Misty and wet in the shadow of early Spring. Make sure it's a weekend. Get on the streets. Walk along the Hoán Kiěm Lake. Spend the afternoon in varieties of exotic locale.
Eating the Vietnamese way must be on your cards if you have the olfactory inclination, near the Opera House.
Post lunch is a good time to get to the National Museum.
Spend the evening at the "Note Café" for some illustrious rejuvenation, if you're a couple. Additional fun and frolicking cannot be ruled out if you're a group interested in street side local flash events, that may pop up anytime through the evening.
Dinner updates from tons of restaurants around the old city centre as well as street food should keep your tummy excited.
The Saturday Night Market near Old Quarters is a place for some cheap bargains and effective buying if you want to take souvenirs home.
Reach Ninh Binh. A hundred kms from Hanoi.
Beauty personified for the nature lovers. The townships along the river, viz. Tam Coc, Ninh Binh and Hoa Lu offer great places for homestays, literally on the river bed. With village huts and wooden boats and modern amenities for good accomodation, the hotels provide a fitting mix of nature and synthetics.
For an even engaging atmosphere, do plan a stay at the Mua Caves Eco resort. You not only get free entrance to the caves uphill, which is one of the attractions in Ninh Binh, you also observe the unmistakable visual delight of witnessing the juncture of hills and plains, with the river meandering the layout and paddy fields painting everything green. It is one sight to behold.
The afternoon is all yours to explore. Engage in hiking trails at the Mua Caves. Walk / cycle along the shoplets streaming the roads on both sides.
Plan your dinner beforehand as the day closes out earlier than usual in this place.
Check out. Leave your bags at the hotel. Roam around Tam Coc. Take an hour and a half ride on the boat along the river stream which takes you to the caves. Enjoy the fish-eye view of the hills from the water.
Get yourself drooling with the Vietnamese food again from any of the restaurants at the market.
Take the 4 pm bus to Hanoi from Tam Coc. Reach Hanoi by 6:30pm.
Wake up early. It is the Vietnamese pride that you're to see today. The Ha long Bay.
All trips to Ha long have to be pre-booked. Costing usually 40USD pp. Get on the bus. Take the guided tour to Ha long for the entire day.
The tour includes a cruise ride over the bay, visits to caves and Titop island, a sumptuous lunch and evening high snacks. No one returns from Ha long without an awestruck face. It is out of this world.
Make sure you also do some kayaking on the calm, emerald water. Beware of the monkeys.
Return home with a fresher mind, after sipping the Vietnamese coffee, black or with milk, doesn't matter.
Time to say adieu to the lovely country. But not without going around Hanoi one more time. Visit the sections of the city which you missed out on day one, if you have enough time in the day till departure.
The trip is a good one for a short getaway, and if you intend to come back to the country. Because you haven't visited South Vietnam at all in these four days.