West Lake – The New Soul of the Capital

While Hoan Kiem Lake is considered to be the eternal symbol of Hanoi, West Lake has recently been known as the soul of the capital. From time to time, West Lake is slowly becoming the center of the city where there is a harmony of the new and ancient essence. We will explore this amazing destination this time.

Things to do in West Lake

At first glance, tourists will immediately notice that West Lake is much larger than Hoan Kiem Lake (almost 10 times). Therefore, unless you have a lot of time to spend, traveling on foot is not recommended here. The best way to venture around West Lake is by bicycling which allows you to fully enjoy the view of West Lake at a slow pace. 

West LakeUnited States Ambassador Riding Bicycle

When you come to West Lake, it is essential to experience the peaceful atmosphere in the morning. In the summer or a sunny day, you will be amazed at the beautiful scene of the sunrise from the horizon and the sparkling lake. Numerous cafés are available, and you can also watch the local exercising on the sidewalk as well. Although during a foggy day, you can hardly see far away, the lake is dreamy and mysterious than ever.

West Lake1People Exercising in the Morning 

At night, the very moment that the sun bids farewell to the day and the moon appears in the sky, West Lake has the bustling and lively beauty. From your side to another side of the lake, thousands of lights from buildings, vehicles and street lamps have brightened up this quarter of the city. Now, it is possible to enjoy both the scene and a delectable dinner in restaurants around West Lake.

West Lake 2Sunset on the Lake

Besides the impressive view, several famous sites are also located in West Lake, some of which are Phu Tay Ho, Tran Quoc Pagoda and Quan Thanh Temple. Tran Quoc Pagoda is famous for its historical and architectural value as one of the Buddhism centers in the capital. As a result, the Pagoda structure and symbols were heavily influenced by the religion. Tran Quoc is the perfect example of the combination between a holy, ancient buildings and the tranquil nature.

West Lake 3Tran Quoc Pagoda

Otherwise, Phu Tay Ho (or Tay Ho Temple) is an excellent choice for those who love to explore the spiritual lives of the local. A lot of foreign visitors mistook the temple for a Buddhism building, however, this location is dedicated to the Mother Goddess (Lieu Hanh) – one of the Vietnamese Four Immortals-. Visiting Phu Tay Ho, you will have a chance to discover the legends about the goddess and contemplate the altar in the temple, golden statues of a buffalo and its calf and the bat-shaped gong. If you need to refresh your energy, feel free to find one of the local food stalls around the temple. 

West Lake 5Sacred Altar in the Temple

Finally, tourists can travel to Quan Thanh, one of the Four Sacred Temples protecting the capital from evil spirits. This destination was designed to worship the Taoism deity Xuan Wu (or Tran Vu in modern Vietnamese) with his 4-meter bronze statue in the shrine. Other than that, the ancient architecture and sculpture in the temple will obviously interest you. 

West Lake 6Quan Thanh Temple

Quick Facts about West Lake

A very long time ago, West Lake did not exist and scientists have proved that it was just a part of the Red River. Interesting enough, in the 19th century, West Lake was divided by a road called Thanh Nien to create Truc Bach Lake, a place originally for fish farming.  

West Lake 7
Truc Bach Lake (Left) and West Lake (Right)

West Lake is also the home of a huge number of fishes, so local people love to fish here. That is the reason why we recommend you to travel by bicycle to see the activities of the people.

West Lake 10Local Fishing on West Lake