The peaceful waters of Hoan Kiem Lake, situated within Hanoi’s cultural and historic centre has legendary significance in the history of Vietnam and its inviting shoreline and easy access within the city make it a popular and much loved public space. According to legend, a Vietnamese emperor was sailing on the lake when his magic sword was swallowed by a mysterious turtle that quickly vanished within the waters. The historic pagoda erected on a small island near the centre of the lake commemorates the great legend.
City residents enjoy leisurely strolls around this lovely urban oasis and the peaceful setting is enhanced by beautiful flowers, gardens and imposing trees with large weeping branches. Night time is an especially enjoyable time to walk around the lake as it comes alive with illuminated fixtures hanging from the trees. Monuments and works of art are also illuminated, creating a magical setting. The Huc Bridge is an impressive sight both day and night. Painted in bright red, the expanse crosses the northern shore of the lake taking visitors to Jade Island and the Temple of the Jade Mountain. The temple is over 200 years old and honours a famous military leader of the 13th century. Art work within the temple depicts the turtle and the magic sword legend.
Hoan Kiem Lake is located in the heart of Hanoi near the city’s cultural centre. The Hanoi Opera House, museums and several hotels are located along the southern shores of the lake. There are several public bus stops that surround the lake and are predominantly located on the western and northern shores. The closest bus stops to the Huc Bridge and Temple of Jade Mountain are on the lake’s northern edge on route numbers 9, 14 and 36.