Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital lies in the North of the country and is one of the country’s top tourist hot spots. It offers French-colonial architecture, a rich food culture and a long history (the city celebrated its millennium in 2010.)
The most well known and important districts in Hanoi are Ba Dinh District (aka the French Quarter) where the government offices are located and Hoan Kiem District (aka the Old Quarter) which is considered the city’s business hub and main tourist destination.
One of Hanoi’s most common sights is that of streets packed with scooters, bicycles and cars swarming around pedestrians like a school of fish.
Hanoi Walking Streets – Hoan Kiem Lake
Along with famous destinations like Ngoc Son Temple, Hoa Lo prison historical relic site, and Bach Ma Temple, the pedestrian zone around Hoan Kiem Lake in downtown Hanoi has become an attraction that lure throngs of visitors to the capital on the weekends. At present, the Hanoi pedestrian street around Hoan Kiem Lake has been gradually becoming one of the capital’s tourist attractions, a place for people to go out, play, and slow down between the roads.
The pedestrian is so crowded especially during the weekends, and roads surrounding the area are blocked with barricades so that the pedestrians can freely walk around on the streets on Saturday and Sunday.
St. Joseph’s Cathedral (Vietnamese: Nhà thờ Lớn Hà Nội, Nhà thờ Chính tòa Thánh Giuse; French: Cathédrale Saint-Joseph)
Construction began in 1886, with the architectural style described as resembling Notre Dame de Paris. The church was one of the first structures built by the French colonial government in Indochina when it opened in December 1886. It is the oldest church in Hanoi.
The cathedral conducts mass several times during the day. For Sunday evening mass at 6:00 PM, large crowds spill out into the streets. The prayer hymns are broadcast and Catholics who are unable to enter the cathedral congregate in the street and listen to hymns.
The Old Quarter (Vietnamese: Phố cổ Hà Nội)
The Old Quarter is the name commonly given to the historical civic urban core of Hanoi, located outside the Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long. This quarter used to be the residential, manufacturing and commercial center, where each street was specialized in one specific type of manufacturing or commerce.
Another common name referring to approximately the same area is the 36 streets (Vietnamese: Hà Nội 36 phố phường), after the 36 streets or guilds that used to make up the urban area of the city.
Hanoi’s Long Biên Bridge
Images Source: Thẹ Prabster by Prabu (firstname.lastname@example.org), Prabu is a mathematics lecturer by profession for more than 15 years and currently based in Hanoi, Vietnam.