Tai Chi at the break of dawn
To watch Vietnamese practicing Tai Chi aound Hoan Kiem Lake early in the morning is very beautiful.
At that time of the day you might feel like hundreds of years back...just peaceful..before Hanoi wakes up and becomes busy and noisy.
Place du tertre ?
Lots of tourists visiting Montmartre in Paris get solicitations to pose for a portrait they can take home as souvenir; in the streets of old Hanoi the same can be done, and on Hang Gai or Hang Manh streets, the painters work on the sidewalks; do not expect to see super artists, but in any case they draw and paint with skill and apparently their customers are mainly local tourists, but foreign tourists may get portrayed too!
Painting is an important activity in Hanoi, and if you like exotic or some original paintings it is worth to walk in the evenings on some streets (Trang Tien, Hang Gai. . . ) where a number or galleries exhibit works of local painters, some working “online” in the shops or galleries; it looks a bit like industrial production in some cases, and with artificial light, I wonder how they manage to render colours of landscapes or skies; some paints can be purchased for less than 20 US$, but prices vary in wide ranges, and art has no price, it is only a matter of sensibility and taste, and what some consider as ugly daubing is looked as masterpieces by other (well, for my taste there were interesting and nice small naïve paints, but nothing I would have paid lots of money for). There is always something to see in the streets of Hanoi, day or night.
Night Bazaar at Old Quarter
Every weekend during Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights after 7pm, the main streets of the Old Quarter area (along Dong Xuan - Hang Duong - Hang Ngang - Hang Dao streets) are transformed into a lively and very crowded night bazaar with plenty of road-side stalls selling various stuff (especially ladies clothings and accesories) and food. This is a must see when you are in Hanoi, however do be careful of your belongings.
Shuttle bus aiport/centre/aiport
If you dont want to pay much for the taxi from airport/centre or centre/airport. Just use the shuttle bus of Vietnam airlines.
They depart before flights 2 hours at 2 Quang Trung st. Opposite the Vietnam airlines office. Price around 2 $
Clean, air-conditioned restaurant serves various type of Pho (clear noodle in clear soup). It opens until quite late in the evening (I came out at about 9.30pm local time, customers still coming in). I dine here on the first night of arrival in old quarter of hanoi, while not knowing whereabout of my location and still not dare to sit by the wet dirty street of old quarters to eat weird looking meat stuff. This is the place where you can safely enjoy local food without worrying much of stomach problem later. English menu available. Pho is their speciality. They have 17 types of pho, 15 of which beef and 2 chicken, price ranges from VND26,000 to VND39,000 or USD1.80 to 2.60. There's side order and dessert. Vietnamese coffee also available. I definitely will visit this restaurant again.