People often say that Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is so small that people can meet their relatives or friends or acquaintance in every ten minutes. To them, it may be small physically, but its history will be never significantly short. Once mentioning about Hanoi, the most place that comes to their mind is Hoan Kiem Lake, one the iconic landscape of people there in particular and of Vietnamese people in general.
If you are about to visit Hanoi for a few days, you are likely to reside somewhere near Hoan Kiem Lake since there is such a wonderful and amazing view day and night there. It is not only a lake but also a symbol of Vietnam. Tracing back to Vietnamese history when Emperor Le Loi as well as his warriors were trying to liberate our country from the domination of the Minh Empire from in the north of Vietnam, legend has it that Le Loi came across a shining metal bar when visiting his friend who had caught that bar once in an attempt to catch fish. The King then asked for bringing it home and moulded it into a sword. Unexpectedly, there was two words printed on the sword which are “Thuan Thien”, meaning being harmonious with heaven. The Emperor was happy to understand that it was a gift from heaven and used it for the battle against the war. Finally, when victory has come, at the beginning of 1428, on the trip to the Thuy Quan Lake (now is Hoan Kiem Lake), a tortoise rose above water and asked for the returning of the sword to the Dragon King. Le Loi then threw it to the lake and the tortoise took it then dove down to the water. Since this event, it has been renamed to Hoan Kiem Lake, which means returning the sword.
What is special about Hoan Kiem Lake that everyone should travel to this place once in their life is that its color is not commonly found in other lakes in the country. With a greenish color and sometimes dark or light shade depending on the reflection of the sky, Hoan Kiem Lake is a place of Ho Guom tortoise, a rare species living there. What’s more, at the middle of the lake is the Tortoise Tower which has become a historic destination for centuries. Hardly in your life will you find somewhere else fascinating and brilliant than Hoan Kiem Lake.
It’s easy to get to Hoan Kiem Lake since it is centrally located from Hanoi’s Old Quarter. From Noi Bai Airport, you will spend 40 minutes reaching here by taxi. If you want to stay in Hanoi for more days, there are plenty of hotels near Hoan Kiem Lake with the price from $30 to $300 per night.
It’s highly recommend that you get up early at 5 in the morning and come to Hoan Kiem Lake. You will see lines of people mostly the elderly and some adults standing around the lake and do the exercise. That sound fresh and cool for the beginning of the day, isn’t it? You would imagine yourself in a paradise where there is fresh air and tranquil atmosphere and you do not have to worry at all but just relax and deepen into the nature. In the afternoon, in the south of Hoan Kiem lake, you can see a matrix of motorbikes as well as cyclo, the famous three-wheeled carriers that take tourist with a round to some places in Hanoi. Holding your camera in your hand and taking the picture of this beautiful gorgeous landscape, you will find a moment for your own that can hardly find anywhere. Especially in the evening, it’s time for many couples side by side walking along the lake and sitting on a stone bench talking about their daily life. If you are free and really want to have a look at life in Hanoi, you can sit down, enjoy the night view and chat with local people or eating an ice-cream cone which is a famous thing there.
Even a person who was born in the southern region of Vietnam has a hope to return to Hanoi for another time, why don’t you have a trip to this, especially to Hoan Kiem Lake? If you are kind of the one who likes simplicity, tranquility and magnificent nature, Hoan Kiem Lake cannot be more perfect for you!