The Old Quarter of Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital & second largest city, is a district of narrow, tree-lined, scooter infested streets full of ancient traders and general mishmash that’s unique to Hanoi.
This area of the city has been a lively trading centre since the 13th century when Hanoi’s artisan guilds established themselves here, each taking a different street. Since then each of the Old Quarter’s 36 narrow streets have been named after the principal commodity produced and sold there – Paper Street, Silver Street, Hat Street etc. While most of the streets now focus on different commodities, several continue to produce the same goods they have for hundreds of years. It’s an amazing, assault-on-the-senses district to stroll around, full of the classic sights and sounds of Vietnam: traders in conical hats; traditionally dressed schoolgirls on their bikes; people zipping here and there on their scooters. It’s a charged area of a charged city and exploring it on foot provides photo opportunities at every turn.