Hanoi is a favourite tourist destination in Vietnam. If you are a shopaholic, Hanoi’s Old Quarter is the best place for you. The place was built way back 2000 years ago during the 11th century where craftsmen from various villages use to sell crafts there and it was infested with snakes and alligators.
Hanoi’s Old Quarter represents the true cultural spirit of the country. The 36 streets in Hanoi’s Old Quarter has a historical and architectural importance which can be treasured in a traveller's diary.
The 36 streets have evolved from a cluster of villages and acquired the reputation as crafts selling areas giving it a unique look to the tourists. Situated in between the Lake Restored Sword, the long Bien Bridge, a former city rampart and a citadel wall, Old Quarter in Hanoi gives you a fantastic shopping experience quite cherishable in the lifetime.
The place is around 45 minutes away from Noi Bai International Airport and 15 minutes from Hanoi Railway Station. There are many hotels nearby where you can lodge and take a look around the 36 streets without much effort.
You can stay in the Apricot Hotel, Hanoi Allure Hotel, Silk Queen Grand Hotel, Hanoi La Castella Hotel and many more. Among the cheap ones, you can opt for Golden legend Hotel, Hanoi 3B Hotel, Bodega Hotel and there are much more to make your stay comfortable.
Autumn ( from September to November) and Spring ( from March to April) is the best time to visit Hanoi for a shopping experience in the 36 streets since the weather supports your shopping pleasure giving you a sense of satisfaction and enjoyment.
The 36 streets in Old Quarter offers you a variety of products which you need to buy at a bargained price. If you are a good negotiator, 36 streets of 36 Old Quarter is the perfect place to shop. You can find wooden bowls in Bat Dan street, China Bowls in Bat su street, fried and roasted fish in Cha ca, fine and delicate string instruments in Chan Cam, a big rice market in Cho Gao and many more.
Sandals can be found in Hai Tuong street whereas items of silver, rafts, cotton, basket, sails, brushes can be found in Hang Bac, Hang Be, Hang Bo, Hang Bong, Hang Buom, Hang But and Hang Ca streets respectively.
In the evening, you can take a stroll in the 4 old streets of Old Quarter- Hang Dao, Hang Ngang, Hang Duong and Dong Xuan. Here the night market is available for the city people as well as tourists. In the Old Quarter, one cannot miss the temple and pagodas like Ma May Temple, Ba Chua Temple,Cau Dong Pagoda and Kim Co Pagoda.
Hanoi gives you a perfect shopping experience where you would find some unique items which you can take home. These items are as follow:
Most of such silk items you can find in Hang Gai street of 36 Old Quarter. It is also known as Silk Street. If you bring a lighter with you, you can choose the real silk in this market. The silk which is real will burn whereas the acrylic silk will melt.
You can stroll around to choose the best ones and there are good shops where you can find Khai Silk, Dong Silk and Tang Mai Silk. Khai silk is mostly found in 96 Hang Gai whereas Dong silk in 102 Hang Gai and Tang Mai silk in 66 Hang Gai. You cannot bargain in these shops and the prices are generally very high.
Price Range: The items range within 10 USD
These types of paintings are created by coating the wood with thick layers of resin which is dried and then the next coating is added. It’s a masterpiece created by the craftsmen and one the best selling items in Old Quarter.
It is found in No 80 Hang Gai Street in variety of sizes and designs. You can also get good paintings in Hang Be and Hang Bac streets of Old Quarter.
Price Range: The item range within 8 USD.
Best Handicrafts in the Old Quarter of Hanoi are present in Hang Gai, To Tich, Hang Khai and Cau go streets. These handicrafts include lacquerware, mother-of-pearl inlaid furniture, paintings and antiques.
Price Range: The items range from 3-7 USD.
Gia Ngu street in the Old Quarter is also known as Underwear street. Here you can get variety of underwear, socks and children’s clothes of good quality.
The quality of merchandise is worth appreciating in this street and is also pocket friendly.
