Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, is captivating for many reasons but what defines the soul of this city is its street life. Spending at least two days talking on leisure walks to see the local life or watching history go by slowly from a quiet cafe helps you understand Hanoi better. Behind hustle and bustle of life, Hanoi somehow remains peaceful corners reviving old memories.
The streets in the Hanoi Old Quarter and the French Quarter are home to colonial buildings that still maintain much of their historic appeal with saffron yellow facades and green window frames. Despite the old look, the locals seem to cherish this picture of the olden days of Hanoi. Some buildings are transformed into vintage cafes or charming restaurants with a lovely sunny courtyard. Hanoians always find a special place for their soul to withdraw.
A typical colonial building with saffron yellow walls and green windows.
Despite the old look, the locals seem to cherish this picture of the olden days of Hanoi.
Wall mural on Nguyen Khac Hieu street.
Small streets are lined with local shops, restaurants, and cafes. It’s almost impossible to walk on pavement without bumping into a crowd of hungry customers slurping Pho for their breakfast. To alternate, local people have a long list of Bún Chả, Bánh Mỳ, Chả Cá Lã Vọng, Bánh Cuốn, Bun Bo Hue, and so on. All are just as delicious and easy to find everywhere, anytime in the day. Open-air cafes invite people to come for a cup of Ca Phe Sua Da and share small chats with friends. Surprisingly, people always find a quiet place for themselves in this 8-million population city.
When the sun goes down in Hanoi, the streets come to life. It’s time for visitors who want to get up close personally to the culture of the city. Sit shoulder to shoulder with locals on the sidewalk, order a cold beer, and you find yourself in a culture that the locals favorite: beer-drinking culture.
Ta Hien Street - the most well-known Beer Street in Hanoi.
On Hanoi streets, it’s easy to catch a street vendor walking with heavy loads. They use a shoulder pole or bicycle to help them move easily through small alleys. Most of them are women, come from the countryside, walk from street to street 10 hours a day regardless of sunny or rainy days. These women carry on their shoulders not only fruits, vegetables, and local snacks, but also the livelihood of a family. Street vendors have always been a part of Hanoi for centuries.
Street vendors have been a significant image of Hanoi throughout its long history.
With carrying poles, they carry their goods easily on small streets and alleys.
Millions of travelers have been in love with Hanoi's corners. Many say that it's a city with a soul. Find out more about this city with us.
(Images by Tran Duc Hanh)