Hoan Kiem Lake Review
Hoan Kiem Lake is linked to the legend of Emperor Le Loi, who is believed to have received a magical sword from the gods, which he in turn used to repel Chinese invaders. Afterward a giant turtle reclaimed the sword for the gods from Le Loi as he boated on Hoan Kiem Lake, which derives its name (“returned sword”) from the story. The sword-lifting turtle is commemorated by the lake’s distinctive Turtle Tower. Ngoc Son Temple on the island at the lake’s north end is a tribute to Vietnam’s defeat of Mongolian forces in the 13th century. The temple can be reached by way of a lovely red bridge. History aside, the park serves as an important part of daily life for locals in the Old Quarter and is a pleasant place for people-watching or taking a break from exploring the city. Bordering the water are park benches, small cafés, and a 30-minute walking trail that loops the lake.