If you are a first-time visitor to Vietnam's capital, Hanoi, you should go visiting the Old Quarter, a maze of streets dating back to the 13th century and is only a few minutes' walk from Hoan Kiem Lake.
The quarter has the original street layout and architecture of old Hanoi. Each street then had merchants and households specialized in a particular trade like silk traders or jewelry. Now its narrow streets are packed with family-owned shops selling silks, toys, artwork, embroidery, food, coffee, watches, and silk ties. Here you will be jostled by passing motorbikes, cyclos, and hawkers with shoulder-poles hanging pendulous burdens of local produce. Souvenirs worth purchasing are embroidery, lacqueware and propaganda art. Good bargains can be made here so long as you remember to haggle the price down. Apart from shopping, you can also enjoy local cuisine specialties as well as hopping from clubs to bars. If you prefer to see more local lifestyle, go to the night market in the heart of the district that opens for business every weekend evening with various clothing, souvenirs and food. You can explore the quarter either by rickshaw or cyclo, which we are happy to offer.
As Hanoi is a gateway with dozens of transnational flights you can easily visit the nearby countries. Check out our 17-Day Vietnam with Angkor Wat & Luang Prabang.