Old Quarter, Hanoi

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  • Elizviet's Profile Photo

    Water Puppet Show – A Unique Art of Vietnam

    by Elizviet Written Nov 19, 2013

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    1. Water puppet Overview
    Water puppetry art is a long traditional cultural activity of agriculture-based citizens by the Red River and has existed for a long time with unique features. The special element of water puppetry is the use of the water surface as a stage for performance. The stage for performance which is a space in front of the puppet house is called puppet house or water house, and built in the pond or lake with balanced architecture symbolizing the communal house roof in Vietnamese rural areas. All the performing activities, stages and flags, fans, elephants, parasols, decoration gates, etc are truly small communal houses with their bending roofs which are vividly reflected on the water surface. By performing the old traditional water puppet show, daily activities and customs of Viet Nam peasants are vividly expressed.
    The puppeteers stand behind a curtained backdrop. First performed a thousand years ago on the surface of ponds and paddy fields in Vietnam's Red River Delta, water puppetry (roi nuoc in Vietnamese) is the lively creation of farmers who spent their days in flooded rice fields. At some point, they discovered that the water was an excellent medium for puppetry: it not only concealed the puppeteers' rod and string mechanisms, but it also provided exciting effects like waves and splashes.
    2. What to see in water puppet show.
    The water also provides the best setting for the puppeteers' theme: day-to-day village life. Water puppets bring wry humor to scenes of farming, fishing, festival events such as buffalo fights, and children's games of marbles and coin-toss. Fishing turns into a game of wits between the fisherman and his prey, with the fisherman getting the short end (often capturing his surprised neighbor by mistake). Besides village life, scenes include legends and national history. Lion dogs romp like puppies while dragons exhale smoke and shoot sprays of water at the audience. Performances of up to 18 short scenes are usually introduced by a pig-tailed bumpkin known as Teu, and accompanied by a small folk orchestra.
    3. How to make a water puppet
    To make a perfect puppet, craftsmen must experience different stages from body carving to decoration. The more perfect puppets are made, the more diversifying technique and performance artisans can perform. The fig-tree is a popular material for carving the puppet because it is light, durable and controllable in the water. In Viet Nam puppet stores, there remains the ploughman, uncle Teu, fisherman, orchestra, fairy, etc. The clever skill of the artistes brings the audience fresh, honest, smooth feelings and positive behaviors, nature-loving and people-loving, through magnified simplification and artificialization.
    4. Where to see water puppet show
    Through water puppet shows, the audiences will feel the atmosphere of village festivals reflecting simple dreams of residents in Red Delta. With local and international performance shows, Viet Nam puppetry performers have made a very large contribution to promoting a unique art of Viet Nam to regional and global friends.
    Thang Long Water Puppet Theater is a familiar address for both domestic tourists and foreign ones, who want to enjoy water puppet shows and discovery the beauty of this unique Vietnam traditional art.
    Located at 57B, Dinh Tien Hoang street, nearby Hoan Kiem Lake, Thang Long Water Puppet Theater is a familiar address for both domestic tourists and foreign ones, who want to enjoy water puppet shows and discovery the beauty of this unique Vietnam traditional art.

    Water puppet show a Vietnamese legend is vividly expressed water puppet water puppet show communal house in water puppet show
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    The Old Quarter

    by 34N118W Written Feb 25, 2003

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    It's said that the Old Quarter holds the heart and spirit of Vietnam. People are buying and selling in every nook and cranny of the street, and there's a constant flow of bicycles and motos whizzing by.
    If you're on a budget, you'll probably want to find a place to stay in the Old Quarter. Rooms range from $3 to $30 dollars. You'll also find plenty of bargain shopping and countless cafes for cheap eats.

    Street Seller
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    Local market at the Old Quarters

    by juliewong Written Dec 23, 2006

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    Located at Hang Be Street around the Old Quarters, this market starts at 6pm. Worth visiting if you're up to looking for local street food. Found a noodle seller that could cook up a good dish of noodles for 1,000 Dong per bowl, the cheapest I've paid for a meal in Hanoi.

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    Walking in the Old Quarter

    by lyrad Written Oct 2, 2005

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    The Old Quarter is where you can soak in the sights and sounds of Hanoi. There are more than 50 narrow streets in this area, with numerous shops, eating places, hotels and tour agencies. Would definitely recommend that you make this area your base as there is so much life here.

