Hoan Kiem Lake a.k.a. Lake of the Returned Sword or Lake of the Restored Sword is located within Hanoi Old Quarter, which makes it a good spot to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s probably also the only place to get ‘fresher’ air in the Hoan Kiem district which is absolutely necessary because the roads are so badly polluted.
The name of the lake makes it sound like it’s from some martial arts novel (武侠小说) because it has a legend behind it.
According to wikipedia, an emperor was given a magic sword which he used to defeat the Chinese Ming Dynasty. When he returned the sword to the Golden Turtle God, he renamed the lake as such to commemorate the event.
The Turtle Tower (pictured above) which is linked to the legend, stands on a small island in the middle of the lake.
On the northern shore of Hoan Kiem Lake is Jade Island where the Ngoc Son Temple (a.k.a. Temple of the Jade Mountain) stands. This temple was built in the 18th century to honour war hero General Tran Hung Dao. The little island is connected to shore by the red-coloured The Huc Bridge (meaning ‘Morning Sunlight Bridge’).
The temple is open from 8.00am to 5.00pm daily and there is an entrance fee of 30,000 VND.
Appreciating the flowers as we walked round the lake which was a really nice stroll. Weather was cool and it was breezy too.
Many locals would come by the lake to exercise and to jog. There is even a group of older folks who start their morning with tai chi as early as 5am.
Street artist doing portrait drawing.
As we were walking around the Hoan Kiem Lake at night, we saw a few couples taking wedding photos with The Huc Bridge in the background and so I took a shot of it too. 🙂
Many have commented that this lake is beautiful and it’s worth getting a cuppa from a nearby coffee house just so you can sip coffee while admiring the scenery. Well it’s a relatively small lake and it’s not as spectacular as what some make it out to be but I do like the park aspect that offers a brief respite when you need to rest your legs.