Price Range: The items range within 4 USD.
Variety of herbs and medicines
Lan Ong street in Old Quarter named after the famous physician in Vietnam Lan Ong. He was also commonly known as “Lazy Old man” and used to sell wide range of traditional medicines and herbs for various diseases.
Also if you are looking for women’s accessories you can shop from Cau go street, go for tools purchasing from Thuoc Bac street, for candies and wine , you can buy it from Hang Buom street, for shoes you can source it from Hang Dou and for stationary you can buy it from Hang Can street.
Price Range: The items range within 10 USD.
It is also a unique item in Vietnam. Hang Bac street sells such art in the form of reproduced items on a large scale.
Other than these items, Hanoi’s Old Quarter: 36 streets also sells onions, paper, Hemp, Chicken,sugar, copper, pipes, oils, leather items, jar, mats, threads, tin, charcoal, votive paper, comb, hats, fans,incense, cases,bamboo, barrel, cloth, drum and many more.
Tips for shopping in Old Quarter
Shopping in Hanoi is a pleasure. You get wide range of items which are very cheap and also there are expensive items in some of the precious shops.
One must be careful while bargaining and should follow the tips mentioned below:
Follow the Vietnamese keyword while shopping
In Hanoi’s Old Quarter, you should follow some of the Vietnamese keywords while shopping which can help you a lot. Please do master some of the key words like “Bao Nhieu Tien” which means “How much is this?” and then “Dat Quo” which mean “too expensive”.
If you are fed up with the exorbitant price, you can use the word “Oi Giol Oi’s” which means “oh my God.” Be open and ready to negotiate. If you become very rigid, the place may become terrible for you.
Also use your smile while shopping even if you reject an item for buying, please do smile.
You must bargain
Bargain is very much indispensable and a perfect part of purchase while shopping there. Many shops keep fixed price and many of them charge very high price for a particular object which is a culture at Vietnam.
Try you bargaining power. Most of the bargain ends up at a very low reasonable price.
A useful local friend would be helpful
If you have a local friend, please do take his help. In fact people at Hanoi are very friendly and they and they never mind helping the buyers in excellent shopping. Just see how your local friend bargain for an item and seeing that you would be confident in doing so.
Choose the right Object
Please do look before you choose the right item for shopping. There are more than 100 shops selling the same article.
Please look carefully and see the quality at a very reasonable price.
Mid - Autumn Festivals at Hanoi’s Old Quarter
Mid- Autumn festival at Hanoi brings you some of the beautiful things to shop at Old Quarter. You can get lots of traditional toys and handmade lanterns in the Hang Ma street which becomes very busy at that time.
The festival is known as Sapa. During that time the whole of Hanoi is engaged in various types of Concerts, sports tournament, cycling, ethnic dances and many more. At Old Quarter, you can experience Lion dance and many drum performances.
The Hang Ma street, Dong Xuan and Hang Giay streets become the cultural venues during the festival which also runs through the October month. The festival is also called the Harvest festival celebrated by ethnic Chinese and Vietnamese people.
Delicious food at Old Quarter
In the Old Quarter, you get various types of Vietnamese food like Grilled pork with noodles which is known as Bun cha. You can also have grilled fish with noodles which is known as Bun Ca.
Also try world’s best sandwich known as Ban My made up of unique ingredients of Hanoi. If you are a vegetarian go for noodle soup known as Pho which is extremely tasty and worth having.
Nightlife at 36 Old Quarter
Nightlife at Old Quarter is very much inexpensive since you can get the draft Beer at Bai Jo Junction. Also try wide range of alcohols available there with DJ dance and live bands.
Taste some of the imported beer like the Tiger which you get within 20000 VND. In addition you can have various types of snack like steamed peanuts, fried tofu, skewered meats and beef jerky. You get to sit on plastic chairs at the Bai Jo Junction and enjoy the crowd. The opening hours for Bai Jo Junction is From 11am till late night.