Behind the glamor of the bustling and hustling city is a very different life in the super small alleys. There is a line in a song that all Hanoians love “small street, small alley, it is my home” because it reflects a true story about Hanoi’s life. Therefore, it is a huge mistake if you forget to visit these super small alleys to witness the life of people and enjoy the simple beauty in the hidden corner of a busy city during your Hanoi eco tour.
Where You Can Visit Super Small Alleys?
Most alleys are in the Old Quarter, even on busy merchant streets such as Hang Than Street, Hang Buom, 25-27 Hang Ngang, 14-16 Hang Voi, 24-26 Hang Dao, etc. Some alleys are wide enough for only one person or two people or a motorcyclist to pass through. It is said that these alleys look like tunnels due to its narrow width and restricted height, so the bulbs on the alleys are turned on 24/7 to see the path.
What secrets are kept inside the Super Small Alleys?
It comes as a surprise to see the super alleys which are at least five to seven, even dozens of households; especially about five or six members living in an area of 10-20 m2 or a narrower space. House stacks up house, house tightly squeezes house. Due to the narrow space, one room plays a variety of functions. For example, the living room is utilized as a dining room or bedroom if necessary. Most households on one alley have shared the termination of the impasse for cooking and personal hygienic purpose with each other since the French colonial period. Some households now extend their homes to every inch of the alley, making it smaller and smaller.
Stories that are Half Laughing and Half Crying surround The Alleys
Here are real stories in the super small alleys which you do not know to cry or laugh. Motorcycles could not enter the house; residents bought products that disassemble or even had to rent a crane to transmit them through the roof of the neighbor and then move into their houses. In the wedding, the bride has to stand in the bathroom when waiting for the groom. When one family member will be on the edge of life, the whole family is quick to bring him/her to the hospitals since the coffin cannot pass through the small path. At night, residents here do not dare to go to the toilet for the fear that they may step on some people. When the night comes, it is easy to sharply break a tranquil silence such as: footsteps of a night-shift-working neighbor, the streaming-down water from a faucet on, loving couple whispers, clatters from a family preparing for their next-day shop, and the noise from someone who is sleepless, etc…
However, the small super alleys are the living places of many locals from many generations; they do not want to flee their homes. Moreover, it is more convenient to earn a living in the Old Quarter than anywhere else in the city.