I was born and grown up in Saigon, the city of youthful and bustling. I also used to be taken to visiting Hanoi by my parents. It was very unexpected! For me, Hanoi has brought a nostalgic and peaceful color, which is different from the modern and vibrant life I knew in Saigon.
Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam with thousands of civilizations. And “Hanoi’s old quarter – 36 streets” is a close name that goes into the subconscious of each person in a simple and rustic way. Where is the name “Hanoi – 36 streets” derived from? Let me tell you the reasons why this is one of the popular Vietnam motorbike tours!
As its name implies, Hanoi Old Quarter has existed for a long time and lasted more than 2000 years. Referring to the history of Hanoi 36 streets, we have to return to the Ly – Tran dynasty, when commercial residential areas began to take form, people throughout the northern delta gathered and the ancient town became the busiest place in the imperial city these days. It is located between Hoan Kiem Lake, Long Bien Bridge, a former city rampart and a citadel wall.
The origin of the name “Hanoi – 36 streets”
People call the “36 streets” because every street in this town is named after the kind of goods traded by merchants. They built their houses and sold one kind of goods together because they came from the same place. Each street gathers the craftsmen from the famous villages around Thang Long ancient city, which turned each into a small village in the heart of Hanoi.
Any street in this area starts with the word “Hàng” – which means merchandise or shop. And it is followed by the names of some traditional crafts such as “Hang Bong” (which sells variety of cotton blankets), “Hang Bac” (specializing in silver jewelries), “Hang Chieu” (selling all kinds of mats), Hang Mam (selling sauces such as fish sauce) or “Hang Dao” (selling silk and fabric). Enjoying these streets through any Vietnam motorbike tour is even more adventurous!
Architecture and culture
This is a characteristic feature of the old town with the structure of pipes, tiled roofs and the small shops at the front for business. The pictures of ancient houses and tile roofs have also entered the painting, poetry of Vietnamese literature. The architectural style has a long history, which was influenced from the 18th and 19th centuries. Unlike in Saigon, the small houses are built closely together. Although they look small and sloppy, they still serve enough for the indispensable needs of people around here.
The old quarter is crowded and modern, but it has retained the traditional cultural values for a long time. Hanoi preserves about 100 ancient architectural works, including temples, pagodas, and congregations, typically the Bach Ma temple in Hang Buom street, one of the quarters of Thang Long ancient.
Hanoi old town is famous for its food small pavement street vendors with idyllic streets. The food stalls are not as luxurious as the restaurants but the taste is delicious and the flavor is very “Hanoi”. Imagine that in the afternoon, sitting along the lakeside, we enjoy Trang Tien ice-cream and a kind of grilled rice snack – the specialties of Western Hanoi.
Hanoi’s cuisine is associated with the traditional dishes such as bun cha (noodle soup), vermicelli noodles, rice vermicelli (noodles), pho (noodles), etc. In Saigon, there is no lack of these kinds of dishes, but enjoying them at the place where it originated makes me never feel regret.
“Hanoi – 36 streets” is probably the journey which brought the most beautiful impression in my mind. The ancient culture and architecture of the Old Quarter are the most cultural values that history has left. Come to Hanoi and feel the ancient atmosphere this capital brings! Vietnam motorbike tours not only bring you joy but also a lot of tasty dishes which you should try.