Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi

4 out of 5 stars 103 Reviews

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  • The Turtle Tower (Thap Rùa)
    The Turtle Tower (Thap Rùa)
    by akkipaa
  • The Huc Bridge
    The Huc Bridge
    by akkipaa
  • Hoan Kiem Lake
    by akkipaa
  • good place to meet curious young locals

    by irvnes Written Feb 25, 2015

    fresh and lovely, i went there few times and each time locals came asking to either practice English and or just make friend. the only thing that irritate me was the lake that was very dirty and i hope government think to make this lake fresh and lively.

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    fresh air

    by duyducivan Written Feb 2, 2015

    Hoan Kiem lake where every morning i often wake up and do exercise with walking around the lake and take breath with fresh air. In addition, you can join a club where everyone does exercise together with music spoken by a cassetle. Everyone here always welcomes with a warm hug. They are friendly.

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    Early birds joy - Around Hoan Kiem

    by akkipaa Updated Jan 5, 2015

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    If you are an early bird, just take your running or walking shoes, cloth yourself comfortable and take a couple of round around Hoan Kiem Lake. You meet a lot co-runners, people having early one practising gymnastic, meditating people, groups having some fun and you really get an power kick for your day. Don't mind the weather, if there is rain you wet in and outside that is the only difference.

    No scooters, no noise, no smog, just the Lake (and the hidden turtles there) and you.

    The Turtle Tower (Thap R��a) The Huc Bridge
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    Hoan Kiem Lake

    by Gili_S Written Sep 16, 2014

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    Walk around the Hoan Kiem Lake. This lake is in the center of town just by the old quarter. It is excellent place to take a break from the chaotic traffic of the city, here you can walk peacefully without worry much about the scooters :)

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    The Legend of the Returned Sword

    by King_Golo Updated Jul 20, 2014

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    Ho Hoan Kiem means "lake of the returned sword". The story behind the name is a legend. In 1418, the Vietnamese emperor Le Loi fought a war against the Chinese. It wasn't going too well for him so when he walked by the lake one day, he saw a giant tortoise coming out of the water with a magic sword in its mouth. He took the sword and eventually defeated the Chinese army with it. When he was having his victory parade at the shores of Ho Hoan Kiem, the tortoise appeared again and demanded the sword back. Before he could do anything, the sword flew away from his hands to the tortoise's mouth. It disappeared in the water. The emperor had a temple built which can still be seen today.

    Now, here's the curious thing: In 1968, a giant tortoise was discovered dead in the lake. Scientists estimate that it's at least 200 years old. It is exhibited in the temple (Jade Hill Temple, located on a small island in Hoan Kiem Lake) and it is really huge: I would guess that it is about 1.5 metres long and weighs some 200 kilos.

    Apart from all these historic facts (that you can see in the shows in the Water Puppet Theatre next to the lake), Ho Hoan Kiem is a wonderful place to relax and watch the wind rippling the water. In the early morning and the evening, hundreds of Hanoians gather at the lakeshore to play badminton or do tai chi. Moreover, when you visit the lake at darkness, the lights of thousands vehicles passing by are beautifully reflected in the water.

    The entry gate of Jade Hill Temple The magic tortoise Hoan Kiem lake at night
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    Hoam Kiem Lake

    by shavy Written Mar 4, 2014

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    The lake is one of the major scenic spots in the city and serves as a focal point for its public life.
    Near the northern shore of the lake lies Jade Island on which the Temple of the Jade Mountain (Ngoc Son Temple) stands. The temple was erected in the 18th century

    A pleasant park in the centre of town, within easy walking distance from anywhere in the Old Quarter It's the locals favorite leisure spot, and a great place to watch people practicing tai chi in the morning or to sit and read in the afternoon.

