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Why West Lake is special ?
This lake is the largest one in Hanoi with a shore length of around 17km (10.6 miles) and is a popular place for recreation with many surrounding gardens, hotels and villas. One legend suggests that the lake was shaped after a battle between Lac Long Quan and a night-tail fox spirit, which is why the lake was once called "Fox Corpse Swamp". The lake is bordered with many significant places in history of Hanoi such as Tran Quoc Pagoda, the oldest pagoda in Vietnam, built in 6th century and located on a small island in the middle of the lake, plus Quan Thanh Temple, one of the Four Sacred Temples of ancient Hanoi.
What to explore at West Lake?
Massive West Lake is north of the Presidential Palace and west of Truc Bach Lake. Along the southern shore ofWest Lake there are several restaurant/bars from which you can enjoy a beautiful sunset over the water. The area around this lake is highly sought after and filled with modern hotels and expensive residences.
You would like to come to West Lake to enjoy ice-cream. West Lake Ice-Cream is near the northern end of the street, opposite Tran Quoc Pagoda, and besides the crowds outside, is easily spotted by its flashing neon sign, which alternately reads Kem, Kem Ho, Kem Ho Tay, and may or may show a visual of a bowl of ice cream.
While there’s plenty of seating inside by the lake, it seems most customers prefer the takeaway option, sitting on their bikes or standing in the shade of the many trees which line the pathway. Here you can order an ice cream cone (oc que), or an ice cream on a stick. Sticks are available in chocolate (socola), mung bean (dau xanh) and green rice (com).
How to get to West Lake?
Motorbike drivers ("Xe Om" in Vietnamese) can be found on virtually every corner, especially in the Old Quarter. Expect to be offered a ride every half-block (or more). You should absolutely negotiate a fare in advance. As a general rule, a reasonable fare should cost around 10,000 dong per kilometre of travel for a motorbike (possibly varying 10,000 dong in either direction), so know the distance you are travelling or understand that you have no real basis for negotiating a fair rate. Walk away towards the next street filled with motorbike drivers if you don't like their offer, as this is an incredibly reliable bargaining technique. There are far more drivers than tourists, and they know it - your fare could be the only one they get all day.
Negotiate first or avoid using the cyclos services, they can demand 200,000 dong (USD10) for a short ride of less than 100m (330 ft). At the end of the journey, a few men will come over to translate, and they will pretend to help and later insist that you pay the demanded amount. (VND100.000 for 1 hour is good price, included tip - you have to agree this beforehand.)
Motorcycles can be rented for around USD5-6 a day, and can be arranged by most hotels. A typical bike will be given with 1 litre of fuel, so top up at the nearest petrol kiosk. Queue up with the other bikes, unscrew your fuel cap and hand over your money (USD1 per litre) to the attendant who will top up your bike for you.
Scam free, cheap but a bit difficult to comprehend at first, the buses in Hanoi are relatively fast and surprisingly comfortable. Pick up a map with printed bus lines at the Trang Tien street (the book street by the Opera house) and spend a few minutes to identify the more than 60 bus lines, find your bus stop, wait for the bus, get on and off you go. On the bus you pay the 7,000 dong to the conductor who will come to you. If you are unfamiliar with the city, make sure to tell the mostly helpful conductor where you want to get off. Stops are often unannounced and do not have signs with their names on them, although there are now some newer buses with LED displays and lilting voices announcing the next stop. It's best to ask the driver or conductor when to get off.
- A lovely place to spend a morning
- Nice open space
- Very nice walk
- Great View
- A picturesque lake near the city center
West Lake Hanoi Vietnam
Tips for you
Sen hồ Tây ...
Don't swim in the lake unless you want to get sick ;-)
Ngoi cafe hay quan nhau, ngam nhin ho va cac em chan ngan :))
If you are a young white male, walking around this lake will make you feel like a popstar as local teenage girls will wanna take a photo with you. LOL
1 thing hanois different than saigon is the winds from lakes like this-bring few strange feelings, perhaps nolstagia. Must, must discover secret, flower full but people free, corners of this big guy;)
This place is fascinating because of the view and the Pogoda that sits on the late. The pagoda is awe-inspiring very spiritual both day and night. This late offers a lot of various views of the areas around the late in that part of the city. All of Hanoi's lakes have their own unique inspirations and atmospheres. This late is probably my favorite.
The biggest lake in Hanoi. Good place for jogging, fishing and driving