I spent an afternoon with one of the free guides, a recent economics graduate and native of Hanoi. It was a wonderful experience and I recommend it to anyone looking for an insider's perspective on the city and Vietnamese culture. We visited the Opera House, the History Museum and ended our tour with an egg coffee at a hidden spot popular with the locals--something I never would have done on my own. During our time together the guide, Mei, about 22, told me about popular Vietnamese TV shows (the Voice Vietnam), the communist party, youth culture, and much else I never could have learned from a Lonely Planet or wandering alone. While her English was basic, it actually made me feel useful by helping her improve.
This is a great service and totally flexible with your schedule and what you want to see--take advantage of it!
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