There's something very exciting about exploring the heritage of a country. To cement that fact, Old Quarter has 9 places to prove around local Hanoi hotels.
To the local people, the Old Quarter is like the heart, soul, and the spiritual symbol of the capital city. It is a place where history was made and a story that tells the birth of Vietnam over 1,000 years ago. Therefore, whenever you’re staying at local Hanoi hotels, it is strongly recommended that you visit the Old Quarter area as well.
Located on the northeast side of Hanoi, it’s an old town with traditional architecture and landmarks that persists to this day. During weekends, the streets become empty as the evening sky marks the closing of the road for motorised vehicles. In exchange, pedestrians can enjoy walking around the Old Quarter freely as shops begin to fill the streets. On top of that, there are other exciting and significant places to visit in the Old Quarter, as well.
Here are those 9 significant places to visit around the Old Quarter
1. Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre
Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre hosts a unique puppet theatre that is a part of preserved traditional Vietnam culture. For the price of VND 100,000 or S$5, you’ll witness a one hour-story of the water puppets, accompanied by the Vietnamese musical orchestra. Its unique and well-preserved cultural take on puppet theatre is so good that no Hanoi hotels in Vietnam can host this opera.
However, take note that the S$5 ticket fee doesn’t include an additional fee for taking pictures or recording. Plus, the ticket itself is popularly sought-after and sold quickly, so you’d have to chope before visiting the theatre.
Address: 57B Đinh Tiên Hoàng, Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
2. Dong Xuan Market
The largest market in Hanoi is located in the Old Quarter. Dong Xuan Market sells a very diverse range of products, making it the place to be when shopping around Hanoi hotels. Although the ground floor that hosts the wet market isn’t too neat, the upper floors are cleaner. Not to mention, the wholesale price of the products is so cheap, you might end up bringing home more than two bags.
Even if you’re not there for shopping, you can still admire the building design, inspired by Soviet architecture. Inside and out, most of the building details are still preserved, giving you a taste of the authentic vintage Soviet building.
Address: Đồng Xuân, Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam
3. Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple
If you plan to go jogging and enjoy a cup of coffee outside of any Hanoi hotels, visit Hoan Kiem Lake. It is a magnificent and clean lake that surrounds an 18th-century pagoda called Ngoc Son Temple. The lake itself is filled with people who exercise, jog and practise line dancing and Tai Chi. Therefore, it’s best to enjoy the ambience of the lake in the morning as you sip the traditional Vietnamese coffee.
But what about the temple? Before you enter the building, an entrance ticket with the price of VND 20,000 or S$1.20 has to be bought. Once you do, you’ll be welcomed with several altars made for Tran Hung Dao, the military leader. A large bronze bust of the leader, many ancient ceramics, and a preserved giant turtle that weighs around 250 kilograms can also be found there.
Address: Hang Trong, Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi, Vietnam
4. Saint Joseph Cathedral of Hanoi
Founded in 1886, Saint Joseph Cathedral is arguably the oldest preserved Roman Catholic Church around Hanoi. But before being structured as a church, it was originally a Bao Thien Pagoda that was demolished by the French. It stands tall and proud with the design inspiration drawn from the neo-Gothic style of Notre Dame de Paris. And due to the size, you can even see the majestic building from several Hanoi hotels close to the area.
Address: 40 Nhà Chung, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
5. Hoa Lo Prison (Maison Centrale Hanoi)
It must be so siao to think that a prison can be a tourist attraction. But believe it or not, Hoa Lo Prison is a very significant building still intact to this day. Also known as Maison Centrale Hanoi, the inside of this colonial-styled prison was torn down with only several cells remaining. This happened in the 1990s when many parts of the prison were also brought down. Rumours suggested that about 600 inmates could be held in this prison before the breakdown.
Among tourists with high interest in war history, Hoa Lo Prison is a very popular landmark in the Old Quarter. Because of that, several Hanoi hotels and office complexes can be found around the prison.
Address: 1 Hoả Lò, Trần Hưng Đạo, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
6. Bach Ma Temple
Founded in the 11th century during Emperor Ly Thai To’s era, Bach Ma Temple is the oldest temple of its type. Its symbol is a white horse, believed that it guided the Emperor during the construction of Hanoi Citadel. As for the building itself, Bach Ma Temple has been restored several times with numerous changes throughout the centuries. One big change was the addition of the phoenix altar and a Confucius shrine in the 18th century.
There are quite a lot of local Hanoi hotels surrounding Bach Ma Temple, making it accessible for many people. Plus, the entrance ticket to the temple itself is also free of charge. However, considering its significance and status as a religious facility, you’ll need to watch your dress code and manners.
