West Lake – The biggest lake in Hanoi

Bùi Hằng
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(VOVWORLD) - The capital city of Hanoi is called “The city of lakes”. Among its dozens of big and small lakes, West Lake is the biggest with the encircling road stretching nearly 20 kilometers. Its many relic sites have made West Lake a great tourist attraction. 
West Lake – The biggest lake in Hanoi - ảnh 1Thanh Niên road separates West Lake and Trúc Bạch lake (Photo: truyenhinhdulich.vn) 

The 500-hectare West Lake is a natural lake located northwest of Hanoi. Historical records show that the lake was once part of the Red River. It has had several names: Dâm Đàm (Mist Lake), Kim Ngưu (Golden Buffalo), and Xác Cáo (Fox Corpse). Each name is associated with a legend. The surrounding road is picturesque and shaded by green trees all year round. When seen from above, West Lake is in the shape of a pincer. Thanh Niên road separates it and Trúc Bạch lake.     

West Lake is close to Hanoians’ hearts. Its beauty is made up of the crystal wavy water, giant purple crape-myrtle (bằng lăng) flowers, red flamboyant (phượng) flowers in summer, and falling willow branches. What makes West Lake special is that its water changes color between green and gray depending on the weather. The lake becomes most beautiful probably when the sun goes down and street lights play their shadow upon the water.

The encircling road is packed with locals doing exercises at dusk and dawn, couples dating, and friends and families enjoying their recreation activities. Nguyễn Tùng Lâm, who lives in Đống Đa district, said: “I have many fond memories of my youth associated with West Lake. My girlfriend and I used to walk and chat for hours on this road where there are many cafes and street food vendors. My friends and I can stay and enjoy for a whole night. I think West Lake is a special place to Hanoians, both young and old.”

West Lake – The biggest lake in Hanoi - ảnh 2Trấn Quốc pagoda at West Lake (Photo: VNA) 

There are numerous religious sites around West Lake: Trấn Quốc pagoda, Quán Thánh temple, and Tây Hồ pagoda, all are popular venues for local prayers during Tet holidays and the first and 15th days of a lunar month. People come to admire the Buddhist architectural style and pray for good luck and happiness. Lê Như Loan of Hoàn Kiếm district told VOV: “Pagodas around West Lake are large and majestic. The fragrance of burning incense and pure air bring about the relaxation. I often see lots of foreigners and take photos with them everytime I go to these pagodas.”

West Lake – The biggest lake in Hanoi - ảnh 3 Lotus ponds at West Lake (Photo: truyenhinhdulich.vn)

The lake’s surrounding ponds are loved for its lotus flowers fully blossom in May and provide the ingredient for the famous West Lake lotus scented tea. It is also well-known for its many flower villages, such as Nghi Tàm and Nhật Tân peach blossom. Trần Thị Nga of Nhật Tân village, said: “I, the daughter-in-law, follow my husband’s family business of peace blossom growing. People visit Nhật Tân village to enjoy the beautiful scenery, buy flowers, and take photos. Here it’s very cool because the village is close to West Lake.”

Visitors to tranquil West Lake, different from Hanoi’s busy center, can find an unusual peace of mind.