Hoàn Kiếm Lake, Hanoi: What To Know and Do

Sina Abasnejad /
Sina Abasnejad / | © Culture Trip

Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi attracts thousands of tourists for its elegant combination of modernity and history. One place in particular attracts tourists and locals alike. Known for its peaceful atmosphere and gigantic turtles, Hoan Kiem Lake is more than just a place to relax: it’s the site of an old legend involving an emperor and a magical sword.

Sina Abasnejad /

The legend of Hoan Khiem Lake

Lying in the centre of Hanoi‘s historic district, Hoan Kiem Lake is a lovely, peaceful place with a fascinating history. In 1428, legend has it that Emperor Le Loi obtained a magical sword from the Dragon King to fight against Chinese oppressors. The sword, as you may have guessed, came from Hoan Kiem lake.

Sina Abasnejad /
Sina Abasnejad /

Turtle Tower lies on an island in the middle of the lake. After the gigantic turtle reclaimed the sword for its master, turtles began to be revered around Hoan Kiem lake. There was one turtle living in the water that was thought to be the incarnation of the mythical turtle Le Loi met in 1428. Affectionately named Cu Rua, the massive turtle was thought to be one of four Yangtze giant soft-shell turtles in the entire world. Sadly, she was discovered dead in early 2016 and the entire country mourned her death. She was embalmed and put on display at Vietnam’s National Museum of Natural History.

Hoan Kiem lake remains a very popular place for locals and tourists. Flocks of people gather here for exercise in the morning and for relaxing siestas in the afternoon.

Sina Abasnejad /
Sina Abasnejad /
Sina Abasnejad /
Sina Abasnejad /

Hoan Kiem Lake is a perfect place to sit and observe the Hanoian pace of life. The site is a source of pride for those living in the city, and once you pay this beautiful place a visit, you will see why.

Sina Abasnejad /
Sina Abasnejad /

Hoan Kiem Lake is centrally located in Hanoi and is only minutes away from the Old Quarter, close to hotels and restaurants. Take Yen Phu Road to reach the Old Quarter and head east to Hoan Kiem Lake to see the special place where an ancient emperor once received a magical sword from the Dragon King.

Sina Abasnejad /
landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article