Trekking in the Mountains of northern Vietnam
If you have time while in Hanoi you must head up to SaPa and do some trekking. SaPa and its surrounding areas are home to Vietnam's minority people/hilltribes, including the Red Hmong, Taym Dzay, HaNhi, Red Dzao, and many more. See my other tips for some more information and pictures of SaPa trekking.
The Guoman gym offers a reasonably priced membership compared to the other hotels in the area. The daytime card is around 40 USD/month, the 'all times' card is a bit more expensive. The equipment in the gym are ok and there are enough weights for men too. Staff is very friendly and will remember your name. The facilities include a Finnish sauna (my favourite) but unfortunately they heat it too hot. Massage is available (additional fee). The walls are decorated with slogans like "no pain, no gain", don't know if they were helpful...
There is a guarded parking lot for bicycles and motos behind the hotel. Towels (a big one for shower and a smaller for training) and water are included in the membership price. All you have to bring is yourself and clothes for training.
THE HISTORY MUSEUM is a stunning golden French/Vietnamese style building, (built in 1931) surrounded by a gorgeous garden area. A walk around the gardens, and you will see many sculptures, these are located on one side of the building, and there is also a Cafe here.
The exhibits here, cover Vietnam’s past....from prehistoric times .....from the Cham people onwards ....to the end of the Second World War.
There are a lot of objects and materials displayed in the museum.
1 Trang Tien Street. If you are coming from the direction of the Hanoi Opera House, follow the road on the left side of the opera house. You will arrive at the History Museum within 5 minutes. It is on the right side of the road.
OPEN...8-11.30am & 1.30-4.30pm Tue-Sun
What water puppet theater?
We skipped this, none of my friends wanted to go and even made fun of me for wanting to check it out. I figured it wouldn't take up too much of our time and would be a nice way to immerse ourselves in typical Vietnamese culture, but it was a no go.
There were some other tourists who we travelled to Halong Bay with who poked fun at it, having gone themselves. This did little to help my cause. hehe So sorry, I have nothing to contribute about the water puppet theatre. Maybe next time!
I did, however, take a picture of the water puppets being sold in the Temple of Literature.
Transport provided by Vietnam Airlines
You can take the airport transfer provided by Vietnam Airlines. It will cost you about USD2 for the driver to send you to Vietnam Airlines office in town. If your hotel is on the way, you just need to pay another USD1 for him to drop you at the hotel's door step.