No regist

[History] Hoan Kiem lake

2018.01.20 10:27 184 11



If you are about to visit Hanoi for a few days, it is very likely that you will reside somewhere near Hoan Kiem Lake. The lake is considered the center of Hanoi, not only physically but also symbolically. In fact, the more you spend time learning about the lake, the more special it becomes.


The tale goes that Le Loi King came across a shining metal bar when he visited his friend. It turned out that his friend caught the bar in one of his attempts for fish. The King asked for the bar, brought it home and moulded it into a sword. All of a sudden, there was two words printed on the sword “Thuan Thien” (harmonious with heaven).

Le Loi then understood that the sword was a gift from heaven. He used it for the battle against the war with a neighbouring country. At the beginning of 1428, when peace prevailed, on one of his trip to the Thuy Quan (now Hoan Kiem) Lake, there was a tortoise rising above water and shouting: “Please return the sword to the Dragon King”. Without hesitation, the King threw the sword to the lake. The tortoise took the sword and dove down the water. From then on, Thuy Quan became Hoan Kiem lake.

About the lake

The lake is not only special in her history. The water color of Hoan Kiem Lake is not commonly found in other lakes elsewhere in the country: greenish, with dark or light shade depending on the reflection of the sky. The lake is full of tortoise, which is second to none to be found among Vietnamese lakes. If you are lucky, you will catch sight of these giant animals rising out of water. And because tortoise is considered a sacred animal in Vietnam’s culture (along with dragon, phoenix and unicorn), Hoan Kiem Lake then become a holy place that nurtures tortoise.

Before and even after Hanoi’s massive expansion in 2009, Hoan Kiem lake is still a pride of all Hanoians and the center for any distance measurement. Nowadays, it’s still a gathering place yet new Hanoians may live too far to count their distance to the lake. Still, as you walk by, you will be able to witness the pace of life in this peculiar city.


If you can wake up early in the morning, at about 5 a.m., you will see lines and lines of oldies and teenagers doing anything from yoga to tai-chi to aerobics (read Our Blog on early morning exercises in Hanoi). It looks as if the whole city was up and running for morning exercise. They work out in group or by themselves, with or without equipment. In the course of one of the high profiled meetings in Hanoi, an Australian prime minister also joined the early jogging around the lake.

In the afternoon to the South end you can see a matrix of motorbikes twisting along the lake. Blending in is a gang of “cyclo” – the famous three-wheeled carriers that take tourists with cameras handy around. To the North end where the old quarters lies, an influx of colourful clothes and shoes will dazzle you, together with the smell of trees and coffees.

When darkness takes over, you can see couples holding hands walking side by side along the lake, trying to breathe in the breeze of summer night or keep warmth against the winter cold. If you have time and really want to observe Hanoi’s life, sit down on one of the stone bench, enjoy the view and have a good talk with some local friends over an ice-cream cone.

How to get there

Hoan Kiem Lake is centrally located and minutes walking from Hanoi’s Old Quarter, where most hotels gather. From Noi Bai Airport, it takes about 40 minutes to get here. If you stay in West Lake area, just take Yen Phu Road to reach the Old Quarter and head east to Hoan Kiem Lake.

13 0
Please login or sign in
- Anhnt - Activity : Economy Class / Level 9 - S-Level : 2
Stock 126,052
Activity 20,788
[A-Level 9] - Processing 62%
- Join Date : 2017-11-03 23:18:52
- Latest login : 2018-12-19 00:19:40
- Sign : no
- Introduction : no

Comment List 11

Linh15's comment

Linh15 2018.01.20 10:58

I'm here, now

Anhnt's comment

Anhnt 2018.01.20 11:05

Really. Take a photo

Van10's comment

Van10 2018.01.20 11:08

I wanna see tortoise. :3

Anhnt's comment

Anhnt 2018.01.20 15:52

:v :v

Tien's comment

Tien 2018.01.20 12:36

I have not been here for 5 years.

Anhnt's comment

Anhnt 2018.01.20 15:51

You can come here now :))

Ly12's comment

Ly12 2018.01.21 00:08

Chip's comment

Chip 2018.01.21 00:13

The placy is famous.

Hungtv's comment

Hungtv 2018.01.21 00:17

follow me

Anhnt's comment

Anhnt 2018.01.22 15:51

Yes. followed :D

Mo174's comment

Mo174 2018.01.21 00:19

I like this place

Total 14 - 1 page
Trangsunshine 2018.02.03 109 1 0
Anhnt 2018.01.20 185 13 0
Anhnt 2018.01.20 147 13 0
Minhtrang28 2018.01.06 153 2 0
kimthucnguyen 2018.01.05 120 3 0
stockmanager 2017.08.11 124 3 0
Tomboy 2017.12.28 137 3 0
Lavender 2017.12.28 139 3 0
stocking 2017.12.25 161 5 0
kimthucnguyen 2017.12.08 248 2 0
TranHue 2017.12.06 175 11 0
laclac 2017.12.04 206 3 0
stocking 2017.11.29 173 3 0
stocking 2017.11.29 157 3 0