Hoan Kiem Lake: a cultural symbol of Vietnamese people

Hoan Kiem Lake, also called Ho Guom in Vietnamese and Sword Lake in English, is one of the places that attracts hundreds of domestic and international tourists whenever they have the opportunity to come to Hanoi.

hoan kiem lake
Hoan Kiem Lake | ©khoinguyenfoto/pixabay

Hoan Kiem Lake is considered a cultural symbol with a long and proud history of the Vietnamese people. When visiting it, you will surely be surprised by the natural landscape that is so poetic and quiet as in pictures.

Besides, Hoan Kiem Lake is also considered as the convergence of the four seasons of the year. In spring the lake is brilliant in peaches and traditional festivals. The lake is cool in summer with fresh breezes dispelling the sultry heat. In autumn, people are infatuated with willow branches hanging in the fanciful mist. And in winter, Hoan Kiem Lake turns splendidly in the sudden rain and drizzling rain of cold weather.

Location of Hoan Kiem Lake

Located in the centre of Hanoi, Hoan Kiem lake is surrounded by three famous streets, Hang Khay – Le Thai To – Dinh Tien Hoang.

With the capital Hanoi, Hoan Kiem Lake is the heart associated with many historical stories as well as entering the nation’s poetry.

After changing the name into Hoan Kiem Lake, it had the name of Ho Guom.

Ho Guom was formerly known as Luc Thuy Lake because the lake is blue year-round, or Thuy Quan Lake because it used to be a place to train marines to fight.

And until the fifteenth century, when King Le Thai To (1385-1433) returned the precious sword to the Tortoise God after defeating the Minh invaders, since then, the lake has officially been named Hoan Kiem Lake (returned the sword).

However, most Hanoians like to call it Ho Guom (Sword Lake) in the short form of its name.

The ways to Hoan Kiem Lake

In terms of location, Hoan Kiem Lake stays in the most favorable area of ​​the capital, where anyone who has the opportunity to go to the Hanoi center will have a full view of the lake.

The lake is the connection between the old town like Hang Ngang, Hang Dao, Cau Go, Luong Van Can … with the French Old Quarter covering the Church, streets of Trang Thi, Hang Bai, Trang Tien…

sword lake Hanoi
Roals leads to Hoan Kiem Lake Hanoi | @hoanghieu_hth

So, there are many ways to move to the lake, please check the following suggestions:

Public bus

Many bus routes are passing through Hoan Kiem Lake, this is also an appropriate and economical means of transportation for those who are far away from the center of the old town.

  • Lakeside parking stops: buses 09, 14
  • Hanoi Post Office stops: buses 08, 09, 31, 36
  • Le Thai To, Hang Trong 3-way intersection: buses 09, 31, 36
  • Stop number 15 Dinh Tien Hoang: bus 36
  • Vietnam State Bank stop: buses 04, 11, 18, 23, 34, 40
  • The stop of Hanoi Children’s Cultural Palace: buses 04, 08, 11, 18, 23, 40

Taxi

If you take a taxi, you can choose reputable taxi companies such as Mai Linh, Taxi group.

If you want to get a cheaper price, you can go to Thanh Nga, Ba Sao, Thanh Cong …

Note that you should ask for the taxi rate before moving to avoid being the high price!

Motorcycle

There are many motorbike rental locations in Hanoi for you to choose from and this will also be the way for you to see the Hoan Kiem Lake easily. However, you need to park the motorbike at the correct place.

Cyclo

A great suggestion to help you relax to enjoy the surrounding landscape. You just sit on it and a rider rides you around the lake slowly.

And always remember to negotiate prices before each trip for the fullest enjoyment. And, make sure that the rider tells you the rate in VND or USD.

>>> You may want to see 10 beautiful lakes in Hanoi.

Attractions around Hoan Kiem Lake

The Huc Bridge

the huc bridge
The Huc Bridge at night

The Huc Bridge is the highlight of the attractive beauty of Hoan Kiem Lake in general and Hanoi capital in particular.

With a unique construction architecture, the bridge has a shrimp-shaped curved design, made of very primitive wood and painted in red – the color symbolizing life, prosperity, and prosperity.

This attraction also attracts a lot of tourists coming to take pictures for remembering during their time to visit Hanoi.

Ngoc Son Temple

Crossing the beautiful The Huc Bridge is to Ngoc Son Temple. The temple is located quietly alone on an island to the north of Hoan Kiem Lake.

Coming to Ngoc Son Temple, you can not only admire the architectural masterpieces but also have the opportunity to learn about culture as well as cultural stories associated with the history of the temple.

