Rise early for a morning walk around misty Hoan Kiem Lake before a classic Hanoi breakfast of pho bo (beef noodle soup) at Pho Thin. Get up to speed on Uncle Ho with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex and nearby Ho Chi Minh Museum. Wander back down P Dien Bien Phu to the Vietnam Military History Museum. Have a strong Vietnamese coffee at Cong Caphe before visiting the cultural treasures of the Fine Arts Museum of Vietnam. Grab a cab to lunch at La Badiane before continuing to the peaceful Temple of Literature. Catch another cab to immerse yourself in the organised chaos of the Old Quarter, or contemplate history at the Vietnamese Women’s Museum. Make time to stop for a refreshing glass of bia hoi (draught beer) and catch a performance of the water puppets before heading north of the lake to the welcoming Blue Butterfly for dinner.
Head into the suburbs to the excellent Vietnam Museum of Ethnology. Back in the city have lunch at Chim Sao before exploring the Museum of Vietnamese Revolution and the adjacent National Museum of Vietnamese History. The architecture at the latter is stunning, and the contents a fine introduction to 2000 years of highs and lows. After dinner at Cha Ca Thang Long or Old Hanoi, head for drinks at the Summit Lounge.