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Half-Day Hanoi Food Tour by Motorbike
"8:30am (or flexible time) – Meet your guide. Your guide will collect you from your hotel.9:00am – Meet the group at a cafe in the Old Quarter. Sit on the street and drink egg coffee or tea.9:30am – Tour around Hanoi’s Old Quarter and Hoan see famous old buildings up close and feel the atmosphere of the locals doing business.10:00am – Arrive at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum where you will have a guided tour on foot with a professional tour guide to talk to you about its history and answer any questions you may have.10:50am – Ride around the city outside of the Old Quarter where most tourists find it hard to visit past some of the majestic and historical buildings to the edge of West Lake.11:40am – Ride around the West Lake
From $68.00
Amazing Morning Hanoi Bike Tour
"Our tour guide will meet up at your hotel after short brief information about the biking route and manual introduction. We will start the trip by cycling above the Red River on Hanoi’s legendary Long Bien Bridge built by the famous Eiffel construction company at the beginning of 20th century. We have short breaks at the bridge and standing in the middle of the bridge you can see the banana and vegetable farmlands on Bai Giua Island of the Red River which is the best place to take some extraordinary photo of the green fields and the working farmers. Enjoy and breathe fresh air in the sunrise.Moving on we will go along ""Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural along the Red River"". It has been listed in the Guinness World Records as the longest pottery-decorated road in the world.Afterwards we will stop at Quang Ba flower market
From $48.00
Half-Day Hanoi Motorbike Tour
"Our tour guide and driver pick you up at the hotel then start the tour. At first you are taken to cafe meeting point to meet your group have a full safety briefing about the Tour and enjoy street food. Then tour around Hanoi city's popular and historic sights like Hanoi Opera House Old Quarter
From $58.00

Hoan Kiem Lake Tips (109)

Hoan Kiem lake

The lake is in the center of the city. Surrounded by market , cafe and foodstall. Even for the local people this lake is interesting, it's nice to take a walk around it or jogging or even just sitting and watching the activities.

BeeTea's Profile Photo
May 20, 2005

Respite from the Heat / Morning exercise

Early morning, you will be surprised by the big turnout of early risers exercising at and around the lake. As though the entire Hanoi exercises...

If you are wilting from the heat, cool yourself off under the shady willows of the lake. However, heat does get refracted off the water so it doesn't solve the problem of humidity.

It's also a good place to orientate yourself between the French Quarter and Old Quarter and there is no lack of shopping or restaurants in the vicinity.

akikonomu's Profile Photo
Aug 08, 2005

The Soul of Hanoi

Hoan Kiem Lake is considered by Hanoians to be the soul of their city. You can circle the entire lake in thirty minutes without breaking a sweat, allowing ample time for photographs of, among other things, the Tortoise Tower.

bsfreeloader's Profile Photo
May 21, 2007

tai chi dancing

this is a must do in Ha Noi see the old people doing the Tai chi in the misty morning in Hoan Kiem Lake. They will even take time to teach you and you can participate if you want. Very nice site. Afterwards have a cup of vietnamese coffee in the small Boulangerie next to the Lake in the cold morning

pinakiray2003's Profile Photo
Jan 23, 2007
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Hotels Near Hoan Kiem Lake

17 Hang Can, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, 00844, Vietnam
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59 Hang Cot, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam
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11 Le Hong Phong Street, Hanoi, Vietnam
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15 Tran Quoc Toan Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, 00000, Vietnam
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32 Cua Nam Street, HoanKiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam
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45 Nguyen Truong To, Hanoi, Vietnam
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Hoan Kiem Lake

Just in the center of Hanoi, this lake contains two islands: one with the Ngoc Son Temple, another one (no access) with Tortoise Tower. The legend about a sword and a turtle, that gives the name to the lake, is found in every guidebook, and I will not repeat it here. The lake is fun to walk around: with the exception of the North end, the shore is very quiet and is a good contrast to downtown Hanoi. The Tortoise Tower is lighted nicely in the evening.

blanter's Profile Photo
Jan 30, 2007

Walk around the lake in the morning

There is a lake in the center of hanoi and its bustling with life in the early morning. Around 5 plus in the morning to 7 am, you can see lots of people jogging in the park, practising tai chi and doing mass aerobics. Its interesting to just walk around and take a look.

yock's Profile Photo
Jun 24, 2005

Hoan Kiem lake

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.

