In the Old Quarter of Hanoi life is lived on the street. Meals are cooked and eaten, food and other goods sold, games played by young and old alike. Shops spill out on to pavements, while rickshaws, cyclo-rickshaws, bicycles, scooters and motorbikes all weave amongst the shoppers and strolling tourists.
Known more properly as the Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi’s Old Quarter is a street photographer’s dream!
Click on the photos for a slideshow
For the most part it is fun just to wander around the district with no particular sight in mind. But one must-see is the so-called Train Street, where a railway line cuts through the city down the centre of the road. Trains run through here a couple of times a day, passing just inches from some of the buildings; signs at various little cafés along the road advertise the times. I would have loved to have seen that but even without a train this is a very photogenic spot.
As well as all the activity it was interesting to see the mix of architecture, with old and sometimes crumbling French Colonial buildings interspersed with a handful of newer ones, and almost all with some sort of business operating out of the ground floor. Vietnam may be a Communist-run country, but since opening up to the world it has also opened up to private enterprise.
This gallery is my contribution to the Sunday Stills photo challenge ‘City Sidewalks’. I hope you’ve enjoyed walking with me through the streets of old Hanoi.
See more of my street photography in another of my galleries: Focus on the subject
I visited Hanoi in 2020 (just before the pandemic took its hold on the world)