The Hoàn Kiếm Lake, Hanoi, Vietnam

© Cyril Doussin

© Cyril Doussin

The Hồ Hoàn Kiếm, or “Lake of the Returned Sword”, is located at the center of Hanoi’s old city (Vietnam). In the northern vietnamese heat, the shadowy promenade around the lake is a peaceful getaway from the urban chaos.

According to the legend, emperor Lê Lợi was boating on the lake when his magic sword, Heaven’s Will, was grabbed by a turtle who quickly disappeared into the depths. All attempts to find either the sword or the turtle failed. Lợi concluded that the Golden Turtle God (Kim Qui) had come to reclaim the sword that it had given Lợi some time earlier, during his revolt against the Chinese Ming Dynasty. Lợi renamed the lake to commemorate this event, it was formerly known as Luc Thuy meaning “Green Water”). The Turtle Tower (Thap Rùa) standing on a small island near the centre of lake is linked to the legend.

© Damien Bouhours

© Damien Bouhours

This historically important lake for the Vietnamese people pay hommage to the mystical turtle with a pagoda situated in the middle of it.

A charming café on the lake grounds will help you relaxing while sipping on a cold drink. If you have decided to sit on a bench to gaze on the lake, you will probably get disturbed by all the street sellers circumbulating around the lake and its visitors.

© Damien Bouhours

© Damien Bouhours

Don’t miss :
– Taking a selfie on the Huc Bridge to immortalize your visit.
– Watch the locals practicing tai-chi at dawn.
– Cross the street (be aware of the motorbikes) to watch the traditional puppet show at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater.

How to go there?
The lake is bordered by the streets of Pho Dinh Tien Hoang to the north and east, Pho Hang Khay at its south end, and Pho Le Thai To on the west.

Cyril Doussin

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