    On weekends, certain streets are closed off to traffic from 7pm and additional stalls are set up in the middle of the road, selling a myriad of goods and services. Get your portait drawn, buy a bubble tea, or bring back an interesting trinket. Always be prepared to bargain however, as tourists are likely to be quoted higher prices.

    The lively street market in the Old Quarter

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    Old Quarter

    by shavy Written Mar 4, 2014

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    A mazes of alleyways, lanes, street eateries, bars and local vendors. Even if you don’t shop, simply walking through the Old Quarter in Hanoi is an exotic treat for the senses.

    Just wandering around, discovering what the city has to offer. Everything north of the Hoam Kiem Lake is the Old Quarter, and just following your inquisitiveness is the best way to experience it.

    The streets are full of pedestrians, many of which are vendors with shoulder poles suspending their loads of fruits, vegetables, fish, and aromatic herbs.

    Ground transportation fights for space in the maze of streets. There are cyclos and trishaws, bicycles, and motorbikes and all seem to be honking and ringing their bells incessantly. This experience of Old Town in Hanoi is not to be missed

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    Life in the Old Quarter

    by aukahkay Written Mar 8, 2006

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    The Old Quarter of Hanoi is perhaps the most picturesque and characteristic part of Hanoi. Life goes on at a slow and leisurely pace, with the Hanoians tucking into pho (noodles) or com (rice) at a roadside foodstall or having a haircut at the street corner while motorcycles and cars zip pass. The best way to explore the Old Town would be on foot. Alternatively, you could hire a cyclo for 30000 VND for an hour's ride through the Old Quarter.

    Roadside pho stall A vegetable seller Roadside barber Roadside foodstall
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  • dancinbudgie's Profile Photo

    Old Quarter

    by dancinbudgie Written Jun 1, 2009

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    For a full-on introduction to Ha Noi you can't go past a wander in and around the Old Quarter. There is so much to see and soak up there that you will not be sorry when you find yourself lost... it's a perfect excuse to linger! If you get completely and hopelessly lost ( a skill of mine), then you can always just grab a cyclo. We did this whenever Bradley got too tired to keep moving.
    Apart from the miriad of colourful little shops, you will find pretty temples (if anyone knows the name of the one pictured below I'd love to know), art galleries, old houses to visit, and the best part...people! I loved just watching the locals going about their day! My little boy loved the place! It was like one big obstacle course to him, jumping and climbing over street repairwork, dodging traffic, navigating past people working on the sidewalks, negotiating pathways between cooking pots and diners at street stalls, leaping muddy ditches...great fun for the young and energetic!

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    Old Quarter

    by Willettsworld Written May 12, 2010

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    The Old Quarter is a bustling area of small, narrow streets that lie to the north of the Hoan Kiem Lake and is where I stayed during my visit to Hanoi. I stayed here just before Tet (Vietnamese lunar New Year) celebrations and so the area was just crazy with people buying food and other goods in order to see in the New Year. It’s the oldest part of the city and even at the beginning of the 20th century the city consisted of only about 36 streets, most of which are now part of the old quarter. Each street then had merchants and households specialised in a particular trade, such as silk traders, jewellery, etc. The street names nowadays still reflect these specialisations, although few of them remain exclusively in their original commerce. The area is famous for its small artisans and merchants, including many silk shops. Local cuisine specialties as well as several clubs and bars can also be found here as well as several street markets plus the large indoor Dong Xuan Market.

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    Old Quarter

    by goldcoaster Written Mar 16, 2004

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    When you are in Ha Noi you have to spend a day wandering the streets of the Old Quarter. Start at the northern end of Hoan Kiem Lake and get immersed into the daily life of the Old Quarter. It is essentially unchanged and if you go to Drum St you will find drum makers, Tin St the same.

    Vietnam's traffic chaos is as represented here as anywhere but the streets are narrower so be careful. Even the walk steadily across the road is dangerous here. Footpaths are usually full of parked motorbikes so you often have to walk on the road.

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    The Old Quarter

    by Blatherwick Updated Sep 7, 2005

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    The Old Quarter is Hanoi's commercial centre that has over a thousand years of history. It contains the best place to take in cafes, markets, local shops, etc. It is also the place where the cheapest hotels can generally be found.