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    Hoan Kiem lake

    by Elizviet Written Oct 30, 2013

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    Ho Hoan Kiem (or Lake of the Restored Sword) was once part of the Red river (song Hong). Throughout thousands of years of geographical changes, the lake moved eastward to its present position kilometers from the river. Before the famous historical legend of King Le Loi here, Hoan Kiem Lake used to be called Luc Thuy Lake (or Green Water Lake) since the water was green all the year round. In 15th century, it was named Hoan Kiem Lake after the legend of Emperor Le Thai To, which is somehow similar to the story of King Arthur and the Lady of the Lake's. . During the wedding season, I'd seen professional photographers snap shots of brides and grooms on the green lawns beside the water. Traditionally, at midnight on the first night of the Tet New Year celebration, the most significant moment in Vietnam's year, the smoke cloud of a millioin exploding firecrackers covered the lake like a blanket on a newborn. Hanoians didn't even call Hoan Kiem Lake by its popular name, but used a shorthand term of endearment, bo ho, "the shore of the lake." No one had to ask, which shore? which lake? Bo ho wasn't merely the heart of the city, but its lungs, and mind, and soul as well. The ‘tortoises’ of Hoan Kiem Lake are actually rare Asian soft-shelled freshwater giant turtles (the word ‘rua’ in Vietnamese covers both species). An unknown number still inhabit the murky water –occasionally a head pops up, a powerful omen of good luck for anyone fortunate to witness the event.

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    Hoan Kiem Lake

    by IreneMcKay Updated Jul 7, 2013

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    Hoan Kiem Lake is located in the centre of Hanoi. The lake's name means Lake of the Returned Sword. Warrior Le Loi was presented with a sword by a magic turtle on the lake's edge. Le Loi used this sword to fight the Chinese and drive them out of Vietnam. After his great victory, he was made emperor of Vietnam. One day when he was sailing on the lake, his sword fell into the waters. No matter how hard he looked he could not find it. It had been returned to the magic turtles of the lake.

    There are two temples on the lake: Tortoise Pagoda (Thap Rua) at the south end of the lake and Ngoc Son Temple at the north end.

    Ngoc Son Temple, which dates from the 14th century, can be reached by crossing the Huc (Morning Sunlight) Bridge - a pretty red wooden bridge.

    Launching a boat onto the lake. Launching a boat onto the lake. Vendors beside the lake. Vendors beside the lake. Vendors beside the lake.
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    Ngoc Son Temple

    by ValbyDK Updated Mar 2, 2013

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    Ngoc Son Temple (meaning “Jade Mountain”) is located on an island of Hoan Kiem Lake in central Hanoi. It honours some national heroes, and was founded in the 14th century, but the current temple buildings are from the around 1850.

    You have to walk through the Three-Passage Gate (Tam Quan) and across the Flood of Morning Sunlight Bridge (The Huc) to enter the temple. At the Huc Bridge stands a 9 meter high obelisk called the Pen Tower (Thap But) because its tip resembles a brush. It is written in Chinese characters: A pen to write on the blue sky.

    The temple didn't look very interesting from outside, but inside it was fascinating with many small rooms filled with incense, candles, and colourful statues. The island was a peaceful place for many older Vietnamese, who sat beneath the shady trees and played Chinese chess or checkers. A nice place.

    Ngoc Son Temple Ngoc Son Temple Ngoc Son Temple Flood of Morning Sunlight Bridge (The Huc) Pen Tower (Thap But)
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    Hoan Kiem Lake

    by ValbyDK Updated Mar 2, 2013

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    Hoan Kiem Lake is located in the centre of Hanoi - within walking distance from the Old Quarter – and is one of the major scenic spots in the city. Hoan Kiem means "returned sword", and the name comes from a legend in which King Le Loi in the 15th century was given a magical sword by the gods. He used the sword to drive out the invading Chinese Ming Dynasty, and after he used the sword, a giant turtle returned it to the gods. Rumours say that the giant turtle still inhabit the lake, and the Tortoise Tower (Thap Rua) - standing on a small island near the center of lake - is linked to the legend.

    Another island is located near the northern shore, it is the Jade Island on which the Ngoc Son Temple (Jade Mountain Temple) stands (read my other tips).

    Hoan Kiem Lake is a nice place for a walk and you can walk around it in 30-45 minutes. There are a few restaurants with a great view of the lake. If you visit the lake in the morning or late afternoon you can watch many people exercising tai chi.

