Here’s how to enjoy Hanoi for….
Visit the Temple of Literature (entry US$1), the most impressive intact example of Vietnamese architecture today. Dating back to 1070, Vietnam’s first university was established here. Afterwards, head to nearby Cafe Pho Co (1 Hang Gai, 4th floor), for a great view of Hoan Kiem Lake. Order the speciality egg coffee – far more delicious than it sounds.
In the evening, catch a traditional music concert at Ca Tru Thang Long. For just US$10, you can take in a moving performance of Vietnamese folk music using instruments such as the lute-like dan day.
Take Ho Chi Minh's Hanoi adventure tour for a step back in time. The full-day programme provides an in-depth insight into Ho Chi Minh’s life and work. The small group tour will take in sites including the mausoleum and Museum of Ethnology, as well as a walk around the historic Old Quarter and a Vietnamese pho (noodle soup) lunch.
The tour ends with a stop at a bia hoi (traditional Vietnamese pub) – use your spare change to buy a freshly brewed beer.
Sign up for a guided tour of the excellent Vietnam Fine Art Museum (vnfam.vn). The 1930s French colonial building is full of treasures from Vietnam’s past and a great place to get an understanding of its artistic influences.
Afterwards, head out to explore the traditional craft villages on one of Urban Adventures’ Village Discoveries where you'll be able to see pottery and silk being made first hand.