Take A Cooking Class
You can’t be well-versed in Vietnamese history without appreciating the intricacies of it’s cuisine. The two are so wholly enmeshed that a single meal will traverse flavour influences from the Chinese and French occupations combined to form a completely unique taste. The end result is dish upon dish that’s complex and layered but also very fresh at the same time.
To get yourself acquainted be sure to sign up for classes at the Hanoi Cooking Centre. Held in a historical shophouse within the city’s picturesque Qld Quarter, the course not only includes practical lessons but also tours through street food stalls and lively markets. You’re guaranteed to not only finish with a deeper respect for the whole country but you’ll also end up bartering like a local.
See A Show
There are numerous cultural shows that you cannot miss while in town, such as a show at the grand Hanoi Opera House, which is even worth a visit without tickets for its ornate French-colonial architecture. While those with kids will love all the colour and action at the famous Municipal Water Puppet Theatre.
But if you’re looking to enjoy a slice of modern Hanoi then slip into the Binh Minh Jazz Club, tucked behind the Opera House and always jammed full of music lovers.
Late night revellers will enjoy the live bands at the ultra-hip Cama Atk, which hosts popular local bands and major international acts from the U.S and Canada.
Halong Bay is undoubtedly a must-do for any Hanoi visit. This UNESCO Heritage Site is a breathtaking collection of some 2000 individual islands all clustered in a single area like a giant ocean maze. This area can get busy and touristy so we recommend starting here early in the day.
Cat Ba Island is located at the south edge of Halong Bay and a beautiful vantage point to take in the sprawling view of islands. It also boasts a large national park and even a ‘Cave Hospital’, a hidden Viet Cong hospital from the Vietnam War.