Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The West Lake of Hanoi

For most of new residents of Hanoi and first timers, they will think that Hanoi is a lake city. With Hoan Kiem Lake which is located nearby the Old Quarter and West Lake at another side, taking a tour around the lake side over the weekend is one of the cheapest and fun activities. The completion of street construction around West Lake makes the trip now easier.
Electric Bus at Thanh Nien Street, Hanoi.
Photo by David McKelvey (dgmckelvey) on Flickr CC-By 2.0
You may start your lake trip by chartering an electric car at Thanh Nien Street which is located nearby West Lake and Truc Bach Lake at the east. Your trip will start by passing by a lotus pond and see thousands of pink lotus blossoms. You may stop at this area and snap some photos with lotuses in the background. Lotus in Vietnamese culture symbolizes purity, optimism and also commitment. Nearly 4000 lotus flowers will be picked daily as early as 4.00am which are used for scenting tea. A kilo of lotus tea needs around 1000 to 1400 lotus flowers.


There are many other activities that can be done around the lake area. Hanoians like to sit by the lakeside to enjoy coffee, fishing, relaxing and exercising. Besides that, there are many spiritual places that you can go. There are more than 20 cultural points around the lake area. You can stop at Tay Ho Pagoda which is located at Quang Khanh Village. This pagoda is very popular among Hanoians to pray for good luck. You also can drop by  other places such as Kim Liem Pagoda, Tao Sach Pagoda, Tran Quoc Pagoda, Quan Thanh Temple, Thuy Khue Elephant Temple and Nghi Tam Communal Houses.
Nothin else matters @ West Lake
Hanoi. Photo by Motique (motiqua)
On Flickr CC BY-2.0
Another side of the West Lake is also known as a Westerner District of Hanoi. With numbers of privately-owned villas, big houses, serviced apartments, five star hotels and luxury services in the area, it makes the district become exclusive and very suitable for those who are looking for a luxury lifestyle. There are many international restaurants to suit your taste buds as well.
Before coming back, you may stop at any vendors along the lake side to enjoy street foods and beverages. There are noodles sellers, coffee, and many unique Hanoi foods for you to try at a very reasonable price.
It is truly a great experience when you have a chance to make a big round at this West Lake. If you come here one summer, don’t forget to come again and enjoy the view of this lake at four different seasons to see the difference.

This article was published in The Vietnam Guide on September 13, 2012