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Hanoi or HMC in October

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I'm a 34 year old male. I want to go to Vietnam (solo) in October, for approximately 10-12 days. I don't think that's enough time to do both of the above cities, i would rather focus on one of them and add on trips to towns/cities around that region. (IE Hanoi / Halong Bay / Sapa) I plan on mostly sightseeing and wandering around. EATING. And while it's not a priority on this trip, a couple of days on a beach - weather permitting - would be nice, so any recommendations for that time of year are welcome.
For a first time visitor to Vietnam, which city would you recommend and why? What other places would you recommend along with that city?
I hear that places on the central coast such as Hue, Hoi An, etc are wonderful - so would it be worth the time to make the journey to one or both of these places from either Hanoi or HMC?
Thanks in advance!

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