Old quarter is the heart of Hanoi and has to be the place to stay near when visiting. Lively, noisy, hectic at most times in the day, the atmosphere is so vibrant and energetic, you feel like your in the heart of a major city, which it is. Consisting of shops, restaurants, bars, tourist offices and massage parlours, you will find it all here. I did a food tour and most places visited were in the old quarter or nearby, it has the best local food. At night the streets are just full of life and people till late in the night and early morning which is great to see. It has so much authenticity with locals outside the streets. If you take tourism out of Hanoi, it would do little to the vibrancy of the old quarter, the locals make this place special.
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