Today’s tour will begin at 05:30. It’s an early start but one that is well-worth it! Meet with the local guide at 05:30 to catch the first rays of the sun and to see Hanoi waking up. Head to Long Bien market, the biggest fruit and vegetable wholesale market in North Vietnam. Nowhere else in Hanoi exemplifies Vietnamese life better than Long Bien market. Witness buyers crowding around open-back trucks, money counters holding court over their stalls, motorbikes weaving down aisles and other mind-boggling scenes of daily life. This is far-and-away one of the most impressive markets in North Vietnam.
Then take a stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake, the heart of Hanoi. Pass by groups of Hanoians partaking in daily exercise such as gymnastics, martial arts and aerobics. Take a moment to look around and see signs of the city coming to life. Enjoy this silent slower pace that occurs before the start of Hanoi’s incessant traffic and honking horns.
Then move to peaceful garden and join in a 45-minute Tai Chi class under the guidance of a local teacher, discover the slow movements of this popular martial art.
Afterward, pass Primary School and view the interesting scene of parents carrying their kids on motorbikes to start their school day before heading to a popular local restaurant for a typical Vietnamese breakfast of Pho, a traditional noodle soup bursting with flavour.
Last stop is at a local shop to sample Vietnamese coffee like the way locals do while overlooking the lake. Try a sweet iced coffee or opt for a slow-brewed hot java while enjoying people watching in this scenic location.
Following the morning of cultural immersion, continue to the next activity or return to the hotel for a rest.
18:00, early evening you will join the Vespas tour to explore Hanoi After dark, which begins at a stylish local Café with a beer cocktail and a delicious snack from one of the nearby night time vendors, before jumping on the back of the vintage Vespas. After weaving through the magical, busy back streets of the Old Quarter, we soon arrive at a lively local restaurant serving Bun Cha. This is the quintessential must taste Hanoian dish of rice noodles, grilled pork, and meatballs, with a side of ‘nem’ spring rolls. Simple but delicious.
It’s back riding through the narrow streets again, as we head toward our next foodie stop, a fascinating local joint, where we try infused rice wine and a buffalo jerky appetizer. We then head out of the Old Quarter, taking in the sites of the Hanoi Flag Tower and Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, riding towards the West Lake and Truc Bac area. There we try the local specialty of ‘pho cuon’ and learn the art of wrap ‘n’ roll, Vietnamese style, with these fresh and fragrant ingredients, and the pho noodle!
Our next short ride on the Vespas takes us to our final port of call, next to the superb Opera House. The halcyon days of the 1930’s may be over, however, this Jazz Club will wow you with a truly unique blend of styles – 30’s style Jazz & traditional Vietnamese music!