1. Get an outfit designed just for you
Whether you desire the perfect suit or a one-of-a-kind dress for a gala event, Hanoi is brimming with tailors to meet your needs. We suggest an appointment on day one of your trip, where a fitting is held and designs are sketched out. From there, repeat fittings need to be scheduled and the result is a garment that fits its owner like a glove. There are many tailors to choose from in the city, including Stark Suits and Zeds Threads.
2. Brunch or Dunch at the Hanoi Social Club
This is Hanoi’s trendiest cafe and a popular artist hub (6 Hoi Vu, Hoan Kiem), with three funky floors of retro furniture and decor. We love coming in for a late wholesome breakfast or an early dinner before a night out in the city. The menu is a twist on healthy and vegetarian dishes including vegan lasagne and tofu chips. In the heat, we recommend the fruit and mint slushies (we love the pineapple and honey freeze) to quench your thirst. There are regular live music and acoustic performances at night.
3. Wander the captivating museums
A city so rich in history naturally results in a city rich in museums. Escape the daytime heat and visit the cooling arenas to learn about the past and the making of today’s Hanoi.
Highlights include the Vietnamese Women’s Museum (below) on Ly Thuong Kiet Street. This modern museum looks at women’s significant contributions to the nation’s development, culture and society. From wartime heroes to notable personalities, these women are strong and inspiring. The Hoa Lo Prison is a thought-provoking site to visit as well. Built by French colonialists in 1896, it held Vietnamese patriotic and revolutionary figures; later on, part of the prison was used for captured American pilots during the Vietnam War. Art fans will enjoy the Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts, which showcases artwork from historical periods across two buildings.
4. Master the art of Vietnamese cooking
Hanoi is foodie heaven. There are many tours and classes to choose from but they all generally follow the same format: a local expert takes participants on an informative tour of the busy markets to hand-pick meat, fish, vegetables and ingredients to create your own Vietnamese feast.
The first part of the experience can be done on foot, bike or scooter, before heading back to cooking headquarters to prepare the freshly bought items. From pho to green papaya salad to spring rolls, expect a step-by-step guide to creating your own Vietnamese meal, and of course, a chance to sit down and enjoy it with a glass of Vietnamese wine. Some recommended tours and classes include the Hanoi Street Food Tour and Apron Up (above). A summary and recipe sheet is usually provided at the end of the day.
SEE ALSO: Essential guide to Hanoi, Vietnam