Traditional Water Puppets
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Hanoi are the Water Puppets performances on Lake. The people who manipulate the puppets stand in waist-deep water. See the website for a good description.
The water pupper theatre in the picture is at the Ethnology Museum near Hanoi.
Get lost in the small streets.
After my visit to the Ethnological museum, I decided to walk back to the old city along the shore of Ho Tay Lake; there were light green coloured areas on the map and I thought green was for gardens, trees, fields. . . it was in fact areas where there are no streets for cars, but all is constructed, houses separated by narrow streets. High buildings, narrow streets, exactly what is needed to get lost! I walked for half an hour or so, in the little Ho Khau area, and looked at houses, few people, gardens. . . The pictures show a bit of these streets, with marks on the walls (for the postmen? Police? Electricity?), the high houses, old entrances, unknown (to me!) trees in gardens, tiny temples, and after having asked my way (the old person did not speak English but knew few words of French!), I finally reached Ho Tay lake. This half hour was very quiet, very relaxing in the small streets.
Visit Big C Supercenter!!
This is quite a large shopping complex with over 100 shops. There are two floors, on the lower level is where all the different retail shops are located, on the upper floor there is a MASSIVE retail/food store.
watch what you pay
Many locals use bikes to get around but unless you are a good rider, it may be safer to walk. The roads are congested, especially around TET. It is a fairly compact city so easily explored on foot.
We arrived via plane from Vientiane, Laos for an extortionate $108 PLUS a $10 departure tax! The alternative is an excruciating bus trip, make your choice.
We left via the Reunification Express Train to Hue. This was an overnight train that left at 11 at night. We got a soft sleeper for some luxury. From what the ticket says, it cost 331,000 dong ($21) but our hotel charged us $29. We felt stupid until our sleeper mates for the night told us they paid $58 each! Buyer beware (hint: buy your own tickets at the train station).
Its one of the most interesting experiences ever... You really have to try eating at one of the small stores that are along the roads...
Rule of the thumb.. if there's a large crowd, generally it should be edible..
I had the BEST meal at the steet store... frankly that's the tastiest beef noodles i've ever tried...
Its actually a store near the pagoda at the top of the lake... we were looking for a thai restaurant recommended by Lonely Planet but got too hungry... and settled for a busy looking store during lunch... SLURP! Beef Noodles of course.... the soup is sweet and tasty, the vegetables and noodles are of generous helpings... and the beef... tender and juicy... not overcooked...
Wonderful... SLURP SLURP!