Start your city excursion in historic Hanoi in the afternoon not by foot, but on board “cyclo”. Equal parts transportation and travel experience, these traditional bicycle rickshaws move at leisurely pace that’s perfect for photos and slow-moving sightseeing. Sit back and relax while your driver weaves through some of the Old Quarter’s busiest streets, dodging speedy motorbikes and rolling past French colonial houses on the way to the next destination.
Next, hop off your cyclo at the Northern Gate of the ancient citadel, a gargantuan fortress in the heart of the city. Learn a bit about the history of the imposing structure and Cua Bac Church, a beautiful example of catholic influence in the city.
See off to your meet at the front of Quan Thanh Temple. The 11th Century Taoist Temple is one of the oldest and most culturally significant in the city and about ten minute walk from the citadel. Then embark on a lengthier stroll toward West Lake, hearing the story of John McCain and this temple along the way. Head off a long a quieter back road, and stop next at historic Pho Cuon restaurant for a quick snack.
Set off again to Chau Long market for a closer look at Hanoian culture in the flurry of a local market. After exploring the street stalls here, see of again Nguyen Truong To street – famous for its desserts – toward Hang Than street, the epicenter of Hanoi’s thriving wedding cake stores. Learn a bit about Vietnam’s unique wedding culture while sampling some wedding cakes. Shake off your sugar rush on a stroll nearby Hang Cot street for a look at Hanoi’s mat weaving borough. End your walking tour with a traditional Vietnamese coffee and head back to your hotel.