The Old Quarter is the cultural heart of Hanoi, where the pulse of life has been beating for nearly 2,000 years. Daily routine starts early and builds to a friendly bustle, while streets have distinct character and are named after the crafts once made there: silver, ladder, silk, paper.
St Joseph's Cathedral rings for mass regularly throughout the day, and travelers can follow the sound of the bells to check out its Neo-Gothic style. Huyen Thien Pagoda is another of the many temples peppered around this part of town, and the Old City Gate is one of four original entrances to the heart of the Royal City. It has survived over a thousand years. Take time to sample the spirit, atmosphere and shopping on offer here; nothing says Hanoi like its Old Quarter.
Hanoi Old Quarter is a triangular area of approximately 36 streets centered next to Lake Ho Hoan Kiem. Areas by the lake itself are more touristy and expensive, head into its heart to find true local gems. The Old Quarter gets very busy on weekends, so why not do as the locals do and start early to avoid peak crowds?