Hanoi's 36 streets

Hanoi's 36 streets

Which street has what?

More on Hanoi

The 36 streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter spread over a small area, but just try spending time here without getting lost! Here's a rundown of some of the main streets and what you can find there.

Travelfish says:
The east gate is the only original gate left around Hanoi's Old Quarter. Photo by: Samantha Brown.
The east gate is the only original gate left around Hanoi's Old Quarter. Photo: Samantha Brown

Some streets still specialise in selling certain objects, but only a few remain properly faithful to their original craft. Some of the original streets and their merchandise include Cho Gau for rice, Hang But for brushes, Hang Huong for incense and Hang Than for charcoal.

The etymology of the 36 behind the 36 streets is unclear. Some believe there may have in fact been 36 guilds originally, but it's also possible the 36 derives from four times nine, where four refers to north, south, east and west, and nine represents plenty.

Hang Ma is home mostly to colourful paper votive items. Photo by: Samantha Brown.
Hang Ma is home mostly to colourful paper votive items. Photo: Samantha Brown

These days aside from some 70 or so streets in the Old Quarter, there are plenty more little alleys to wander around, too. While you wander, keep an eye out (and up) for tube houses, originally built with very narrow fronts and long rooms stretching back from the street in order for the owners to avoid paying property taxes based on street frontage. Houses were also restricted to being two-storeys high in deference to the palace and any passing royalty. A good example is 87 ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,900 words.)

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Reviewed by

Samantha Brown is a reformed news reporter. She now edits most of the stuff you read on Travelfish.org, except for when you find a typo, and then that's something she wasn't allowed to look at.

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