    Hoan Kiem Lake Tortoise Tower
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    National Tuong in Hanoi, Viet nam

    by She.lj Written Mar 17, 2012

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    Tuong singing was imported from China around the 13th century. Stories in the opera tend to be ostensibly historical and frequently focus on the rules of social decorum. Like chèo and other forms of opera from around the world, tuồng employs the use of stock characters who are recognizable from their make-up and costumes, which are typically very elaborate and extravagant.

    For hundreds years, Tuong increasingly has become an soulful enjoyment in Viet nam people's spiritual life.
    In an attempt to express their aspiration,ordinary people organise shows,where performers tell the audiences folk stories. The actor- audience relationship is positioned as close as spectators have an opportunity for interacting with performers, developing their own imagination and stimulating actor's creation.

    An unique aspects of Tuong is the concept of space and time which is depicted by acting,dancing and music, an ephemeral art.

    Recently, Viet Nam Tuong Theatre often organises Tuong plays for tourists who visit Ha Noi, Viet Nam from 6pm to 7pm on thursday and friday weekly. It has become an unique and powerful traditional theatrical form of Viet Nam.

    Face of Tuong Traditional Tuong
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    Hoam Kiem lake.

    by cachaseiro Written Nov 4, 2011

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    The Hoam kiem lake is one of the nicest parts of Hanoi in my opinion.
    it´s one of the many lakes in Hanoi and it´s located right next to the old part of town.
    You have the charming little "turtle tower" out in the middle of the lake and if you go to the lake in the morning then you will see hundreds of people doing Thai Chi, playing badminton, jogging and doing other excercise there.
    The Hoam Kiem lake is one of the breathing holes of Hanoi and i really like it.

    Hoam Kiem lake. Hoan Kiem lake.
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    TAKE A WALK BY THE HOAN KIEM LAKE

    by DennyP Written Oct 9, 2011

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    A pleasant way to spend an afternoon is to take a walk by the Hoan Kiem Lake..Located in the heart of Hanoi is easy to find and a leisurely stroll around its perimeter is relaxing..The standout is the little pagoda type structure that stands in the centre of the Lake but wasn't sure what its significance was...closeby is the Main Post office if you have anything to mail...this is the place to do it and it is so easy to notice the french influence in the Architecture here. this is a great Landmark to find your bearings around this Old Quarter

    PAGODA IN THE MIDDLE OF LAKE HOAN KIEM ANOTHER VIEW OF THE LAKE AND PAGODA THE BACK STREETS IN THE OLD QUARTER ANOTHER VIEW.
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  • We saw the legendary turtle in Hoan Khiem Lake

    by graemew Written Sep 10, 2011

    My wife and I first visited Hanoi in 2008 and we were intrigued by the story of the giant mythical, turtle but believed that in a small polluted lake any such animals if they ever existed there would be long gone. In a subsequent visit in 2010 we heard shrieks of excitement from a group of locals at the temple end of the lake and went to check. We couldn't believe our eyes - there was this massive turtle swimming right near the edge. Our hotel manager assurred us that after that sighting we were to be blessed with a good life. Most long time Hanoi residents were normally not so lucky in a lifetime. We later learned that in March 2011 after many attempts it was captured to treat it for injuries. It seems that around the time of our sighting the creature was surfacing a lot, probably because it was unwell. I haven't heard anything since and when we return in October 2011 we hope the story has a happy ending. and that the world population of these beautiful creatures hasn't been cut to three.
    You might not be lucky enough to see the turtle but the lake environs and the nearby Old Quarter are well worth a few days of your time.

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  • The Huc (The Rising Sun)

    by wiriya08 Written Aug 25, 2011

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    Many people visit The Huc Bridge in day time.This Lake number one in Hanoi
    The temple may be one of Hanoi's most important and most popular, but it is the iconic red bridge that connects the temple to the main land - The Huc (The Rising Sun) - that gets the top spot in terms of the most photographed.
    Water Puppet Show theater are nearby.

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