Hoan Kiem Lake is one of Hanoi's most famous landmarks and is home to the most poetic temples and pagodas in the capital. Only a short walk from the old town, the lake is a peaceful green space in the heart of a crowded and bustling capital. Here, visitors can join local people to play chess, walk around the lake or relax under the trees.
The name of Hoan Kiem Lake, often called Sword Lake, is based on Le Loi legend to return the treasured sword to god Kim Quy after chasing the invaders.
In the middle of the lake is Ngoc Son Island and Ngoc Son Temple with majestic appearance. The connection between the lake and the island is The Huc Red Bridge. If you're lucky, when you cross the bridge, you can also see the shadow of the turtle flickering to sunbathe. According to the researchers, this is an endemic turtle species only found in Ho Guom Lake.
Bring a blanket and organize a picnic under the shade on the lake. Hoan Kiem Lake is just a few minutes walk from the market and many food shops. Take a break and watch local residents exercise, jog around the lake or join them.
Visitors can easily find sidewalk cafes around the lake. Or walk to the old town to enjoy Hanoi specialties at pretty small restaurants.
Hoan Kiem Lake is located near Hanoi's Old Quarter and it is within walking distance to many attractions and other famous sights of the capital. There are bus routes and several streets that allow parking around the lake. There is no fee to visit the lake.