant nightlife.

7. Hanoi Old Quarter’s 36 Streets: Finally, get lost in the maze of narrow alleys and streets that make up the famous Hanoi Old Quarter. Wander around the 36 streets, each specializing in a specific trade, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere of this historic neighborhood.

Note: This suggested walking tour covers some of the highlights of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, but feel free to explore further and discover more hidden gems along the way.

Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes, bring a water bottle, and embrace the local culture as you explore the historic streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter!

Hoan Kiem Lake

a) Tranquil Haven Amidst the Bustling City:

Embark on our journey at the heart of Hanoi, the serene Hoan Kiem Lake. This picturesque lake is a tranquil oasis surrounded by lush greenery, offering respite from the city’s hustle and bustle. Take a leisurely stroll along its shores, admiring the enchanting Turtle Tower, a symbol of Hanoi’s resilience.

b) Legends and Myths:

Unravel the fascinating legends and myths associated with Hoan Kiem Lake. Hear the tale of King Le Loi and the magical sword that helped him defeat the Chinese invaders. Discover the significance of the lake’s resident turtles, believed to be the guardians of the city.

Ngoc Son Temple

Ngoc Son Temple

a) A Journey into History and Spirituality:

Step into the sacred confines of Ngoc Son Temple, a tranquil haven nestled on a small island within Hoan Kiem Lake. Explore the temple’s serene courtyards, intricate pavilions, and ornate altars, each adorned with intricate carvings and vibrant murals.

b) Unique Architecture and Symbolism:

Admire the temple’s unique architecture, a fusion of Buddhist and Taoist influences. Discover the symbolism behind the temple’s design, from the curved roofs representing yin and yang to the elaborate dragon carvings symbolizing strength and wisdom.

36 Old Streets

Exploring Hanoi: A Comprehensive 3-Day Itinerary

a) Exploring the Heart of the Old Quarter:

Delve into the narrow, winding streets of the 36 Old Streets, the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Each street is dedicated to a specific trade, from silk and jewelry to lacquerware and traditional medicine. Marvel at the colorful storefronts, adorned with lanterns and intricate signage, showcasing the city’s rich craftsmanship.

b) Hidden Courtyards and Colonial Architecture:

Venture beyond the main streets to discover hidden courtyards, charming cafes, and traditional workshops tucked away amidst the bustling alleyways. Observe the unique blend of architectural styles, from traditional Vietnamese houses to elegant French colonial buildings, reflecting Hanoi’s diverse past.

Dong Xuan Market

a) A Shopping Paradise in the Heart of Hanoi:

Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Dong Xuan Market, one of Hanoi’s largest and most bustling markets. Browse through a dazzling array of goods, from fresh produce and spices to traditional handicrafts and souvenirs. Engage with friendly vendors and experience the lively energy of this bustling marketplace.

b) Local Delicacies and Street Food:

Indulge in the culinary delights of Hanoi at Dong Xuan Market. Sample exotic fruits, savor traditional Vietnamese dishes, and satisfy your sweet tooth with delectable desserts. Don’t miss the opportunity to try some of Hanoi’s famous street food, such as pho, bun cha, and banh xeo.

Quan Thanh Temple

Experience the architectural grandeur of Quan Thanh Temple, an ancient Buddhist temple that dates back to the 11th century. Marvel at the temple’s impressive gate, intricate carvings, and serene courtyards. Learn about its historical significance as a center of learning and culture throughout the


1. How long does the Hanoi Old Quarter Walking Tour typically last?

Duration of the walking tour is approximately 3-4 hours. However, the duration may vary depending on your pace and level of interest.

2. What is the best time to visit Hanoi Old Quarter?

The best time to visit the Old Quarter is during the spring or autumn when the weather is pleasant. Avoid visiting during the summer months due to extremely hot and humid weather.

3. Are there any specific dress codes for visiting religious sites such as temples and pagodas?

Yes, it is important to dress respectfully when visiting religious places. Avoid showing shoulders or thighs, and remove your shoes before entering a temple or a pagoda.

4. Is it possible to tailor the walking tour to meet specific interests or preferences?

Yes, some tour operators offer customizable walking tours. You can discuss your preferences and interests with your tour guide and they will tailor the tour accordingly.

5. Are there any local dishes that I should try while in the Old Quarter?

Hanoi is renowned for its delicious cuisine. Some popular dishes to try in the Old Quarter include pho (beef noodle soup), bun cha (rice noodles with grilled pork), and banh xeo (crispy pancake filled with various ingredients).


The Hanoi Old Quarter Walking Tour is an immersive experience that showcases the vibrant spirit, rich history, and diverse culture of Vietnam’s capital city. From the tranquil beauty of Hoan Kiem Lake to the hidden gems of the 36 Old Streets, there’s something for everyone to discover in this captivating district. Stroll along the narrow alleyways, engage with friendly locals, sample delicious street food, and immerse yourself in the charm of a bygone era. The Old Quarter is a living testament to Hanoi’s enduring heritage and a must-visit destination for anyone seeking an authentic Vietnamese experience.