Things to do in Hanoi
Catch a performance at Hanoi Opera House
The Hanoi Opera House (tel: +84 4 3933 0113; www.hanoioperahouse.org.vn) was originally modelled on the Palais Garnier in Paris but left in disrepair for many years. Renovations in 2011 restored it back to an ornate building which showcases orchestral, choral, pop, ballet and theatrical works.
Enjoy a traditional water puppet show
In traditional water puppet performances, puppets depict scenes from rural life whilst accompanied by musicians playing traditional instruments. The performances at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre (tel: +84 4 3936 4335; www.thanglongwaterpuppet.org) are colourful, intricate and imbued with local humour.
Get some early morning tai chi
Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem Lake is a must-visit for anyone that wants to see Hanoi at its most charmingly traditional. As the sun rises, it becomes a haven for local old-timers practicing tai chi amidst the sweet sounds of bamboo flute played by local wise men. A treat.
Learn to cook it up like a local
Learn to cook delicious Vietnamese dishes on a half-day course in the purpose-built kitchen at the Hidden Hanoi cookery school (tel: +84 91 225 4045; www.hiddenhanoi.com.vn). Students are taken around the colourful local food market before being taught how to whip up lip-smacking dishes from five themed menus.
Spend a morning playing Hanoi’s sun-kissed greens
Golf is as popular in Vietnam as it is throughout the rest of the world, and there are several opportunities within easy reach of Hanoi for visitors to dust down the nine irons. Get a round in at the 18-hole Hanoi Golf Club (tel: +84 4 3599 1365; www.vietnamgolftours.com), which is around 45 minutes north of central Hanoi.