Old Quarters (OQ) Hanoi – If you need to experience Vietnam in your very 1st hour head to Hanoi. There can’t be a better opening place but their vivacious Old Quarters. This is where the city comes alive - all the hostels, tour agents and bars/restaurants. It is so central that Hoan Kiem lake, Red bridge, local market and other attractions are at a walking distance. The weekly night market sets up at the Old quarters every Saturday. You cannot only find every-possible-thing here but experience local life first hand. Unloading at OQ on our landing in the evening, we did some enquiries for our next trips and headed to the city. Don’t miss the roadside implausible open resto of the legendary Pho (beef ball and noodle soup) and Bia Hoi (beer).
On as island at the northern part of the lake stands Ngoc Son or Jade Mountain temple, one of the most beautiful and religious sites in the capital. It is one of the most visited temples in Hanoi. The temple was established by a mandarin named Nguyen Van Sieu and is dedicated to the spirits of the soil, medicine, literature, and also to Tran Hung Dao, the general who defeated the Mongols in the 13th century. A beautiful symbol of Vietnamese architecture, the well lit scarlet bridge joins the island to the shore. This temple was worshipped by the people to gain victory over the Yuan. There is also a martyrs' monument nearby built as an ode to the people who died fighting in the Vietnam War.