What did I expect, when I visited the former Kingdom of a Million Elephants, the hidden jewel of old Indochina? An alternate Vietnam, where elephant did indeed roam the streets? A “lesser” version of Thailand, without the trademark smiles and tourist services to match?
Hanoi might genuinely be one of the few cities I've lived in where the sum of the parts is truly greater than the whole. Generally, Hanoi gets quite a bad press from a lot of western tourists; it's too polluted, the weather is temperamental and goes from one extreme to another, and most of all, the nightlife is incomparable to that of Saigon.