Enjoying an interesting walking tour around Hoan Kiem Lake – the heart of Hanoi – on weekend nights, you will easily notice an extremely crowed night market, also known as Dong Xuan Night Market. Due to its recent expansion, Walking Street in Hanoi’s Old Quarter is the biggest walking street in the capital city and a wonderful site for both Vietnamese and foreign tourists to discover and enjoy Vietnamese culture.
Hanoi walking streets – new hotspot for cultural activities and entertainment
Having opened for more than a decade, Dong Xuan Night Market has a 3- kilometer long pedestrian street running from Hang Dao Street. The night market, with the aim of promoting Vietnamese culture in international travelers’ eyes and Vietnamese new generation, represents Hanoi’s cultural and traditional life and activities. Opening from 7p.m until 11p.m on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, this walking street consists of over 3000 stalls from many small traders selling souvenirs, accessories, daily goods, foods, clothes and handicrafts.
You can easily find many artists sitting along the street and have them sketch your portrait. Waiting for only a few minutes, you will receive a perfect picture of yourself drawn by a street artist, at a reasonable price. Moreover, while having fun in the market, you can also have a great opportunity to taste several kinds of Vietnamese street food along the street and enjoy fascinating cultural activities. It is no surprised to meet foreigners and locals from all ages in this crowded market as they all come there to experience real Hanoi’s sense with the subtle taste of delicious food, the atmosphere of Hanoi’s old market, the sounds of Vietnamese folk music and the images of antique architecture.
Dong Xuan Pedestrian Street has recently been expanded to Level 1 reservation area in Hanoi’s old quarter street, namely Ma May, Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hang Giay, Hang Buom and Ta Hien. Especially, Hang Buon food street is where you can find about 40 food stalls selling many kinds of traditional Vietnamese food: from Hanoi street food to other provinces’ specialties. Popular choices are spring rolls (nem cuon), Vietnamese salad (nom), fresh juices, sweet rice cake and sweet soup (che).
Vietnamese folk games – specialties of Hanoi walking streets
The traditional Vietnamese folk games reproduced around Hoan Kiem Lake and in front of the Cam Tu (Self-sacrifice) Monument are specialties of the walking streets. A variety of games, such as rope skipping, stilt walking, mandarin square capturing and tug of war, bring back participants their childhood memories and attract visitors to this walking space.
Hanoi walking streets – outdoor art space
At walking street, travelers also can see Vietnamese traditional music concerts. Along the street and in front of small temples, Ca tru, which is on the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in need of Urgent Safeguarding, Chau van Hat xam and Cheo are performed by professional artists. It is a great opportunity for both Vietnamese, especially youngsters and international travelers who like to discover the country’s traditional folk music, to experience various types of Vietnamese traditional art while enjoying a package tour in Vietnam and all of these concerts are free.
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