While there are plenty of exciting new things to explore when you land in Vietnam, Hanoi is never out of an itinerary of the Vietnam trip for the richness in its history, culture, people, and lifestyle. Different from Ho Chi Minh City, another big city in Vietnam, Hanoi keeps a lighter color in the pace of development and appearance. It does not means a lack of full tourism services is found in Hanoi, but it seems to take you to the past of itself, where you will find out traditional cultures, old houses covered with mosses, long-lasting local businesses, and fascinating details about its history. Let’s take time to get sense of this peaceful city before making a trip there.
Hanoi – a city of the Old Quarter
Hanoi is famous for the Old Quarter with 36 old streets, which have been taken account as a typical symbol of this city for a long time. It is astonishing to know that the Old Quarter still remains its traditional charms and embraces nostalgic memories through ages.
Located to the northwest of Hoan Kiem District, the Old Quarter is viewed as the capital’s heart. When it comes to this area, most Vietnamese people think about 36 old streets; each of the streets carries a unique feature of the capital.
In the Ly – Tran dynasty, the Old Quarter was the name of an urban area situated to the East of Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, and next to Red River. By that time, each street in the area was where a specific product was traded, so it was easy for the locals to find things they needed in daily life. That is the reason why you see nowadays there is a “Hàng” word (meanings goods) in the name of each street.
each street in the area was where a specific product was traded in
For instance, Phố Hàng Thiếc (Tin Streets) is the street where you can just find tin items, and Phố Hàng Mã is the street just of votive paper. Sometimes, there are other items appearing in each street of a specific product in the Old Quarter, such as Phố Hàng Quạt (Street of fans) has fans, pictures, parallel sentences, etc.
One interesting image emerging from the Old Quarter is a series of mossy houses creating a mysterious and miraculous look. Some of the those houses were built at the beginning of the 20th century and have small trails inside. It is sure that you are rapidly convinced by this classical beauty.
Hanoi – a city of calm people
If Saigon in the south is a dynamic and busy prospect, Hanoi in the north is portrayed as a more peaceful land. If Saigonese are always in a rush, Hanoians are calmer. Perhaps, people in Hanoi are influenced by communal culture more strongly than Saigonese. They take care of others and tend to become calmer while talking to others. It is not rare to spot the image in which Hanoians are slowly pouring hot tea and having a sip at the sidewalk. They are always happy and have bright smiles on their face. In the early morning, it is easy to see many people laughing and walking around the park in a relaxing manner.
Compared to Saigonese, Hanoians ride their bikes leisurely. If you come to visit Hanoi, one thing you must not be nervous about is that people are always careful with riding. Less scary is found while you are crossing the streets in the capital.
Hanoi – a city of culture and history
There are dozens of architectural structures closely connected with the culture and history of Vietnam. Each of the structures contains an exciting and meaningful story behind it, which makes people fall in love with Hanoi without awareness. That is the reason why Hanoi is referred to as a city of 1000 years of history. A visit to the historical sites in Hanoi is a way to echo back events and things happening in the Vietnamese history.
The glorious chapters in the history are gradually revealed when you land in each of the landmarks, and you will realize that Hanoi, even underwent changes in economy, society, and architecture, still keeps a classical color for its own. Traditional values of culture and history are easily found from small details, e.g. a family meal to great architecture.
Coming to Hanoi, do not lose out on destinations with deep meaning in history, such as Tran Quoc Pagoda, Hoa Lo Prison, Hoan Kiem Lake, One Pillar Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, and Vietnam Museum of Ethnology.