Hanoi is such as marvelous place. I spent five days there, and most of the time I roamed around the busy streets and hidden alleyways of the Old Quarter. I didn't plan out an itinerary full of museums to visit or shows to see; instead, I sat in cafes looking out at the traffic, ate sitting on plastic stools by the roadside, and walked rather aimlessly around, poking about and stopping at whatever interested me.
And there was so much that was interesting to see, just in the daily rhythms of the city and routines of the people. The streets in the Old Quarter are named after the trade that the street used to be known for, so you'll find rows of shops all selling toys, or hardware, or wooden frames, or even coffins. One particular street was all decked out for Tet, the Lunar New Year, and the shops were festooned with glowing red lanterns and shiny gold envelopes.