In direct contrast to the relaxed, peaceful atmosphere in our hotel, life in the Old Quarter was bustling, hectic and oftentimes downright chaotic. After a big, buffet breakfast on our first day there–I had fresh fruits, muesli, homemade yogurt, flaky croissants & omelet plus two bowls of pho (oink, oink!)–we set off on foot to explore the area.
Lined with arts & crafts shops (showcasing silks, embroidery, silver & lacquer wares) and hole-in-the-wall restaurants (that specialize in only one dish like Bún cha, Cha Ca Thang Long, Bún bò Nam Bo), the Old Quarter comes to life early everyday…
…with people setting up shop and plying their products at the crack of dawn.
Just a short walk away is the picturesque Hoan Kiem Lake where the neighborhood locals do their morning meditations and a bit of t’ai chi.
A lively, century-old working neighborhood, the Old Quarter is a taste of authentic Hanoi with the original layout preserved…
…and streets named after the different trades found in the place (we were on the silk street, naturally LOL!).
Full of textures, smells & sounds, there’s nothing quite like the streets to give you an authentic first taste of a city! 🙂
*Photos by Ito Ocampo