Many interesting sights are within walking distance of Hoan Kiem Lake, the tranquil heart of Hanoi. The lake is a magnet for locals and this is the place to join in a session of Tai Chi in the early morning. A lovely temple, Ngoc Son (on the lake) is reached by a small red lacquered bridge.
The Old Quarter with its 36 fascinating streets bustling with activity is to the north of the lake. A small section of the ’Hanoi Hilton’ or Hoa Lo Prison remains on Hoa Lo Street, although most of it was destroyed to make way for an office block.