Hoan Kiem Lake

Hanoi is a city of lakes: West Lake (the biggest one in Hanoi), Giang Vo lake, Ngoc Khanh lake, Thanh Cong lake, among which Hoan Kiem Lake (Sword Lake) is regarded as the heart of Hanoi. Hoan Kiem Lake. Particularly,it is famous for its beauty and charm. The Sword lake represents the spiritual heart of the city. It is originally named Luc Thuy, which made it first appearance thousands of years ago.

Legend of the Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake means “Lake of the Returned Sword”. In the 15th century, the Chinese Ming invaded Vietnam. While Le Loi king was fishing on the lake, he netted a magnificent sword. Thanks to the power of the sword, Le Loi defeated Chinese after ten years of hard fighting (1418-1428). He became Vietnam’s hero. At that time, Vietnam’s capital is Thang Long, Hanoi present- day.

Later, in a beautiful afternoon the king and his entourages boated on the lake one more to return the sword from where it came. As the legend, a sudden clap of thunder rent the air, Golden Tortoise appeared from water to receive the sword from Le loi King’s hand then came back to the depth of lake. Since then, Luc Thuy Lake has been called Lake of the Returned Sword or Sword Lake (Ho Guom) for short.

The beauty of lake was contributed in by King Le Trung Hung (XVI century).
Complex of Ngoc Son Temple, The Huc Bridge, Pen Tower and Hoan Kiem Lake is now situated inside, making a colorful natural picture! Ngoc Son temple has undergone many renovations, especially the building of Thap But (Pen Tower) on its hill, which was once called Dao Tai. Besides, one of the outstanding features attracting many tourists is three words “Ta Thien Thanh” or “write on blue sky” which was inscribed. In Addition, the pool inside the gate with the shape of an ink was added. Above is The Huc bridge (the bridge of sunlight) which leads you to Dac Nguyet Lau (or “Moon Light tower”).

In the middle of the Lake, Turtle Tower is among the most beautiful site in complex site, which should not be missed. The tower is built with an aim to remind Vietnamese both young and old  people  of the Turtle God’s great assistances.

In the early morning, Hoan Kiem Lake is in its most beautiful mood. Today it becomes the ideal place for old people to do exercises in the morning, and for young people to walk, go jogging and so on. Sometimes, people here can still see the giant Turtle floating on the lake surface. Some people here believe that the floating Turtle may be the signal of something strange is going to happened, some others think he (the Turtle) can not bear the day by day pollution of the surroundings.


Despite the time’s ashes and dust, Hanoi’s lake still retains its peace and quietness. Hoan Kiem Lake is an evidence of a heroic Hanoi in the past and charming Hanoi today. That’s why tourists to Vietnam will visit Hoan Kiem lake as the first of their destination.

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