Holiday attractions Hanoi right now by Hanoi By Locals: This skinny alley and its train line, about halfway between the Imperial Citadel and St. Joseph’s Cathedral in central Hanoi, has become world famous in recent years due to the fact that passing trains run with only around a 20-centimeter gap between the train and the alley’s houses. Due to tourists acting dangerously and not getting out of the way of oncoming trains, the government decided to ban tourism on the street in 2019, and shut down the alley’s cafés due to safety fears. Since then there has been some relenting of attitude, and some cafés along the route have been reopened. If you’re here to photograph the trains, make sure to obey the street locals and café staff just before the train passes. The train schedule changes regularly, but there are usually more opportunities to see the trains go by on the weekends. Discover more details at https://hanoibylocals.com/hanoi-street-food-tour/.
The old quarter is a mesh of the old and the new, as antique narrow streets snake between old brick buildings, covered in modern motorbikes and street vendors. This region of Hanoi is a mix of French Colonial architecture and ancient temples, and sits along the shore of Hoan Kiem Lake. It is the center of many attractions in Hanoi, from temples to the water puppet show to its street market. As the quarter was designed around the market, you will find that the streets here are all named for the kind of products that were once sold along its sidewalks, from wood to silver to paper.
Established in 1889, Dong Xuan Market is housed within a four-storey Soviet-style building on the northern edge of Hanoi Old Quarter. It’s also known as Hanoi’s largest indoor market, offering a wide range of goods such as fresh produce, souvenirs, accessories and clothing, as well as electronic and household appliances. Dong Xuan Market has a bustling wet market section on the ground floor, where locals shop for seafood, meat, and vegetables while the back section sells an array of pets (cats, dogs, and fish) and fresh flowers from all across Vietnam. If you’re looking to shop for souvenirs, head to the upper levels, where you can find numerous stalls selling tee shirts, fabrics, school uniforms, handbags, handicrafts, all of which are sold at wholesale prices.
This theater celebrates a peasant art form that began in the rice paddies over a thousand years ago. Puppets were simply carved and puppeteers would stand in the water of the paddies, using it as a prop, and act out traditional activities like farming, or legends like the golden turtle and the emperor. The more modern version continues the use of water and audience participation. Traditional Vietnamese instruments perform an opera that narrates the puppets’ actions, and musicians will interact with puppets, encouraging the heroes and warning them of impending danger. Guests of the theater needn’t brave the monsoon weather that once would pour on outdoor audiences, but can sit and enjoy a meal while discovering this ancient dramatic art.
The city’s most interesting religious building is this beautiful and incredibly peaceful Confucian temple, originally built as a university in the 11th century. Today, the Temple of Literature stands as a tribute to the nation’s scholars. It was here, in the medieval era, that the philosophy of Confucianism and literature was taught, and near the entranceway, you can still see the names of students who studied here, etched into a series of pillars. Inside, a series of manicured gardens lead to pavilions and a well-preserved pagoda where a statue of Confucius sits. Discover more info at Hanoi By Locals.
Packed with charming colonial architecture, Buddhist temples and pagodas, the Old Quarter, located near Hoan Kiem Lake in Hoan Kiem District, is Hanoi’s major commercial district. Its heart and soul is exposed in the ancient commercial streets which are named after their original businesses dating back about 1,000 years. Though most of the specialties (cotton, jewellery, herbs, and silk) have changed over time and have been replaced with a variety of modern-day commodities and services, visitors can still appreciate some of the original goods as well as get a feel of rich old Vietnamese customs.Expect to find plenty of hip cafés, bars, a variety of restaurants, bakeries, boutique shops and art galleries in this historical area.