Hoan Kiem Lake (Vietnamese: Hồ Hoàn Kiếm) or Guom Lake (Vietnamese: Hồ Gươm) is a cultural and historical symbol of Hanoi capital. Besides, it is also an ideal rendezvous in four seasons with beautiful natural scenery. For those reason, it becomes favorite destination of domestic and foreign tourists when traveling to Hanoi.
Legend of Hoan Kiem Lake
Previously, the lake also had some other names such as Luc Thuy lake (blue lake) or Thuy Quan lake (because the lake used to be a place to train marine combat troops). By the 15th century, the lake was renamed Hoan Kiem Lake (returning the sword), associated with the return of the golden sword for the golden turtle of King Le Thai To.
You may like Best places to visit in Hanoi capital
Le Loi – King Le Thai To was said to have a sword of great power. The legend tells that the blade of the sword, inscribed with the words ‘The Will of Heaven’ (Thuan Thien), came from the Dragon King in underwater palace. A fisherman, who later joined Le Loi’s army, caught the blade of the sword in his net. The hilt was found by Le Loi himself in a banyan tree. Then Le Loi used the sword and that it gave him the strength to defeat the Chinese and reclaimed the nation’s independence.
No long after that, when Le Loi was in the boat on the Green Water Lake (Luc Thuy), suddenly a big turtle appeared. Then it took the sword from Le Loi’s belt, and dived back into the depths, carrying the glowing sword in his mouth. The King tried to find both the sword and the turtle but without success. Le Loi thought that the sword had gone back to the Dragon King with the Golden Turtle (Kim Quy), and he renamed the lake ‘The Lake of the Returned Sword’ (Hoan Kiem Lake).
Highlight places of Hoan Kiem Lake (Guom Lake)
Thap Rua (Tortoise Tower)
Located in the center of the lake, built between 1884 and April 1886, on the Turtle Mound. With a combination of two architectural styles, French and indigenous architecture, create a unique and unique beauty of Turtle Tower. The tower is rectangular in shape and has 3 floors.
Ngoc Son Temple on Guom lake
Located in the north of Hoan Kiem lake, the old name was Tuong Nhi (elephant ears). King Ly Thai To named Ngoc Tuong when he moved the capital to Thang Long and until the Tran dynasty, the island was renamed Ngoc Son. Visiting Ngoc Son Temple, you will admire the turtle model of Guom Lake. These large turtles have lived in the lake for many years. The last one died in 2016..
The Huc Bridge
Leads to the gate of Ngoc Son temple, built by the famous artist Nguyen Van Sieu in 1865. The name of the bridge means “a place where the morning sun stands”.
Thap But (Pen Tower)
Pen Tower is on the northeast bank of the lake, was built in 1865, including five floors. On the top is the symbol of a pen pointing to the sky, the body has three words Ta Thanh Thien (written in blue sky), the third floor of the tower is engraved a Pen Thap Chi.
Dai Nghien is on the northeast bank of the lake, built in 1865, is an indispensable part of the Pen Tower. Three legs millet is the image of three toads. On the body, there is one engraving of Minh, consisting of 64 Chinese characters.
Hoa Phong Tower
Located is on the east bank of the lake, is a relic of Bao An pagoda (removed in 1898) . Three-story tower, the door in the four directions of East, South West and North, with Han characters such as Bao Duc Mon, Bao An Mon, Hoa Phong Tower, Bao Thien Thap, corresponding to each door of the tower. The first floor is bigger and taller than the top two floors. Four sides of the second floor shaped Bagua. The third floor reads “Hoa Phong Thap”.
Highlight activities of Hoan Kiem Lake
Walking Street of Hoan Kiem Lake
Guom Lake Walking Street has become an ideal destination for many people in the capital as well as tourists coming to Hanoi on weekends. Ho Guom Walking Street is most crowded after 7pm on Saturdays and Sundays. When the city just lights up, suddenly the pedestrian street is crowded with people playing with many interesting games and cultural activities.
Do not miss out Hanoi street food day tour
The most typical is the street music repertoire with all kinds of saxophone, flute, violin, rowing, reformed music, EDM music, rock … In addition, the folk games, extremely interesting as umbrellas, skipping ropes, volleyball … not only make the kids but also the young people, the elders very excited. There are also spaces related to ancient Hanoi with street vendors.
Walking street appears to help people come here to balance their emotions and completely relax.
Have your portrait
Nowadays it’s not hard to take a selfie with a smartphone. However on the pedestrian street you may have the opportunity to have your own portrait. Because in the walking street, there are freelance painters at very affordable prices.
Enjoy Thuy Ta Ice Cream
Thuy Ta ice cream is very famous in Ho Guom and lemon – mint is the most popular flavour. You can choose a seat in the lakeside restaurant or take away, walk and eat. In addition, Trang Tien Ice Cream is also very famous. This address is also in the walking route. Moreover, on the way to Trang Tien ice cream shop you can stop by Trang Tien Plaza for going shopping.
Water puppet show
Thang Long Water Puppet Theater – 365 days opening also near here. Learn more about water puppet show.