Hoan Kiem Walking Streets

Hoan Kiem Walking Streets include the roads around the lake. The pedestrian street has attracted many people as well as tourists walking together to enjoy the cool atmosphere of Hanoi every night.

Hoan Kiem Walking Streets are most crowded after about 7:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday. As the city lights up, the pedestrian streets are crowded with people passing by with various kinds of games, exciting cultural and artistic activities.

hoan kiem walking street
Hoan Kiem Walking Street | @dlplayground

Hanoi Old Quarter

One thing that is indispensable when we visit Hanoi is 36 ancient streets, also known as Hanoi Old Quarter, where you can visit and explore daily life, traditional culture, and extremely unique culinary features.

Ba Kieu Temple

Ba Kieu temple is also known as Thien Tien Dien, located at house number 59 Dinh Tien Hoang.

This is one of the oldest model temples in Vietnam built in the 17th century. In the temple, there are 3 goddesses worship: Princess Lieu Hanh, Quynh Hoa, and Que Nuong.

Dinh Le Book Street

Dubbed the paradise of books in Hanoi, the street sells a variety of books from specialized books, history, literature, philosophy, economics…

The prices in Hanoi book street are often very cheap and the books also have pretty good quality.

dinh le book street
Tourists visit Dinh Le book street | @capricorn7199

Thang Long Water Puppet Theater

This theater is one of the most famous venues performing water puppet shows in Hanoi, attracting plenty of tourists.

Thang Long Water Puppet Theater is open every day of the week, ticket prices range from 60,000-100,000 VND/ticket.

Trang Tien Plaza

Located at the corner of Trang Tien – Hang Bai intersection, Trang Tien Plaza is one of the most luxurious shopping centers in Hanoi.

Typically, this destination is also one of the most popular wedding photography spots for young people in the capital.

Ly Thai To monument

Ly Thai To monument is located at Chi Linh flower garden on Dinh Tien Hoang street, quite near Hoan Kiem Lake. This typical cultural architecture honors the king who publicly established Thang Long Citadel.

ly thai to statue
ly thai to statue | @lequy1909

Relic area of King Le

The relic monument of King Le Thai To is located at 18 Le Thai To, built in the late 19th century on the old temple area.

The 12m high statue is cast in bronze, placed on a high stone foundation overlooking the lake. In front of the statue is a communal house built with bricks with two roof floors. And, three-door gate leading into the area creates a highlight in this group of the monument.

Hoa Phong Tower

Located on the bank of the lake, right on the pavement, Hoa Phong tower is an ancient relic of Bao An pagoda after it was destroyed by the French to get land to build a post office.

This tower is very small, but it has a classical design, being a nice photographing spot by the lake.

hoa phong tower
Hoa Phong Tower | @trangbeo1698

What to eat at Hoan Kiem Lake?

Eating and drinking may be the focal point that people are interested in besides attractive tourist destinations.

After visiting Hoan Kiem Lake, you may like to check the following dishes:

  • Bun Cha Hang Buom (Meat pie vermicelli), address: 43 Hang Buom Steet, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
  • Bun Thang Hang Khay (Hang Khay vermicelli), address: Lane 31, Hang Khay Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
  • Boiled snail on Dinh Liet, address: No. 1 Dinh Liet Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
  • Bun Thang Cau Go (Cau Go Vermicelli), address: 48 Cau Go, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
  • Nom Ho Hoan Kiem (Mixed Vegetable with dry beef), address: 23 Hoan Kiem Lake, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
  • Four-seasons sweet soup Hang Can, address: No. 4 Hang Can, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
  • Dinh Coffee selling nice egg coffee, address: 13 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
  • Trang Tien ice-cream, address: 35 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
  • Pho Thin, address: 61 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
dry beef salad
Dry beef salad | ©Vietnamdrive

What to buy around Hoan Kiem Lake?

Around the lake, there are countless items that you can buy as gifts for friends and relatives such as crafts, cute little gifts, clothes, shoes… or local food of Hanoi: rice cakes, o mai (salty plum) …

The streets Hang Ngang, Hang Dao, Hang Bac, Hang Duong, and Dong Xuan Market … are some reputable and quality addresses for you to enjoy shopping.

According to the experience, you should go shopping in the afternoon because the stores there do not like customers coming in the early morning to ask for some products but do not buy anything.


If you have the opportunity to go to Hanoi, do not forget to explore the old town and take a walk around Hoan Kiem Lake, many new interesting things are waiting for you.

Vietnamdrive wishes you have wonderful holidays and lots of memories in the capital of Vietnam.

About the author

The editorial staff of Vietnamdrive is a team of travel experts managed by Mr. Thom who has worked in tourism for 14 years. Trusted by thousands of tourists from all over the world.