Hoan Kiem LAke - Lake of the Returned Sword

By Custom Vietnam Travel | Updated 1/5/2019

Located at the centre and be the heart of Hanoi, Hoan Kiem Lake or internationally known as Sword Lake is a must-visit destination of every Hanoi Tours for everyone due to its epic history and sightseeing nearby.

Turtle Tower and Hoan Kiem Lake – Source: Wikipedia

Hoan Kiem Lake is the site of an old legend involving an emperor and a magical sword. In 1428, stories from legends state that Emperor Le Loi obtained a magical sword from the Dragon King to fight against Chinese oppressors. The original source of the sword came from Hoan Kiem lake. After the successful battle against the Chinese invaders, Emperor Le Loi took a trip to the beautiful lake. He was boating then suddenly, an enormous golden turtle surfaced. The turtle explained that he was sent by the Dragon King, to retrieve the sword from Le Loi King. Immediately, Le Loi King returned the sword to the turtle, who swam back beneath the jade waters. After the event. he named the area Hoan Kiem Lake, meaning “Lake of the Returned Sword” to commemorate the spectacular event.


Visiting Hoan Kiem Lake, tourists should not ignore surrounded landscapes such as Temple of the Jade Mountain (Ngoc Son Temple), Turtle Tower, Bridge of the Rising Sun (The Huc Bridge) and Ly Thai To statue, Turtle Tower lies on an island in the middle of the Hoan Kiem lake. After the gigantic turtle reclaimed the sword for its master, turtles began to be revered around Hoan Kiem lake. Minor note here that the Turtle Tower is not to visit. Tourist and local only can observe the Turtle Tower from the shore of Hoan Kiem Lake. A visit to Hoan Kiem Lake will not be completed if tourists do not visit Ngoc Son Temple. This place has a beautiful architecture containing many historical values of Vietnam. The Huc Bridge is a connecting point between Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple. The Huc Bridge was constructed in 1865 and painted in red colour, which makes it become outstanding and in harmony with landscape nearby. The name “The Huc” means a place welcoming the sunlight in the early morning. Thereby, foreign tourists also know The Huc Bridge by another name as Bridge of the Rising Sun.

Ngoc Son Temple – Source: Wikipedia

Hoan Kiem Lake is one of the most famous attractions in Hanoi not only for international tourists but also local citizens. The lake takes an important role for Hanoi citizens in many aspects. In New Year Eve according to Luna Calendar, people often gather here to see firework and wish others the good things. Couples often choose the Hoan Kiem Lake as one of Hanoi attractions to take wedding photos. In the early mornings, people take a walk around Hoan Kiem Lake to enjoy the cool atmosphere. Visiting Hoan Kiem Lake at any time of year, tourists can experience the peaceful beauty in the capital of Vietnam.

Hoan Kiem Lake is a stunning spot but to visit here, there are some minor notes that we would like to remind:

  • Entrance Ticket Price for Ngoc Son Temple: 30,000 VND (~$1.5) for adult, free for children under 15 year olds

  • Bring the camera and notebooks to draw and capture unforgettable moments.

  • Consider the price of any services around Hoan Kiem Lake to avoid scamming.

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The Huc Bridge by night – Source: Pexels

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.

Other Destinations

Bac Son

Ha Giang

Ninh Binh

Mu Cang Chai

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