Hoan Kiem Lake: A Symbol of History and Beauty

Hoan Kiem Lake, also known as Sword Lake, holds a significant place in the heart of Hanoi. This picturesque lake is more than just a scenic spot; it’s a gateway into history, culture, and legend. Let’s delve into the allure of this iconic lake and discover why it remains a top spot to wander around for travellers and locals alike.
Located in the bustling Old Quarter of Hanoi, Hoan Kiem lake stands as a testament to the capital’s rich heritage. Its serene waters and lush surroundings provide a tranquil escape from the chaos of urban life. But beyond its natural beauty, it holds a deeper significance ingrained in Vietnamese culture and history.

The Legend of Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake, often referred to as the “Lake of the Returned Sword,” is steeped in myth and legend. According to local lore, the lake is associated with a 15th-century tale involving Emperor Le Loi and a magical sword bestowed upon him by the Dragon King. After using the sword to repel Chinese invaders, he returned it to the lake, where it was claimed by a golden turtle deity. This legend has since become the symbol of the lake, symbolizing Vietnam’s triumph over foreign invaders and the resilience of Vietnamese people. Hoan Kiem in Vietnamese means “Returned Sword.”  Visitors to Hoan Kiem Lake can’t help but feel the weight of history as they gaze upon its tranquil waters and iconic landmarks.

Famous Landmarks On The Lake

Ngoc Son Temple: A Sanctuary on the Lake

One of the most famous landmark when taking about this lake is Ngoc Son Temple, an ancient shrine nestled on a small island within Hoan Kiem Lake. Accessible via the picturesque Huc Bridge, this temple is dedicated to Confucian and Taoist philosophers, as well as Vietnamese national heroes. Visitors can explore the temple’s intricate architecture, learn about its storied past, and soak in the spiritual ambience that pervades the island.

Turtle Tower: Symbol of Hanoi’s History

Another iconic feature of Sword Lake is Turtle Tower (Thap Rua), an architectural marvel situated on a small islet in the southern part of the lake. This towering structure serves as a visual reminder of the lake’s legendary origins and the enduring spirit of Hanoi. As the sun sets and the city lights illuminate the night sky, Turtle Tower stands as a beacon of history and heritage, captivating visitors with its timeless allure.

Nearby Attractions

Aside from its historical significance, the area also offers a wealth of recreational activities for visitors to enjoy. From morning exercises and tai chi sessions along the lakeshore to weekend night markets bustling with energy and excitement, there’s no shortage of things to see and do around the lake.
This lake serves as a gateway to some of Hanoi’s most iconic landmarks and attractions. Nearby, visitors can explore the grandeur of the Hanoi Opera House, immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere of Dong Xuan Market, or marvel at the architectural splendour of St. Joseph’s Cathedral. With so much to see and experience in the vicinity, Hoan Kiem Lake serves as the perfect starting point for a memorable journey through Hanoi.
For shopping enthusiast, be sure to check out Trang Tien Plaza, an iconic symbol of the Old Quater and also a haven for all shopping lovers. It’s the most luxurious shopping center in Hanoi.
On the basement of Trang Tien plaze, there’s a famous ice-cream shop among locals. Many locals enjoy wandering around the lake while having an ice-cream in hand.

Getting to Hoan Kiem Lake

Getting to this lake is pretty easy, thanks to its central location in Hanoi center. Visitors can easily access the lake by taxi, public transportation, or even on foot from various parts of the city. Once there, you can find many parking spots and pedestrian-friendly pathways. The fee for one parking ticket is around 10.000vnd for a motorbike.


In conclusion, Hoan Kiem Lake stands as a symbol of history, beauty, and cultural heritage in the heart of Hanoi. From its legendary origins to its iconic landmarks and vibrant surroundings, the lake offers a captivating glimpse into Vietnam’s rich past and dynamic present. Whether you’re seeking spiritual enlightenment, historical intrigue, or simply a peaceful retreat from the urban hustle and bustle, be sure to book a Hanoi tour with YESD Travel to immerse yourself in its timeless charm and discover the essence of Hanoi.
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