Table Of Contents
- Where is Hoan Kiem Lake?
- History of Hoan Kiem Lake
- The Turtle In Hoan Kiem Lake
- How To Get To Hoan Kiem Lake?
- Tourist Destinations Near Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem Lake, the heart of Hanoi’s capital, is a place you cannot miss when coming to Hanoi. This place is not only a favorite destination of tourists, but it also has valuable cultural and historical value to the nation.
Now, let’s go with Culture Pham Travel to explore all about Hoan Kiem Lake or Ho Guom. And if you need a tour to explore all the beauty of Ho Guom and Hanoi, you may be interested in our services, such as Hanoi Shore Excursions and Ha Noi City Tour.
Where is Hoan Kiem Lake?
Hoan Kiem Lake, known by many as Ho Guom – Sword Lake, is a natural freshwater lake in the middle of Hanoi. Before having its current name, it used to be called Luc Thuy Lake because of its green water in all four seasons. In addition, another name is Thuy Quan Lake – Lake used to review sailors.
Until about the 15th century, it was renamed Hoan Kiem Lake (returning the sword), associated with the legend of King Le Thai To return the sword to the turtle. And that name has been kept until the present time.
This lake intersects famous old quarters such as Hang Dao Street, Luong Van Can Street, Hang Ngang Street, etc. The Western Quarters planned by the French more than 100 years ago are Trang Thi, Trang Tien, Dinh Tien Hoang, Ba Trieu, Hang Bai, etc.
Thanks to this geographical location, Hoan Kiem Lake is very convenient for visitors to access and walk around the lake. In addition, you can also visit famous landmarks around as well as learn about the distinctive culture of the old town system around the lake.
Hoan Kiem Lake is about 12ha wide, with a length of 700m, a width of 200m and an average depth of 1m – 1.4m. And this is the residence of the Tortoise God in the myth of King Le Loi, who returned the sword.
In the middle of the lake is Turtle Island – Where a hundred-year-old Turtle Tower is erected in memory of the Divine Turtle. The second floating island on Hoan Kiem Lake is Ngoc Island in the north of the lake. Ngoc Island has Ngoc Son Temple and the red “The Huc bridge” extending from the shore to the island.
History of Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem Lake is not simply a tourist destination but also a place of crucial spiritual value for the people of the capital. Just mentioning it, most people will immediately think of Hanoi.
As mentioned above, the name “Hoan Kiem” comes from a legend of King Le Thai To – Le Loi returning the sword to the God Turtle. Most Vietnamese people had heard this story when they were children, so it is not too unfamiliar.
Legend has it that in the 15th century, Vietnam was under the domination of the Northern invaders, and they oppressed and exploited the people. Faced with a dangerous situation, Dragon King lent his sword to King Le Loi. The Vietnamese army successfully chased away the foreign invader’s thanks to the sword’s power. After that, the country was peaceful, and all became normal after that battle.
One day when King Le Thai To was walking on the lake, a turtle suddenly surfaced and asked the king to return the magic sword that Dragon King lent him. The king returned the sword to the tortoise, and the turtle dived and disappeared. And that is why Luc Thuy Lake has been renamed Hoan Kiem Lake. This legend and the old turtle living in Ho Guom are still a mystery handed down today.
Until 1884 the 19th century when Vietnam became a colony of the French. They have pretty much renovated the view of Hoan Kiem Lake. The old quarters around the lake were planned and built by the French. After regaining independence, Hanoi still retains the works of the French colonial period and continues to preserve and develop to this day.
The Turtle In Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem Lake Turtle has the scientific name Rafetus Leloii, or Rafetus Vietnamensis belongs to the tortoiseshell family and is relatively large. Previously, there were four turtles in Guom Lake, but now all have died. There are still about five individuals in the lake, but no one has proven it.
Currently, in Ngoc Son Temple, Hanoi Museum still keeps the specimen of the Old Turtles of Ho Guom. The preserved specimens of the Hoan Kiem Lake turtle serve as an invaluable cultural heritage associated with the legend and history of the Vietnamese nation.
How To Get To Hoan Kiem Lake?
There are many ways to get to Hoan Kiem Lake. You can rent a car, motorbike, private car or choose public transport. If you do not know how to move to Ho Gupm when coming to Hanoi, let Culture Pham Travel help you.
1. To Hoan Kiem lake by bus
In the capital Hanoi, there are many bus routes with stops near Hoan Kiem Lake. This means it is considered the most economical for those far from the center.
The routes that pass by or have stops close to the lake you can refer to are numbers 04, 08, 09, 11, 14, 18, 23, 31, 34, 36, and 40. Bus number 09 and 14 parking lot on the lake is very convenient.
The Hop On Hop Off Vietnam bus is also a double-decker bus serving tourists’ needs for sightseeing in Hanoi. You can choose seats on the second floor to enjoy the beautiful view of Hoan Kiem Lake from above.
