Our tour started today at the Confucius Temple of Literature and then on to the Hilton Jail - of which only a small portion remains as a tourist site. Another cyclo ride took us through the old section of Hanoi before depositing us at our hotel, the Sofitel Metropole - a lovely old throw back to colonial days. The rest of the day was on our own to walk about and risk our lives crossing the streets as we wished! Dinner was at the Green Mandarin - Vietnamese/French fusion and superb.
At 6:30 in the morning we saw people playing badminton on the sidewalk, others walking, or doing tai chi. We started the day with a viewing of Ho Chi Minh who I understand is sent back to Russia annually to be re-balmed. We toured the museum and his house, which was a lovely modern "cottage" on a small lake. On to the Ethnic museum with an outdoor display of different types of traditional houses. The evening finished with a water puppet show.
Our last day was spent visiting Ha Long Bay. It took several hours with stops along the way for silk and laquer ware. The scenery was stunning, but a few hours on the boat barely does it justice.
Once we got past the scrum of all the boats leaving, it became very peaceful with herons and eagles flying overhead. Lunch on board was a seafood feast.
And dinner was also a feast - at Bobby Chins (he's a local TV cook/celebrity).