As mentioned, a friend and his wife are bound next week for Hong Kong, Cambodia and Vietnam. I’ve sent him a couple of suggestions about Hanoi (it’s simpler and cheaper to buy a Vietnamese SIM card when you arrive) and two restaurant recommendations — lunch at Bun Cha Dak Kim for the spring rolls, and dinner at Pho Thin, where they only serve bowls of clear stock, boiled beef, rice noodles, herbs, green onions and garlic.
Posted on 3.19.16: “Yesterday was one long bike-riding orgasm through the streets of Hanoi. It was heaven. There’s something rhapsodic about being one of hundreds of scooter riders, bicyclers, car, bus and truck drivers making their way down a major boulevard. There are no bike lanes — you’re just pedaling your way through it all, everyone making it up as they go along, and I’m telling you it’s like you’re part of some glorious, brass-band holiday parade.
“The difference here is that Hanoi pedestrians aren’t standing on the curbside and going ‘wow, look at that!’ They’re just shrugging it off, the usual rumble of daily life. But to me (and, I’m sure, to Jett and Cait) it was like being part of a huge skilled orchestra playing a great improvised symphony, and being part of it yesterday was absolutely one of the most delightful experiences of my life.”