    The 36 streets that make up the Old Quarter somewhat gives you the feeling that you've been thrown back in time and you are in the old Parisian style of Hanoi. Hang Bac is lined with gold and silver shops. Hang Thiec is where the metalworkers are. Because merchants were taxed according to the length of their storefronts, houses are thin structures and go deep into the block.

    You can also find the museum at 48 Hang Ngang where Uncle Ho drafted the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence.

    Hanoi's Old Quarter
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    Walking the Old Quarter

    by wilocrek Written Jun 18, 2012

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    The best way to experience all the hustle and bustle of Hanoi is to experience the streets of the Old Quarter. The streets are narrow with wall to wall shops on every side and more motorcycles then you could ever possibley imagine. Most of the shops have open facades with the vendors wares on full display, as a result there are really no sidewalks to speak and one is forced into the streets to go from shop to shop. The streets are full of motorcycles and pedestrians and the sounds of engines and shop owners barking out invitations fill the air. Most of the best hotels are crammed into the Old Quarter with just about everything else and it makes for the perfect starting point for you visit to Hanoi and Halong Bay. In the Old Quarter you will find everything Vietnamese from delicious delicacies to bamboo artwork and just about everything in between!

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    Popular Street Food Addresses in Old Quarter

    by thuyduongvn Updated Aug 15, 2013

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    If you visit Hanoi without tasting street food, It's like you are never really here. There's a lot of vendors and stores around the Old Quater, but not every one of them serve the best street food. I have some popular address that may help you:
    1. Vietnamese noodle soup (Pho) : 48 Bat Dan street
    2. Spring roll (Nem) : 15 Ngo Gach Street
    3. Pillow cake (Banh Goi) : 52 Li Quoc Su street
    4.Steamed rice pancake roll (Banh Cuon) : 101 Ba Trieu street
    5.Grilled Pork with Vermicelli (Bun Cha) : 43 Cau Go street
    6.Vietnamese sandwiches (Banh Mi) : 118a Hue street
    And if you don't have time to go to every place, you can go to Ngo Trang Tien near the Opera House. The stores here open from early morning to late evening. Almost every street food can be found in Ngo Trang Tien, maybe not the best but cheap and delicious!
    Notice: Please remember Ngo Trang Tien is not Trang Tien street when you ask people for help. This might be confused
    Hope I can help!

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    Old Quarter - Hanoi

    by chizz Updated Jun 26, 2008

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    It is nice to wander through the Old Quarter of Hanoi and see the busy street markets. The streets are named after various crafts or specialities such as Paper, Silk and Basket Street. See the narrow and long "tube shops" selling everything you would need and watch the women sellers go by carrying their panniers full of food.

    Lady selling food from panniers Lady selling oranges Masks for sale

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    36 Streets

    by zuyao Written Dec 4, 2008

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    The Old Quarter or 36 streets is a charming area of narrow streets (36 of them!) which is home to the oldest trades of Hanoi. Each street specialises in one particular trade such as shoes, steel-ware, prayer items, art etc. Although some of them have taken on new trades different from what the name of the street may suggest.

    It is easy to explore all the 36 streets on a trishaw ride and later concentrate on probably a few of interets to you. Either way, exploring the old quarter is a nice way to explore this city. Mind the madness of the motorcyle traffic though.

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    Walking around the Old Quarter

    by tampa_shawn Updated Feb 24, 2010

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    When in Hanoi you absolutely must spend some time walking around the Old Quarter. My favorite times here were early in the morning or late at night when the street traffic is light and the locals are strolling around or sitting with their friends gossiping outside. Midday is also fun in a different way…totally chaotic and noisy

    The street life here is fascinating and colorful…Each and every street has a different flair…left over from the time when the area was divided into 36 different artisans guilds, each centered around a temple or community house. The street names normally start with the word “Hang” which means merchandise…so for example “Hang Quat” is “Merchandise Ceremonial Fans” and sells a large variety of brightly colored religious goods….there are also streets devoted to tin goods, traditional medicines, shoes and paper goods…

    This area left relatively undamaged from the bombing raids during the “American War” so be sure to look up to see the architecture in here, with its fifteenth century merchant houses and its “tube-houses”

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