In mid of 2008 I had a chance to visit Vietnam. Because of the limited time (and fund) I have to choose between Ho Chi Minh or Ha Noi. I choose Ha Noi because just a week before the visit my friend mentioned Ha Long bay, which happens to be located at Ha Noi, and upon googling I found that the place is quite fascinating. And the most important, its cheaper.
Being a poor traveler, of course I flew by budget airliner and the consequences is that I arrived almost midnight. I stay at Old Quarter, in one of the cheapest hotel I can find online. Turns out the hotel is quite good and the staff are nice bunches, so USD25 a night is money well spent.