Lake of the returned sword

Jul 25

This is about a famous lake in Hanoi known as Hoan Kiem which means ‘return sword’. Like the name, the story behind the lake sounds like coming out from a Hong Kong comic books.

It is well known for the laid back setting which makes a perfect spot for couples to embrace each other by the lake side amidst the bustling traffics nearby.

Here are some sceneries around the lake…

When you visit the lake, you can’t miss a place call Old Quarter. This place is popular among tourists for cheap accommodations and shopping. It seems like a focal point in Hanoi because most activities center around there.

The place is filled with really affordable guesthouses and hotels. You can get a decent room with air-cond and hot shower at around USD12 a night. What I like most about the guest houses there is it comes with free WIFI access.

When it comes to shopping in Old Quarter, you are sure to be spoilt by choices. You can find all kind of stuffs at really cheap price. However, you are advised to check the quality before paying because I had my share of experience when I bought a backpack. I have to go back to the store to change the bag for 3 times!

Foods are abundant there. You can find all kinds of food there such as…

Thit Cho (dog meat)…

Unknown barbecue meat…

Pork kebab


Hawker foods

Really cute tiny “popiah”

Restaurant food

Road side baguette

BBQ Chicken fast food restaurant

Ice cream (That’s right, they are lining up for ice cream, not for 4D)

KFC (thank goodness!)

Favorite past time of Hanoian are…

Enjoying tea by the road side

Playing chess

Kick around a kind of ball made from feather

crossing road

and cheating money from unsuspecting tourist like me (warning: you have to pay to take this photo)

Ah! That’s life around Hoan Kiem lake…


  1. Esther /

    er hem! i think i saw cigarette in the photo?? wut’s the story behind the name of the lake?

  2. The cigarette is not mine la… i only sat down and had some tea with the locals there.

    According to a legend, Heaven sent Emperor Ly Thai To a magical sword, which he used to drive the Chinese out of Vietnam. One day after the war, he stumbled upon a giant golden tortoise swimming on the surface of the water; the creature grabbed the sword and disappeared into the depths of the lake.

  3. Sonny Phan /

    In facts, the Heaven sent the sword to King Le Thai To! ๐Ÿ˜€ He lived in 15th century while King Ly Thai To – the King decided to move capital to Hanoi – lived in 11th century.

    The streets are so crowded nowadays.

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