I don't know how to rate this, because we weren't expecting a lot. The city-center market was fascinating, because you got to see how a middle-class grows and thrives. Someone has to catch the live seafood, then someone has to buy it, then someone has to rent the space in the market and sell it to the locals. Thus the evolution of the economy. What first seems poverty turns into a thriving lifestyle. Be aware that there are amputee beggars lying and beseeching. We have so much, and they have nothing, so dropping a dollar or two isn't a big deal. Except that you get noticed.
The tuk-tuk drivers are the hungriest people on the planet. We took the bus into town,and the local drivers zoomed along side us and (seemingly) picked out us as targets. Once in town, they didn't let us go. Ever. One followed us into the market, and we had to wind our way in and out of the stalls to try to lose him. When we finally thought we were rid of him, he showed up again, trying to give us a tour. I finally gave in, and let him drive me back to the ship for about $10l
My husband was bound and determined to get a massage in every port. When he asked the tuk-tuk driver about it, he was taken to a brothel. Nope. Next stop, a place that wasn't very clean. Nope. Final stop, a place with a blind masseur who was wonderfull
Presidential palace was interesting. Ho hum on the Notre Dame cathedral & post office. Lacquerware shopping stop was interesting & expensive.
Cu Chi Tunnels Rating: Not Rated
Again, hard to give this a rating, as an American. They won, they get to write the history. Very interesting, and heard the first comments from my Vietnam veteran say that the nearby shooting sounded like what he experienced. A must see for any devotee of history.
Be aware that the "Hanoi Hilton" is largely devoted to French atrocities against the Vietnamese, and that only one room is devoted to the spectacular treatment given to the US POWs. They are shown to be so happy & healthy that they are decorating a Christmas tree. I almost threw up.
Halong Bay Rating:
Great cruise among spectacular scenery for about 1/2 the cost of the cruise line's tour.