2. Getting to Hoan Kiem Lake by Taxi
Hanoi is a big city, so you don’t need to worry about taxi services. Tourists can choose from many taxi companies, such as Mai Linh, Taxi Group, Thanh Cong, and Ba Sao. You can consider calling a taxi, but the cost of a taxi will be relatively high, depending on the starting location.
3. Getting to Hoan Kiem Lake by motorbike
The motorcycle is one of the best means of transport for you to use in walking around Hoan Kiem Lake. Hanoi’s roads are relatively small, so a highly versatile vehicle such as a motorbike is a great choice.
There are many places for you to rent a car. The first place that you should consider is the hotel or homestay you are staying in Hanoi. But before renting, you should consider the car’s condition and ask for its price.
4. Traveling by private car
A private Car is a popular form of transportation for many tourists. This service provides high-quality cars and private drivers who know all the landmarks and restaurants in Hanoi.
You need to go with your friends and relatives to see the ancient beauty of Hanoi. The driver will take care of the rest. You can consider our car rental service, Hanoi Car Rental and the driver will take care of everything.
Tourist Destinations Near Hoan Kiem Lake
Near Hoan Kiem Lake, there are many famous places that you cannot miss when coming to Hanoi. Here are some famous places that you cannot miss.
1. Turtle Tower
Turtle Tower was built around 1884 – 1886 on Turtle Island in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake. The tower has a rectangular structure with three floors, the floors gradually getting smaller from bottom to top.
Two sides on the tower’s east and west sides have three rolling doors. The south and north sides have two pointed-end rolling doors. On the top of the 1st and 2nd floors, Turtle Tower is surrounded by four curved blades to the top. On the top of the tower, there is a five-pointed star.
2. Ngoc Son Temple
It is a famous spiritual destination at Hoan Kiem Lake, so you should not miss this place. Ngoc Son Temple is located on Ngoc Island – one of two islands on Sword Lake’s surface.
According to the inscriptions, Ngoc Son Temple was built in 1841 and remodeled by the Confucian Nguyen Van Sieu in 1865.
Ngoc Son Temple worships Van Xuong De Quan, the god who blesses the people who took the exam and Tran Hung Dao, a general with great merit in expelling the Nguyen army.
Ngoc Son Temple converges all three religions: Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. Visiting Ngoc Son Temple, you will admire the unique architecture bearing historical imprints such as Pen Tower, Dai Nghien, Dac Nguyet Lau, and Ba Dinh Tran.
3. The Huc Bridge
This Bridge spans from the shore of Hoan Kiem Lake to Ngoc Son Temple on Ngoc Island. The Huc Bridge has a red color with a curved design that stands out against the green water of the lake.
It was built in 1865 with 15 spans and 32 round pillars arranged in 16 pairs. Every day, quite a lot of tourists come to The Huc bridge to visit. This is also an ideal spot to get beautiful photos.
4. Temple of King Le
The Temple of King Le is located on the lake’s west bank, near Nam Huong’s communal house. This temple worships the statue of King Le Thai To standing on a high step, holding a sword in his hand as if he was launching into the lake to return to the god turtle.
5. Ba Kieu Temple
The Temple Of Ba Kieu was built under Le Trung Hung and is located northeast of the lake. Due to the road’s opening, this place was divided into two parts: Tam Quan and Temple.
Ba Kieu Temple worships three goddesses: Princess Lieu Hanh, The Second Ngoc Nu – Quynh Hoa, and The Third Ngoc Nu – Que Hoa.
6. Hoan Kiem Lake Walking Street
Hoan Kiem Lake Walking Street is the busiest place next to the ancient beauty of historical sites. Sword Lake Walking Street is a fairground with various items and rich cuisine that fascinates many people.
If you want to buy anything, go to Ho Guom Walking Street. A wide range of products and affordable prices are what you can find here.
There are many delicious restaurants in Hoan Kiem lake walking street with relatively affordable prices, not as expensive as other places. If you have eaten enough, go to the folk games area to participate in exciting game activities such as roller skating, tug of war, and mandarin umbrellas.
This is also where young people’s street singers and dance groups are highly attracted so that you can immerse yourself in the vibrant music space.
You should note that Sword Lake pedestrian street is only open on the evening of 3 weekends: Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday night, from 18:00 to 6:00 am the following day.
7. Hanoi Old Quarter
Hoan Kiem Lake is the connecting point of Hanoi’s Old Quarters. Tourists can walk along the streets to see, explore the beauty, and try various cuisines when visiting the lake. You can also join our Hanoi Street Food Tour to discover the specialties of Hanoi.
Those are the remarkable things about Hoan Kiem Lake that Culture Pham Travel wants to send you. Hanoi has long been a great destination with many values in terms of food, culture, and people, and it is a place worth staying in Vietnam.