I’ll confess - my reason for taking the tour was to get sunset pictures, but the rain started falling an hour before and it turned into a rainy adventure. I’m so glad I had Công to guide me around Hanoi via motorbike! Bourdain said in his Hanoi episode that the one thing you HAVE to do is see Hanoi by motorbike ... I’d add, “in the rain.”
The combination of art, history, culture, and food was unbeatable. As a solo traveler who doesn’t speak the language, one of my biggest worries is that I won’t truly experience a place, but getting the chance to spend the evening chatting with Công about his life and the deep history of Vietnam was an absolute pleasure! We saw the Ho Chi Minh flag lowering ceremony at 9p, and before that spent hours looking at a variety of sights, and eating snacks along the way. Dinner was absolutely delicious and in a place I never would have found on my own — let alone would I have known what to order. All five dishes were completely new to me, which was amazing.
In summary, if you’re looking to experience Hanoi beyond the guidebook, this is the tour for you. I would add that I loved supporting a local company (run by an expat American) that hires young people like Công. His love of learning is infectious - thanks for a great time, Công!