Elizviet's Profile Photo
Oct 30, 2013

Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake is the heart of Hanoi. The lake is always busy with people sitting around, walking, exercising, or selling crap to tourists.

On the south side of the lake is a three-tiered pavilion on a tiny island in the lake. This is known as Tortoise Tower. Legend has it that a giant golden tortoise reclaimed a magical sword lent to King Le Loi by the king of sea. According to the legend the sword is still in the lake is a reminder of their history in repelling foreign invaders. Giant tortoises have occasionally been spotted in the lake and they say that it is good luck to spot one.

The north side of the lake has and island where you cross an arched red Hun Bridge to get to Den Ngoc Son (Temple of the Jade Mound). There is a $1 toll to get there.

Blatherwick's Profile Photo
Oct 10, 2004
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"The Adventure Continues in Hanoi ! Hanoi !"
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"Good morning Hanoi !"
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"Hanoi - City of the Soaring Dragon"
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"Hanoi - City of Absorbing Sights and Sounds"
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Scenic red lacquered bridge for romantics

The Huc Bridge, a very scenic red lacquered timber bridge, is situated at the north-eastern corner of Hoan Kiem Lake – a tranquil setting in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter. The “Flood of Morning Sunlight” provides views towards Turtle Island and access to the Ngoc Son Temple.

Should be high up on any Hanoi itinerary, particularly for romantic types or photographic buffs.

JohanIsWeg's Profile Photo
Feb 20, 2011

Tale of the turtle

The legend of the Hoan Kiem turtle has great significance for Vietnamese people, dating back to the 15th century. It is believed that while cruising the lake, a turtle surfaced and demanded from king Le Loi that he return to the lake a sacred sword used in defeating the Ming.

The turtle either grabbed the sword or Le Loi unsheathed and gave it to the turtle, renaming it Hoan Kiem “Lake of Returned Sword”. It is still hotly debated whether the lake contains a single turtle, which reputedly lives up to 700 years, or whether there are five turtles that surface to mark important national events. Apparently, three Hoan Kiem turtles are held in captivity, two in Chinese zoos.

Turtle Tower is built on a small island on the southern side of Hoan Kiem Lake.

JohanIsWeg's Profile Photo
Feb 20, 2011

Ngoc Son Temple - and its stuffed occupant

The Ngoc Son Temple is dedicated to national hero Tran Hung Dao who defeated an alleged force of 30,000 Mongol warriors dispatched by Kublai Khan to extend his empire. In a separate room to the side of the main altar is a preserved giant turtle, which sadly died from injuries suffered after the Ha Noi Food Company caught it in 1967. Weighing about 200kgs, the company intended selling the meat when the Ha Noi People’s Committee intervened and prevented the sale.

However, don’t rush inside – first view the architectural adornments on the outside of the temple…

JohanIsWeg's Profile Photo
Feb 20, 2011

Hoan Kiem Lake - Hanoi's landmark

Ho Kiem lake is a must-see place in Hanoi, within walking distance from Old Quarters. In the evening, this lake is filled with locals taking strolls or tourists shooting photographs of the famous red bridge, or little pagoda in the middle of the lake.

juliewong's Profile Photo
Dec 23, 2006

Things to Do Near Hoan Kiem Lake

Things to Do

Old Quarter

In the Old Quarter you will find many ladies with their carrying yokes, especially near Dong Xuan Market. They will wander the streets usually selling vegetables and fruit, often sitting down at the...
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Perfume Pagoda

About a 2hour or 70ks drive from Hanoi, it gives you a chance to see the countryside, and perhaps, breathe in a little cleaner air, although there is smog still here. At the town of Ben Duc, you...
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Hanoi Stock Exchange

Hanoi Stock Exchange is located at the huge intersection across the road from Hanoi Opera House. The Stock Exchange opened its doors in 2005 and more recent;y in 2015 it became a member of the United...
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In several cities throughout the world i have come across various lampposts that are attractive and the lampposts of Hanoi are no exception. Although i did not specifically search for lampposts i...
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Hang Da Market

The three floor Hang Da Market is a little different from the two others we visited as it is smaller and sells a different range of items. It is located a little west of the Old Quarter and sells...
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Things to Do


If you want to try some street food where there are very few tourists try visiting Ngo Trang Tien, a small alleyway near Trang Tien Street. I wandered down the alleyway while me wife was doing her...
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Getting to Hoan Kiem Lake


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