|West Lake Hanoi in the sunset. Photo: Tran Dzung|
I haven’t yet gone to many capitals in the world so I don’t know that any else has lakes as much as in Hanoi.
There is a book written by researcher on the formation history of Hanoi capital. In this book, he wrote that “Hanoi, where I’m living now, was only marshlands near Red river 2000 years ago".
Between this marshlands that has a mountain of which the ancient name is Nung mount and it is also the first village in Hanoi. And now we call it is the Botanical Garden, it is situated between West Lake (in the north) and Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ba Dinh Square and Presidential (in the south), where has the most green trees in Hanoi now.
|Hanoi Westlake panoramas. Photo by zing.vn|
Because Vietnam's capital is a marshlands near Red River so there are so many lakes in Hanoi (that means inside of Red river). According to estimates, there have about 50 lakes and rivers leveled. And there are still more than 15 lakes. Among of them, there have 4 large lakes that anyone in Hanoi always knows.
They are Hoan Kiem Lake in the center of Hanoi Old Quarter, Ba Mau Lake in the west of Western Quarter, Truc Bach Lake and West Lake. And the West Lake is largest. If you look on the Google Map, you can see this lake like a giant mirror on Hanoi’s map.
West Lake means lake in the west of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long and Hanoi Old Quarter but it is in the north of Hanoi city now.
If you move from Uncle Ho Mausoleum to the North, it just over 100 meters to arrive West Lake.
Beginning of the West Lake (on the Youth Street or called Thanh Nien Street) is Quan Thanh Temple where is the ancient and hundreds of years old temple, was built to worship the god of the North according to Feng Shui concepts (East - West - South - North of Hanoi, every place has a temple).
|West Lake Hanoi at night. Photo: Lam Nguyen|
If you walk along Youth Street about 50 meters, the two sides are two lakes. A small lake in the right is Truc Bach Lake and West Lake is very large in the left side. Previously, they were one without Youth Street built by thousands of Hanoi young people.
Tran Quoc Pagoda, which is at the end of this road, resides on the water, is the famous holy temple.
West Lake is part of the soul of Hanoi people. They love this place because they can view the most beautiful sunset on the sky, specially in the autumn.
|West Lake Hanoi Vietnam|
|The lotus pond in Hanoi West Lake. Photo: Minh Ngoc|
You can rent a bicycle to pedal about 20 kilometers around this lake. The scenery is really peaceful and beautiful. This place is also dating place for couples in Hanoi both at day and at night.
Why is there this large lake?
According to the geographers in Hanoi, this place was the flow of Red River past that is the reason for forming West Lake. Despite accretion and landside process, Red river section fractured, forming lake that we call West Lake.
|Hanoi West Lake intercontinental hotel. Photo: Tripadvisor|
Located about 300 meters from here, on the outside of the West Lake area is the flow of the Red River. From West Lake, you can also go to Nhat Tan Bridge which is the bridge located on the route from the Hanoi airport to Ho Tay (West Lake) and Hanoi Old Quarter.
West Lake Hanoi apartments
There are a lot of the old villages in the North of the West Lake where is an area located between West Lake and Red River. And there are two villages located protruding to the edge of this lake, called Nghi Tam village and Quang Ba village where is the flower villages with hundreds of year olds in Hanoi. There are many villas and Hanoi West Lake apartments for rent here for international experts and foreigners working in Hanoi. They like this fluted and romantic village because of variety of the flowers around here.
|Cycling around the West Lake to view the sunset|
|Hanoi West Lake attractions: fishing at sunset. Photo: Hachi8|
In two villages, there also has Phu Tay Ho is famous historic relics is also one of the mother goddess cult centers in Vietnam worshiping Ms.Princess Lieu Hanh.
West Lake Hanoi attractions
Currently, there has a lot of entertainment places around West Lake but I don’t know if you want to go there.
1. West Lake Water Park where people in Hanoi bathing in the summer, is only open from April to October. Fares is from 100.000- 150.000 VND/person.
2. Quan Thanh Temple
3. Tran Quoc Pagoda
4. Nhat Tan peach blossom village and Nghi Tam - Quang Ba villages
5. Hanoi West Lake intercontinental hotel
West Lake Hanoi bicycle - cycling around West Lake Hanoi
If you love cycling, you can cycle around the West Lake and there are many bicycle rental shops in Truc Bach Street, Thuy Khue Street, Quan Thanh Street or Ta Hien, Ma May, Hang Bac Street in Old Quarter with rent cost is 50.000 VND/2 hours
Please note that not only for cycling, here is also a place Hanoi people usually go to bathing in the afternoon.
|West Lake Hanoi cafe, bicycle|
|Many tourists like cycling around this lake|
You can also take a tramcar around the West Lake, it costs 15.000 - 20.000 Vietnam dong/person for that, or you can sit on the West Lake yachts or the shops at Truc Bach Street to drink coffee.
How do you go from Old Quarter to West Lake?
If you want to go to West Lake to take pictures, you should refer to going to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long. Then you continue walk to West Lake at the end of Hung Vuong Street, pass Phan Dinh Phung Street and Hoang Hoa Tham – Thuy Khue Street.
You should find a coffee store at the top of Youth Street for watching the sunset over Truc Bach Lake and West Lake. But the best place to watching sunset is Hanoi West Lake intercontinental hotel. Read more: Best hotels in Hanoi
|West Lake in Hanoi called Ho Tay in Vietnamese is a lake of love|
If you have more time, you can visit Tran Quoc Pagoda (near Truc Bach coffee street and visit Quan Thanh Temple near Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
West Lake is far about 1 kilometer from the center of Hanoi Old Quarter. You can walk to there with only Hanoi map on hands.