Ho Chi Min Mausoleum is located by the historical One Pillar Pagoda
Emperor Ly Thai Tong (ruled from 1028 to 1054) had a dream in which he received a male child from the Goddess of Mercy who sat on a lotus flower. The wooden pagoda was supported by a single stone pillar to resemble a lotus flower. This replaces the original destroyed by the French when they left in 1954.
St Joseph Cathedral is a relic from colonial French.
It needs painting and renovation.
When wandering around do not forget to keep your eyes on the direction and name of road because it is easy to get lost. Streets are short and there are many turns.
Dong Xuan Market is located north of Hoan Kiem Lake and is a wholesale market where retailers from the surroundings and nearby towns come to goods for resale. Stalls although small in size sell a wide variety with goods stored in warehouses nearby. The picture below shows the size of the stall with displays.
Tortoise Tower (Thap Rua) is built on a island at the southern end of Hoan Kiem Lake. According to legend Emperor Le Thai To received a magical sword from Heaven with which he used to drive away the Chinese colonist. After the war he was at the lake where a tortoise appeared to grab his sword and disappeared into the water.
Ngoc Son Temple is located on an island at the northern end of Hoan Kiem Lake. The above red bridge provide access to the temple. The gateway leading to this bridge is shown below.
The taxi fare from airport to Hanoi is USD 17 but the privately run Tourism counter asks for USD 30. I negoitiated with one of hotel attendants who introduced me to another. He asked for USD 15. On arrival at the hotel, the driver took USD 18.
Be careful using taxi in Hanoi 2 Dutch guys told me we were taken for an half hour ride to get from Old Quarters to Ho Chi Min Mausoleum. On their return they decided to walk and it took them only one hour. I did the same in three quarter of an hour with the help of a map.
At 15 Hang Manh Street, Hoan Kiem District, you will come across a shop selling coffee. The special coffee is Civet cat coffee that is highly valued. The taste is not bitter or sour. The smell is that of mocha.
A few doors away is a shop selling deep fried meat balls, rice noodles with fresh herbs. It is worth a try.
Hanoi Backpackers’ Hostel
Stay at the above at 48 Ngo Huyen in Hoan Kiem District. It is a short distance from Hoan Kiem Lake. The streets are short and narrow in this district with many turns. Best walk around with a map published by the Hostel. Staff speaks English and they organise tours to Halong Bay and Sapa Mountain.