Address: 76 Hàng Buồm, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
7. Long Bien Bridge
Do you believe an old bridge in Old Quarter plays an important role in the creation of a certain magnificent tower? You should because Long Bien Bridge is an ancient bridge that still exists to this day since the French Colonialism. Despite being rustic, the structure is very powerful and firm for many decades. Because of that, French people made a blueprint out of this bridge to build a gigantic tower in France. And that tower is now known as the Eiffel Tower.
Unfortunately, there are no Hanoi hotels to stay at around Long Bien Bridge. So, if you don’t rent a vehicle, you can reach Long Bien Bridge from the capital city to Long Bien Railway Station.
Address: Cầu Long Biên, Ngọc Thụy, Long Biên, Hà Nội, Vietnam
8. Ancient House at 87 Ma May Street
There are 14 recorded oldest houses built in the 19th century in the Old Quarter. This particular house at 87 Ma May Street is one of them and open for the public. Here, you can see the pipe-shaped structural design of the house is still standing proud after decades have passed. Several ancient furniture and household items of the same age are also displayed. Too bad there aren’t any Hanoi hotels with the same age and structural design as this one.
Address: 87 Phố Mã Mây, Hàng Buồm, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
9. Hanoi Old Quarter Night Market
The last attraction point in Old Quarter is also the cream of the crop. During the night, no vehicles are allowed to drive around the area, as shops and food stalls begin to invade the street. From the local Hanoi hotels around, there are many clothing, merchandise, and food stalls scattered from Hang Dao Street to Dong Xuan Market. You will definitely enjoy the ambience of this market, even though the items sold aren’t too unique to buy.
However, there’s one very intriguing thing about this market: Everyone can barter items. That’s right, put your wallet back and save money by trading items of similar value with the vendors. And speaking about a wallet, you’d best watch out for any potential pickpocket in this crowded market, hor.
Address: Hàng Đào, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
For a more immersive experience, try staying at Hanoi hotels around the Old Quarter
While it’s possible to stay at whatever Hanoi hotels you choose, staying at Hanoi Old Quarter hotels has its perks. Aside from easier access to local landmarks, they can give you a better perspective of enjoying the trip to the old town. All of those can be made even better if you stay at the hotels with the best value-for-money. Here are three of the best hotels you can find at Old Quarter:
1. Silk Queen Hotel
At the centre of Hanoi lies Silk Queen Hotel, situated very close to many exciting Old Quarter landmarks. From here, it only takes 5 minutes to walk to the Hoan Kiem Lake, Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, and St. Joseph Cathedral. As for the hotel itself, it offers quality service with a comfortable room, outdoor pool, and free breakfast. For the price of S$65, it’s a pretty sensible and comfortable hotel to stay at, so shiok lah.
Address: 100 Hàng Gai, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Distance from Noi Bai International Airport: About 32km or 52 minute drive
2. Splendid Holiday Hotel
With a kilometre distance from the centre of the city and a few minutes away from other landmarks, it’s an ideal hotel. Splendid Holiday has everything you need for a comfortable hotel, such as a fridge, free WiFi, car rental, and breakfast service. It’s also the closest hotel to St. Joseph Cathedral with only 2 minutes away from there. And compared to other Hanoi hotels around Old Quarter, its S$50 rate is a bang for the buck.
Address: 16 Thọ Xương, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Distance from Noi Bai International Airport: About 33km or 55 minute drive
3. Hanoi Royal Palace Hotel 2
For a new boutique hotel in the Old Quarter, Hanoi Royal Palace Hotel 2 doesn’t pull any punches. Straight off the bat, it offers convenient facilities like room hair dryer and fridge, full-service spa, ATM, restaurant/bar, and free breakfast. All of those for the price of S$44, which is pretty reasonable, lor. It may even be one of the best value-for-money Hanoi Old Quarter hotels you can find.
Furthermore, it’s very close to Hoa Lo Prison, St. Joseph Cathedral, and Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre. And if you walk a little bit further, you can find Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple.
Address: 95 Hàng Bông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam.
Distance from Noi Bai International Airport: About 33km or 52 minute drive
So, here’s the final verdict about the Old Quarter area
Yes, it is a very recommended area to visit when you’re staying at Hanoi. Rather, if you arrive in Vietnam for the first time, the first place you should visit is the Old Quarter. With lots of ancient and preserved landmarks, Old Quarter has tons of stories to tell about the rich history of Vietnam. If you plan to stay in the Old Quarter, make sure to chope a room at the aforementioned best Hanoi hotels around the area.