The city tour begins with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Complex which features the life of Ho Chi Minh, the nation’s founder. At the complex, visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, where the nation’s founder’s body is preserved (closed on Monday, Friday and through October - November), the colonial Presidential Palace, originally the French Governor Office and a fine example of French architecture in Hanoi, and the rural style Ho Chi Minh’s house on stilts where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked. Stop by one of Hanoi’s icons, the One Pillar Pagoda, built in the 11th Century in dedication to Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara or Buddha of Compassion and reminiscent of a lotus blossom rising from a pond. Continue to the Temple of Literature, known as the first university of Vietnam built in 1070 by the Ly Dynasty to honor Confucius, sages and outstanding Vietnamese scholars.
Afternoon, continue the tour to one of the following museums of choice namely the Museum of Fine Arts, the National Museum of Vietnamese History, the Museum of Revolution, the Museum of Military History or the Museum of Ethnology. Next, head for Hoan Kiem Lake, the center point of Hanoi whose name “The Return Sword Lake” originated from a legend of a sacred sword and home to a rare endangered giant turtle species and visit Ngoc Son Temple on the lake. Take a one-hour cycle tour of the Old Quarter of Hanoi with its ancient streets representing traditional trades from the past. Finish the tour at the Thang Long Opera Theatre with a traditional Vietnamese water puppet show.