If the Temple of Literature is seen as the leading historical and cultural relic, Hoan Kiem Lake – Ngoc Son temple is the leading natural landscape.

Previously, Hoan Kiem lake was called Lục Thủy (green water) because the water’s color is green in all seasons. In the 15th century, Lục Thủy was renamed Hoan Kiem lake because it relates to a legend of returning sword for golden tortoise of King Le Thai To. When he was young, he caught a sword carried with him during the war against the Ming thereafter. After conquering the invaders, he became the king and located the capital in Thang Long (Hanoi today). One day, he was relaxing in a boat on the lake, suddenly, a giant tortoise appeared. Le Loi took out the sword and moved toward the tortoise but it grabbed the sword and dived into the water. At that time, Le Loi realized that the God only lent him the word to combat the Ming, therefore, after gaining the power, the God required him to return it. And Le Loi thought that the God sent the tortoise to retrieve the sword. As a result, he renamed the lake, Hoan Kiem means returning the sword. On the mound floating in the lake, there is a tower, where tortoises often lay their eggs, thus it is so-called Tortoise Tower.

Hoan Kiem Lake

Visit Hoan Kiem Lake, you gain insights into Vietnamese culture and explore the lifestyle of Vietnamese people. Furthermore, visitors can understand why they consider Hoan Kiem Lake is one of the most important area and seen as a typical symbol when they think about Vietnam through the legend from ancient time until now. Go through many ups and downs fluctuations of history, Hoan Kiem Lake is often referred to as a symbol of Hanoi now. Like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy, the Statue of Liberty in the US, … Hoan Kiem Lake is a witness going through the years, and vigorously through legends passed down from generation to another generation.

Until now, when you walk around Hoan Kiem Lake every morning, you can discover the images of middle-aged people or older people exercising taichi or dancing together. This is an exciting scene that you can hardly see in other place around the world. In the afternoon, Hoan Kiem Lake is warm with happy smiles of several families going out together, of boys and girls with brilliant colors of balloons. The city lighting up bustlingly has made the space around the lake more shimmering and sparkling.

Hoan Kiem Lake

Your trips in Hanoi can last 1 day, 2 days, or even 4 days and longer than that, but Hoan Kiem Lake never is a destination allowed to be ignored. Whether they are newcomers or people who have been here for years, Hoan Kiem Lake is a lasting image in the hearts of those people.
Besides, there are many famous places around Hoan Kiem lake that increase the ancient values. Some typical places are Ngoc Son temple, The Huc bridge, Pen Tower, Kieu temple, Le Thai To temple, Hoa Phong tower….