A part of Thanh Nien street on West Lake
If you are looking for a short respite from Hanoi, a busy city, West Lake Hanoi is actually one doesn’t-miss heaven. West Lake, Hanoi’s largest freshwater lake, attracts thousands of residents and tourists seeking a sanctuary of great natural beauty formed by one of Vietnamese four sacred temples and Vietnam’s oldest pagoda.
West Lake Hanoi Introduction
A deep-rooted history of West Lake Hanoi
1. Where is West Lake situated?
- With a 17 km long shore and 500 hectares in size, West Lake, known locally as Tay Ho Lake is located in the North West of inner Hanoi.
- The West Lake Hanoi originally sited on the Red River, repeated flooding and erosion relocated it to its present position on Kim Ngu Islet (Golden Fish Islet).
Kim Ngu Islet is located on the southeast shoreline of the lake where Tran Quoc Pagoda is placed.
Tran Quoc Temple, situated on Kim Ngu Islet
2. How many names has Hanoi West Lake been named since its original history?
Depending on every historical period, Tay Ho Lake possesses various names. Each name of West Lake is kept a legend of the origin of the legendary West Lake.
- Fox Corpse Swamp (Đầm Xác Cáo): One legend claims that West Lake was shaped when the Dragon King Lac Long Quan drowned a wicked fox spirit with nine tails in his lair.
Lac Long Quan (literally "Dragon Lord of Lạc") or known as Hùng Vương II, is considered the second Hung king of the Hong Bang Dynasty of ancient Vietnam
- Golden Buffalo Lake (Kim Ngưu Lake): An alternative folklore source claims that a large Chinese buffalo mistakenly confused a pagoda temple bell with its mother’s call and ran so fiercely into a small hollow => Form Kim Ngưu Lake.
- Foggy Lake (Dâm Đàm Lake): Due to its misty condition, West Lake was changed Foggy lake in the 11th century.
- In 1973, its name was changed into West Lake to avoid the given name of King Lê Thế Tông, which was Duy Đàm.
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3. Significant landscapes around West Lake’s perimeters
West Lake is bordered by plenty of historic places of interest
3.1. Tran Quoc Pagoda, one intriguing point of interest at West Lake
Tran Quoc Pagoda, Vietnam’s oldest temple
- This Vietnam’s oldest temple was built in the sixth century by King Ly Nam De.
- The pagoda resides on a small island which is in the middle of the West Lake, a favorable position.
- Tran Quoc Pagoda is especially stunning when viewed at sunset.
This place is considered as a cultural symbol of Vietnamese Buddhism.
The other attraction which located on at West Lake’s crossroads of Thanh Nien Street and Quan Thanh Street is Quan Thanh Temple.
Quan Thanh Pagoda
- Being one of Vietnam’s ancient four sacred temples, Quan Thanh Temple was built during the reign of King Ly Thai To (1010-1028).
- This temple is dedicated to Huyen Thien Tran Vo, the god who reigned over Vietnam’s northern regions.
- Renovated in the 19th century, the impressive temple has a triple gate and courtyard.
- Quan Thanh Temple is opened for locals and visitors to pray for luck, health, and happiness in their life
3.2. Chu Van An High School
- The school is regarded as one of the three provincial public magnet high schools in Hanoi, Vietnam, along with Hanoi-Amsterdam High School and Nguyen Hue High School
- Established by French authorities in 1908 as High School of the Protectorate, this is the oldest institutions for secondary education in Indochina.
- Nowadays, Chu Van An High School is one of three national high schools of Vietnam, which trains and educates gifted students for the country.
The library of Chu Van An - a one-thousand-year-old high school situated on the road beside West Lake
Activities in West Lake
- West Lake Hanoi is a hub of local activities forming the hustle and bustle of Tay Ho Lake.
- On weekends, many families go paddle-boating on the lake.
- Hundreds of flocks of people including the young and senior citizens find this place to inhale cool fresh air and do exercises.
- Thanh Nien road is the gateway of the bicycles carrying flowers going into the heart of Hanoi.
Admiring peaceful sunset is a frequent and relaxing activity Hanoi people always do at West Lake
West Lake Hanoi is a magnificent destination to unwind and sip a cup of coffee in a street-side restaurant.
- Visitors can seek a chance to enjoy a famous shrimp cake and a glass of ice cream.
- Lots of luxurious restaurants are placed on the edge of the lake or in the middle of the lake or on the yacht.
- Enjoy the unforgettable flavor of shrimp cake at floating restaurants on the West Lake
How to get there - Hanoi West Lake
- By bus: 13,33, 50,70 ( Cost: 7000 VNDs/ ticket)
- From Old quarters:
- Taxi (11.500đ – 17.500VND/km)
- Motorbike (30mins)
Local Tips to Ho Tay Lake (Hanoi West Lake)
- Appropriate time: Visitors can go there on the early morning or evening as the atmosphere is very fresh and comfortable.
- Dress code:
- Visitor can wear comfortable clothes and flat shoes or sandals to walk and take part in outdoor activities.
- Pay attention to pickpockets and thieves in public places.
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