Wandering around this unique ancient area, you will get lost in a totally different world from the rest of the capital and discover things you haven’t seen in your life: Hanoi attractions, the smallest alley or some hidden spots which are far from tourist eyes. The rule #1: There is NO RULE at all. There’s nothing better than traveling with a friendly local guide in the Hanoi Old Quarter Tour. During this 3-hour walking tour, travelers will be able to explore the spectacular cultural and historical beauty of celebrated landscapes such as Hoan Kiem Lake, St. Cathedral, Bach Ma temple, Long Bien bridge and so on. Whether you have a passion for Vietnamese food, culture, history or just prefer seeing the real life of Hanoian and hearing about the legends of this ancient, there is definitely something worth experiencing.
Price: $15 per person
Stop 1: Hoan Kiem Lake & Turtle Tower
Hoan Kiem Lake, which means “Lake of Returned Sword”, plays an important role for Hanoi citizens in many aspects. The Lake is a favorite destination of tourists as well because of the harmony among nature, architecture, and people. In the past, people called it as Luc Thuy Lake, but in the 15th century, it was named Hoan Kiem Lake after a famous historical legend of King Le Thai To, one of the greatest heroes of Vietnam. Turtle Tower is one of Hanoi’s most iconic attractions, symbolizing the patriotic pride of the local population. You might not know, this tower has a unique combination of Vietnamese and French colonial architecture – with Western gothic arches at its first two stories combined with the hip roof of Vietnamese temple’s art style. Interestingly, on the top of Turtle Tower there used to stand a version of the Statue of Liberty, placed there by the French.
Stop 2: Ngoc Son Temple
Ngoc Son Temple, which is prominent in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake, is a destination not to be missed when traveling to Hanoi. Ngoc Son Temple was built around the 19th century and become one of the typical architecture in Hanoi. It is not only a famous spiritual tourist destination but also for local people to come and pray for the good luck.
The name of the temple translates to ‘Temple of the Jade Mountain’ and is dedicated to war hero General Tran Hung Dao, who led Vietnamese people to miraculously defeated Mongol invaders. You probably don’t know the Mongol army used to conquer the world and set up an empire stretching from Asia to Europe. Nothing could stop the onrush of their powerful and intrepid cavalry. But only Vietnamese people could drove back them three times and strongly kept the independence for the country.
Stop 3: White Horse Temple
In the middle of the Old Quarter, the Bach Ma Temple is said to be the oldest and holiest temple in the city, which was originally founded in the 9th century, over a thousand years ago. This temple is located on Hang Buom street, which was originally a main trading and residential district of Guangdong – Chinatown area, being famous for sail business. During French colonial, this street was also known as Rue des Voiles.
The translation of Bach Ma is White Horse and this refers to a story behind the construction of the Temple. King Ly Thai To had been struggling building the temple as its walls kept collapsing. It is said that a white horse delineated the best area to build the temple with its hooves to help the king in constructing the temple.
You enter the temple through some ancient wooden doors after which you will be able to see the beautiful decorated interior and a red-lacquered funeral palanquin. Inside the temple you will find a statue of the white horse, a shrine to Confucius and a Phoenix Altar for offerings to the four seasons. Bach Ma Temple is still actively used by worshippers who come there to burn incense and pray, it is a well maintained small temple that is easily reached and offers an opportunity to see locals practice their beliefs.
Stop 4: Long Bien Bridge
Being an unique architecture everlasting with ups and downs of Hanoi capital, Long Bien Bridge has become one of the symbols of the city. The bridge is not only a traffic construction but also a living historical relic. Undergoing French and American wars, Long Bien Bridge has witnessed many historic moments.
Long Bien Bridge was constructed from 1989 to 1902 during French occupation of the country. Not many people know that, with the length of over 2km, Long Bien bridge used to be the second longest bridge in the world, just after Brooklyn Bridge from American.
Interestingly, Long Bien Bridge is the only bridge in Hanoi which allows tourists to take a walk along the train track, taste some desserts or buy fresh vegetable or fish from the vendors on the bridge. What is more, visitors coming to Hanoi said that Long Bien Bridge is the best place to look at the sunset and taking some nice photos.
Stop 5: Dong Xuan Market
Dong Xuan market was founded in 1889 by the French and named after its location. At that time, the market was a favorable trading place, especially after the French built Long Bien bridge. You might not know, every ancient street in Hanoi was named after their original business, which were then being removed to Dong Xuan market under the French domination. That is the reason why all of the names are started with the word Hang (means Product) and the word following is what they are selling: Hang Ca sells Fish (Ca means Fish) etc.
Stop 6: Saint Joseph Cathedral
Saint Joseph Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral with gothic style, which was built about 120 years ago. In 1882, after the French army dominated Hanoi, the cathedral was constructed and completed in 1886. It was built on the land formerly belonging to Bao Thien pagoda, which was built under Ly dynasty.
The first Christmas took place in the cathedral in 1887. Since then, the cathedral is always crowded with hundreds of people including both Christians and non-Christians at the weekend or during religious holidays like Christmas.
You might not know, St. Joseph’s Cathedral was not spared and it was closed down until Christmas Eve of 1990, when Mass was permitted to be celebrated there again.
- Additional Info
Departure Point: Traveler pickup is offered
- We pick you up at any hotel in around old quarter area.
- If not our meeting point will be at 72 Hang Bac.
Return Details : Returns to original departure point
- Extra food and drink.
- TIP for the tour guides are also included.
Things to note:
When you book a tour, usually our guides take you to the places listed. Your tour can be customized according to your request, time and the meeting point.
For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
- Confirmation will be received at time of booking
- This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate
Hanoi Old Quarter Tour
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