One of the best activities that many travelers always do when visiting Hanoi is to go shopping at the old quarter. Located in the heart of Ha Noi, the Old Quarter with its old-styled narrow streets is like a mixture between the ancient time and the dynamic vibe of a modern city. It just takes visitors a few minutes to walk there from Hoan Kiem Lake. The Old Quarter includes most family-owned shops that sell a variety of goods such as silk, artwork, embroidery, food, coffee, lacquerware products etc. Visiting this unique historical vestige, tourists may get lost in a different world where they can see no high-rise buildings.
1. THINGS WORTH TO BUY IN HANOI
Lacquerware are objects decoratively covered with lacquer. There are many different forms of lacquerware, it can be a painting, a bowl, a vase or a box. This kind of decorative arts attracts a lot of visitors when visiting Vietnam and they often buy some as souvenirs.
Vietnam is also famous for silk with good quality. Silk contributes to the charm of Ao Dai (Vietnamese national costume). Van Phuc silk village is the best known silk village in Vietnam, which is 8 km away to the southwest of Hanoi. However, tourists can buy silk in Old Quarter. Hang Gai, which is also known as Silk Street is the best place to buy high-quality, fashionable silk materials and traditional Vietnamese clothes like Ao Dai etc. This street is about 300 meters long with fashion boutiques and local tailor shops that have been opening for decades, where you can have your suit tailor-made.
Vietnamese hand embroidery is a 700- year-old tradition. Now it becomes a common cottage industry in Vietnam. With extraordinary patience, the artists select carefully each thread they use, and in several cases may incorporate up to 500 different types and colors of thread into each piece of art.
Bat Trang is the most popular and attractive pottery village in Hanoi. Visitors not only can buy pottery with a very cheap price but they also can make their own pottery.
2. 36 ANCIENT STREETS IN HANOI
People usually call “Ancient Hanoi” as “Old Quarter’s 36 Streets”. 36 streets with 36 simple names that represent for each product characteristic sold such as Hang Bac, Hang Bong, Hang Gao, Hang Duong etc. ”Hang” means merchandise or shop.
Today, there are some changes at the 36 streets. Some streets still keep their traditional products like Hang Ma, Hang Tre, Hang Thiec etc. Other streets no longer hold their traditional crafts but focus on other products such as Hang Buom (now sells candies and biscuits), Pho Ma May (offers travel services), Hang Than (sells Bánh Cốm – Vietnamese traditional cake) etc.
Below are some well-known streets in Hanoi that attract a lot of foreign visitors every year:
- Hang Bac: one of the oldest streets in Vietnam, dated from the 13th century. From the past till now, Hang Bac is famous for selling silver jewelry. Going along the road, you can find dozens of shops located closely. Products there can be customized as what customers want. That is the reason why thousands of travellers visit this street every year to buy gifts for their relatives.
- Hang Dao: This street is also one of the oldest streets in Vietnam. In the French Colonial time, Hang Dao Street was a trading center of silk products. Until now, it still remains its main role as the shopping center of Hanoi. Most of the shops sell clothing, travel products, watches etc. Customers can find a lot of types of fabric such as gauze, brocade, crepe, and muslin. On Friday and weekend nights, a lot of handicrafts are sold on this street, which creates a new special culture for Hanoi.
- Hang Duong: Belonging to the Old Quarter of Hanoi, Hang Duong Street still retains its typical flavor in processing and selling all kinds of sweets. A specialty of Hanoi is “ô mai” which are salted or sugared dry fruits. During Tet holiday, Vietnamese people always get 3 to 4 kinds of sweet dessert to invite their guests.
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