proved that West Lake was once a part of the Red River. This part
turned into a lake when the river changed its course. |
itself and its name are originated from many legends. According to the
Ho Tinh (Succubus) story, the lake was called Xac Cao (Fox Carcass)
because there was a nine-tail fox which often harmed people died here.
The lake was the vestige of the foxï¿½s cave after it was destroyed by
Dragon King when he raised the water level to kill the fox. Whereas,
according to the "Khong Lo casts a bell" story, the lake was called Kim
Nguu (Gold Buffalo). The story tells that monk Khong Lo had the power to
collect all the black bronze of the North and cast a bell. The echo of
the bell attracted a Gold Buffalo to follow the sound to look for its
mother. When arriving at this area, the sound of the bell ended, the
buffalo didnï¿½t know where to go. It trampled upon the ground and the
sunken area became the lake. According to ancient books, the lake was
named Dam Dam (Fog Lake) in the 11th century. In 1573, it was called Tay Ho (West Lake) to avoid coinciding with King Le The Tongï¿½s real name of Duy Dam.
as the most romantic part in the colourful Hanoi panorama, West Lake
has been creating an endless source of inspiration for poets, writers
and artists for their works that have gone down deep to the heart of
With the vast blue water, the violet and red flowers
in summer, the soft sunshine and cool climate in autumn, the
near-freezing winds in winter and the pure air as dawn breaks in spring,
West Lake is known as a friend with whom people can share their
feelings. In early morning, hundreds of people, old and young, flock to
the lake to enjoy the fresh air as they do morning exercises. From the
Thanh Nien (Youth) slope near the lake, flower-loaded bikes and vendors
balancing baskets of traditional snacks hung on the ends of bamboo
sticks on their shoulders are seen fanning into Hanoi's busy streets.
lake has become a habitual rendez-vous for many people. The beautiful
Thanh Nien Road, previously called Co Ngu, that separates West Lake and
Truc Bach Lake is jammed at every sunset. Some people search for a niche
by the lake to enjoy a coffee, shrimp pancakes, snail noodles or ice
creams. Others treat themselves with luxurious restaurants on boats that
cruise around the lake while the rest prefer a simple walk in the fresh
air. During weekends, the lake often witnesses weddings of couples who
wish to make the most memorable day in their life on a boat.
only an ideal tourist attraction, West Lake is rich in cultural values.
Up to 21 pagodas, shrines and communal houses with many valuable
artifacts dot the lake's rim. From the Ly and Tran dynasties, many
palaces and pagodas were built there such as Thuy Hoa Palace under the
Ly Dynasty, afterward Ham Nguyen Palace under the Tran Dynasty and now
Tran Quoc Pagoda; Tu Hoa Palace under the Ly Dynasty, now Kim Lien
Pagoda. The 17km path around the lake leads to Nghi Tam flower village,
Tay Ho, Nhat Tan peach villages and Tay Ho Temple, built in honor of
Princess Lieu Hanh.
frequently visited ones include Quan Thanh Temple, Tran Quoc Pagoda and
Tay Ho Temple where visitors can enjoy the beautiful architecture after
praying for blessing. Villages located in the west of the lake have
their specific characteristic. Nghi Tam Village boasts the unique architecture of Kim Lien Pagoda while Xuan Tao Village takes pride as home to Soc Temple dedicated to Saint Giong. Trich Sai Village houses Thien Nien Pagoda, Ke Buoi Village houses Dong Co Temple while Thuy Khue Village houses Ba Danh Pagoda.
Nhat Tan Village has been known as the source of most beautiful peach blossoms, a must-have floral home decoration to every Hanoi
family at the approach of the traditional New Year. Many of the
traditional sketches of the villages like century-old dwelling houses,
village gates and communal houses are still preserved in face of the
urbanization process that has brought high-rise buildings, hotels and
villas to the land around the lake.West
Lake isnï¿½t only a place for Hanoians to relax, but also an ideal
residential place for foreigners working in the city with hundreds of
villas built near the lake.
Quite a few describe the lake as a mirror of Hanoi, but still many others call it "a lung of the city".