Hoan Kiem Lake - Halong Junk Cruises

Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake, “Lake of the Returned Sword” or “Lake of the Restored Sword”, also known as Hồ Gươm – Sword Lake is a lake in the historical center of Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam. The lake is one of the major scenic spots in the city and serves as a focal point for its public life.

Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake

If you are about to visit Hanoi for a few days, it is very likely that you will reside somewhere near Hoan Kiem Lake. It is a central feature of Hanoi and is a popular hangout spot throughout the day with locals and tourists.

Hoan Kiem Lake’s name points to the legend that is said to lie beneath its depths: It alludes to the legend that the future Vietnamese emperor Le Loi received a sword from a magic turtle at the lake’s edge. Le Loi drove the Chinese out of Vietnam with the sword, which was then reclaimed by the turtle after the invaders had left. North Vietnam tours packages

Greenish water

Greenish water

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.

In the middle of the lake is a small island with a small stone Pagoda. You can not get to it–there are no bridges or boats to the island. But you can get to the other slightly bigger island on the lake–Jade Island. To get there, you cross a small bright red wooden bridge (The Huc Bridge) that leads to the entrance of an 18th century Buddhist temple–the Temple of the Jade Mountain.

Hoan Kiem Lake at night

Hoan Kiem Lake at night

The lake offers plenty of trees and shaded spots in which to escape the busy city streets. Early morning sees Hoan Kiem Lake at its best, stirring to life as walkers, joggers and tai chi enthusiasts limber up in the half-light. Space is at a premium in this crowded city, and the lake’s strip of park meets multiple needs. The lake itself is small – you can walk round it in thirty minutes – and not particularly spectacular, but to Hanoians this is the soul of their city. 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.

Hoan Kiem Lake is considered one of the first things to see in Hanoi when one arrives in this bustling capital city.

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