|Subject: Re: Viet Nam|
I'm not the kind of traveler who has a checklist of must see places and then feel like I'm finished with a city, once I've now seen all there is to see, so let's move on. So with that knowledge, my opinion is that you' can't see all of or enjoy Hanoi in just two days. I spent 5 days there about 4 years ago and would go back for a visit in a NY minute. I adored Hanoi - it's a charming and wonderful city. Places to see are the Temple of Literature, Ho Chi Ming's House, One Pillar Pagoda, Red Sword Lake and of course, the Vietnamese Water Puppet show, which is a bit boring as well as a bit interesting, but uniquely Vietnamese, so it should be seen once, IMHO. Also, Hanoi is a vibrant art community with an abundance of wonderful art galleries, Red River being the most famous of them. The food was wonderful - from the famous Cha-ca-la-vong to Seasons, which is french on one level and vietnamese on another.
We didn't get to Saigon and I'm not unhappy about that. As I understand, it doesn't have the charm or prettiness of Hanoi. Also, I understand the locals will hustle you for business or pressure you to buy their wares. Hanoi was rather mellow on that scale. I hate to bargain price (like in Bangkok) and I bought a ton of wonderful things in Hanoi without having to play games.
As someone else suggested, when you cross the street, walk v-e-r-y slowly so the bicycles and motorscooters can drive around you. It will go against your human nature, but if you scurry quickly, you could get hit.
If it's in your budget, stay at the Metropole Hotel.
One of the best books on Hanoi is Lonely Planet.