Hoan Kiem Lake Ha Noi Vietnam: Detailed Guide

Hoan Kiem Lake (Sword lake) is the soul of Hanoi, Vietnam. With its prime location, Hoan Kiem is a great spot for unwinding and seeing the capital’s cultural and natural charms.

About Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem lake is the symbol of Hanoi. It’s located nicely at an intersection between the Old Quarter and the Western quarter. Around the lake, you can find several eateries, cafes, and attractions.

The lake was formerly known as Luc Thuy lake because of its green water all year round. It was afterward renamed Hoan Kiem, meaning Lake of the Returned Sword.

The Legend of Sword Lake

According to legend, at the beginning of the 15th century, King Le Loi picked up an iron bar that was as bright as a sword during the rebellion against the Ming invaders.

Thanks to the priceless sword, he and other dignitaries could defeat the Ming army and expel them from Vietnam.

Later, while on a voyage, the king had an unexpected sighting of a golden turtle floating on the lake, and the sword next to him started to glow and move. The monarch realized that the precious sword should be given back to the turtle.

Since then, the name Hoan Kiem Lake was born as a gratitude.

Things to do near Hoan Kiem lake

Thang Long Water Puppet Theater

Water puppetry is a unique traditional stage form in Vietnam.

On a lake, puppeteers perform while immersing themselves in water to manipulate wooden puppets behind a screen. You can book the water puppet show tickets here.

The Turtle Tower

Turtle Tower was built in the 19th century on Turtle Island in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake.

It has a unique structure with three stories that are constructed in the form of a rectangle and gradually get smaller from the bottom up.

East and west sides have a total of 3 rolling doors, while the south and north sides have 2 pointed rolling doors at the top.

The top of the tower is topped with a five-pointed star, which is the emblem of Vietnam. On the other hand, the first and second floors have railings that are encircled by four blades that gradually curve upward.

Hoan Kiem lake in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The Huc Bridge

The Huc Bridge connects visitors to Ngoc Son Temple, which is crossed over Sword Lake.

With the final red paint and curved design, the bridge becomes prominent in the heart of Sword Lake.

Ngoc Son temple

Built in the 19th century, Ngoc Son Temple is a sacred temple of Hanoi.

The temple is a historical artifact and a potent representation of the Vietnamese people’s belief in “three religions of the same land.”

Hanoi old quarter

Many of the city’s historic streets, such as Hang Ngang and Hang Dao, are located close to Hoan Kiem Lake. You can discover more about Hanoi’s way of life, culture, and food by exploring Hanoi old quarter.

How to get to Hoan Kiem lake

You can get to Hanoi from Ho Chi Minh, Da Nang, and other cities by flight, train, or bus.

To get to Hoan Kiem Lake, you can book Grab, taxi, or walk there. You can catch a bus to Hoan Kiem Lake. Here are some bus routes and stops:

  • Hanoi Post Office stop – bus 08, 09, 31, 36
  • Stop at Le Thai To 3rd, Hang Trong – bus 09, 31, 36
  • Stop number 15 Dinh Tien Hoang – bus 36
  • State bank of Vietnam stop – bus 04, 11, 18, 23, 34, 40
  • Stop at Hanoi Children’s Culture Palace – bus 04, 08, 11, 18, 23, 40
Hoan Kiem lake in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Best time to visit Hoan Kiem lake

The best time to visit Hoan Kiem lake is the middle of autumn, from October to November.

At this time, the weather in Hanoi is cool and pleasant, suitable for walking.

You can also enjoy delicious Hanoi dishes from street vendors while watching romantic yellow leaves falling. The passionate aroma of milk flowers blooming around the lake is also a lovely sight.

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