Asia Travel

36 Streets – Ancient Hanoi

Chapter Five

Location: Vietnam

We are winding down our time in Vietnam. Each place we have visited has been so different. Although when asked the question “what is my favorite?” I answer Hoi An – the reality is each place has been special in its own way.

Our time in Hanoi has been very relaxed. We have spent time just wandering around for the most part in the Old Quarter. It’s a fascinating place.

Wooden toys and gifts

Hanoi’s Old Quarter has a history that spans 2,000 years.  It is the oldest continually occupied area in Vietnam.

Old Hanoi is often referred to as the 36 Streets. In


ancient times merchants or guilds occupied certain streets with various workshops.  Today the ancient way is still obvious around the quarter with each guild or street still representing a certain trade.  The website Things Asian explains the current system –

Some streets have achieved fame by their inclusion in popular guidebooks. Han Gai Street offers silk clothing ready-made and tailored,

The pots and pans street

embroidery, and silver products. Hang Quat, the street that formerly sold silk and feather fans, now stuns the visitor by its brilliantly colored funeral and festival flags and religious objects and clothing. To Thinh Street connects the above two and is still the wood turner’s street. Hang Ma glimmers with shiny

Scissors and Knives

paper products, such as gift wrappings, wedding decorations and miniature paper objects to burn for the dead. Lan Ong Street is a sensual delight of textures and smells emanating from the sacks of herbal medicinal products: leaves, roots, barks, and powders.”

Walking around the Quarter you turn on one street and it’s the scissors and knife street. Next it’s the paper products street. Then there is the

Zippers. All kinds.

pots and pans street. Today we stumbled on the buttons and bling street.  And one store selling only zippers.

It’s so fun to see how the rest of the world lives and functions. No Costco. No Target. No Safeway. It’s working for them and has been for 2000 years.

Vietnam – Fabulous!

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1 Comment

  • Reply Alice

    I’ve heard a lot about The Old Quarter in Hanoi and I really want to explore it soon. Thanks for sharing!

    December 25, 2018 at 8:45 pm
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