Julie Vietnam 7 Comments

We spent a week in Hanoi during the middle of February, giving us plenty of time to get to know this city. Everyday we took a walk through the area, exploring the backstreets, watching people prepare and then celebrate Tet, the Lunar New Year. We walked on the train tracks, went shopping in the markets, and loved walking around Hoan Kiem Lake.

Here are some of my photos taken prior to Tet, when the city was very busy and full of life.

Journey Through the Old Quarter of Hanoi

Old Quarter of Hanoi

Old Quarter of Hanoi

Flowers for Sale Hanoi

Vietnam Motorbike Graffiti

Old Quarter of Hanoi

Hanoi at Tet


This lady was skinning and quartering live frogs right on the street. The looks on Tyler and Kara’s faces were priceless.

Frog Butchery

Fruit Street Vendors Hanoi

Fruit in Hanoi

Vietnam Motorbike

Electric Wires in Hanoi

Vietnamese Woman

Just by chance, we stumbled across the train tracks running through Hanoi. Some people live right here, with their front doors opening right onto the train tracks. We saw people sitting outside of their house, cooking food or washing their motorbikes, and right before the train rushed past, they would have to gather all of their things off of the tracks. Wow, what a way to live!

Hanoi Train Tracks

Train Tracks Hanoi

Walking Through Hanoi

Where We Stayed

Hanoi Old Centre Hotel

We spent seven nights at the Hanoi Old Centre Hotel.  This place was awesome. It has a terrific location, right in the heart of the Old Quarter. We had a family room on the sixth floor, giving us one queen and two twin beds with tons of space. The room came with a flat screen TV, refrigerator, and even a small balcony with perfect views out over Hoan Kiem Lake. From our balcony we watched the fireworks on Tet. Breakfast was provided every morning and was delicious, offering fresh fruit, pancakes, eggs, and my favorite, chicken noodle soup. The staff is very friendly and helpful. Hanoi Old Centre Hotel is the best place we stayed in while in Vietnam.

More Information about Vietnam

BEST OF VIETNAM: For a list of the best experiences in Vietnam, check out our Vietnam Bucket List.

ENTERING CHINA: We traveled from Vietnam into China by bus. Find out what it was like in our post.

CENTRAL VIETNAM: Hoi An is one of our favorite places to visit in Vietnam. From Hoi An, you can day trip to My Son Holyland, travel by car to Hue, and spend a few days in Hue touring the historical sites.

SOUTHERN VIETNAM: Cruising the Mekong Delta is one of the top experiences to have in Vietnam. Spend a few days in Ho Chi Minh City and from here, visit the Cu Chi Tunnels. For those wanting some beach time, journey to the lovely island of Phu Quoc.

TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY: For more information about the camera gear we carry, check out our Travel Photography Gear Guide. And tips and tricks for taking great photos in our article How to Take Better Photos while Traveling.


Planning a trip to Vietnam? Read all of our articles in our Vietnam Travel Guide.



Old Quarter of Hanoi

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Comments 7

  1. Avatar for Linda

    I was unable to find Hanoi Old Centre Hotel . Could it have another name, like Hanoi Old Quarter Hotel? Or could you link it or give an address please? We will be arriving in Hanoi for Tet on February 9, 2024 in the morning, for New Year’s Eve! Loved your article on what to expect. We’ll only have one day, then on our way to Siem Reap on the 10th.

    1. Avatar for Julie

      They must have gone out of business since our visit (we were here in 2015). I don’t have the address but I believe it was Ng Hang Hanh Street near the lake. Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for jane

    Hi> You mentioned you stumbled upon the train track running thru Hanoi . I had read somewhere, that these were quite a ways out of town. Do you remember in what area these are at in Hanoi? Looks very interesting.
    We are looking forward in doing a lot of the things you write about on our trip next March.

    1. Avatar for Julie

      The train tracks run through the center of Hanoi, within walking distance of Hoan Kiem Lake. If you look on Google Maps, just a little ways northwest of the lake, you can see the train tracks. This is where we took these photos. Cheers, Julie

  3. Avatar for Vuong Nguyen
  4. Avatar for Lora and Pepper
  5. Avatar for Don Rowe
    Don Rowe

    Hello from a fellow AGIer ! Glad you are enjoying Vietnam. Too bad you missed my wife who will be arriving in Ho Chi Minh City tomorrow and will be staying there for the next 4-6 weeks.

    She wanted me to let you know you missed Nha Trang, which she considers the best beaches in Vietnam (and possibly the world) Turn back now before it’s too late!!

    Take care and enjoy!

    Don and Huyen.

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