Hoan Kiem Lake, or Lake of the Returned Sword is located in the center of Hanoi within the area of the Old Quarter. The lake has been there for a long time witnessing how Hanoi had changed over hundreds years. Hoan Kiem Lake – The heart of Hanoi

Legend about Hoan Kiem Lake

In the mid-15th century, the future Vietnamese Emperor Ly Thai To (Le Loi) was given a magical sword from a magic turtle when he was wandering around the lake. Later on, he used the sword to drive the Chinese invader out of Vietnam.

When the war ended, the Emperor was enjoying his boating tour within the lake, a giant magic tortoise appeared. He realized that the creature was the one which gave him the sword before. He gave the creature back the sword, then it swam back into the depths of the lake. From that moment on, the lake got its new name – Hoan Kiem Lake or the Lake of the Returned Sword.

Hoan Kiem Lake – The heart of Hanoi

A trip to Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake is located within the area of the Old Quarter. Walking along the streets of Dinh Tien Hoang to the south, you could find the lake.

Numerous types of lush trees with different shades of green surrounding the lake giving it a stunning look from above. People coming to Hoan Kiem Lake or even local people love wandering around the edges of the lake and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere here forgetting about all the chaos in life out there. You could also find some old men playing chess on benches around the lake creating a charming picture that is really “Hanoian”!

Hoan Kiem Lake is also the place where Vietnamese people gather together to countdown to a new year.

Hoan Kiem Lake – The heart of Hanoi

Interesting destinations around Hoan Kiem Lake

The lake is known as the heart of Hanoi, it is the center of Hanoi tourism because visitors could find a lot of interesting attractions around the lake. Walk all the way along to the north of Hoan Kiem Lake, you could find the Old Quarter’s ancient streets which represent a lot of memories of Hanoi’s past and present. Move to the south of the lake, you could find the French Quarter where you will have a chance to discover how amazing the cultural diversity of Hanoi is.

The center of Hoan Kiem Lake is the Turtle Tower, which is located on an islet standing out in the lake. One interesting thing about Hoan Kiem Lake is that, if you get a chance to stay here for several days, then come here in the early morning and try to join local people doing their traditional morning exercises, jogging or playing sports around the lake.

A stunning landscape you should not miss here is Ngoc Son Temple, which is surrounded by the lake in the north. The temple is located in the center of an islet, peacefully and quietly but still keeps its impressive appearance till today.

Hoan Kiem Lake – The heart of Hanoi

Tourists could cross the Huc Bridge to reach Ngoc Son Temple. This is a beautiful red-painted wooden bridge you could see easily from a far distance. It was built in the 1400s to connect the temple with the land. Ngoc Son Temple has long become a sacred place of worship, a destination for monks and devotees to come and perform their religious duties.

Within the precinct of the temple, you could find other interesting structures such as the Pen Tower or the Moonlight Tower. Each of them represents different meanings but both of them are the places where all the students passing the national examinations were honored many years ago.

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