At 08h00 start the city tour with a visit to the Temple of Literature. Originally built in honour of Confucius by King Ly Thai Thong in 1070, a university was added to the grounds six years later. The university provided education to the royal family and children of the aristocracy or "mandarins". The University remained here until King Gia Long moved the country’s administrative capital from Hanoi to Hue at the beginning of the 19th century.
Drop in to a traditional teahouse to taste some of the best Vietnamese flavoured green teas, and listen to thousand-year-oldstories explaining the significance of tea leaves to local cultures. Tea is even better when served with some authentic snacks such as sweetened lotus seeds and green bean cake.
Continuing on our Hanoi tour, we’ll head to the Hoa Lo Prison museum. Used by French Colonists for political prisoners till 1954 and later by North Vietnam for American POWs, the prison complex was sarcastically nicknamed the “Hanoi Hilton” by American pilots during Vietnam War (1954-1975). Famous ex-prisoners of war include Pete Peterson (the first US ambassador to a unified Vietnam in 1995), and US Senator John McCain.
Our next stop will be the largest and oldest church in Hanoi. St Joseph’s Cathedral