West Lake is beautiful not only by the immense water surface, the dark pink colour of the sunset, the sadness of the space, the willow plants, but also attractive because it looks like a friendly friend of many people.
It can be said that West Lake is the most romantic corner in the multicoloured picture of Hanoi. This place is the world of freedom and dreams. Therefore, for a long time, it has always been the endless inspiration of poets, writers, and artists.
West Lake of Hanoi
West Lake Hanoi used to have many other names such as Dam Xac Cao, Ho Kim Nguu, Lang Bac, Dam Dam, and Doai Ho. This lake is the largest natural lake in Hanoi capital.
West Lake of Hanoi becomes an important attraction for the local people as well as tourists when visiting Hanoi. From Hanoi Old Quarter to West Lake is around 6 km, so it is easy to use a taxi to there.
1. Best activities to do in West Lake Hanoi
1.1. Enjoying cafe at West Lake
If you want to enjoy leisure time, then go to West Lake, and visit one of the beautiful coffee shops. You can enjoy the lazy time by the cup of coffee or afternoon tea, looking far away, reading a book, or talking about old stories with friends. Then, you will find that Hanoi has never been so peaceful.
Some famous cafes around West Lake, such as Maison de Blanc, Maison de Tet Decor, LeMarz Coffee Roastery, and Platform coffee & cake. All of them have beautiful and romantic architecture and decor.
1.2. Cycling around West Lake Hanoi
Many locals and foreign tourists often cycle around the lake, both watching the peaceful scenery and exercising their health. Around West Lake, there are also many areas with free exercise equipment, so people around the lake often come here to practice in the morning or late afternoon.
1.3. Riding a duck boat in the lake
The romantic West Lake is also a familiar dating place for young couples. People come here, sit together and watch life drifting slowly, or sit on duck boats, moving and talking with each other.
1.4. Going to West Lake water park
The water park with fun games and next to the lake is inspired by the decoration of the beautiful Greek city of Santorini, also creating an exciting highlight for West Lake. This place will be an ideal one for families to have fun on hot holidays in Hanoi.
2. Famous local food around West Lake
2.1. Shrimp cake
Referring to Hanoi, it is impossible not to mention the well-known shrimp cake from past to present. In the past, shrimp cakes were often sold in street vendors on Co Ngu Street (Thanh Nien Street) at the lake. Gradually, the people call it West Lake shrimp cake, so this local dish is the first one people think of food here. Shrimp for this dish must be caught from West Lake, fried with a crispy crust. It is easy to find many restaurants along the lake selling the shrimp cake, typically in the late afternoon.
2.2. Snail vermicelli
Snail vermicelli in 530 Thuy Khue street, Hanoi (near Chu Van An school) has long been famous for the local peoples. This shop opens from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm every day. Its taste has a sweet and refreshing taste of the snail, and the sour tomatoes, typically the crunchy feelings of snails.
2.3. Coconut cream
Along the way around West Lake have many famous coconut ice cream shops. The ice cream has a fragrant flavour. While tasting the ice cream, you can enjoy the beautiful view of West Lake.
A famous ice cream shop in West Lake to check is Bao Oanh Café – Kem Dua at 7 Thanh Nien Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi, Vietnam.
3. Popular tourist destinations near West Lake
3.1. Tran Quoc Pagoda
Tran Quoc Pagoda is the most famous temple in Hanoi because of its special architecture and location on a green island in West Lake. Tran Quoc Pagoda is also the oldest temple in the capital with more than 1,500 years old and is the Buddhist centre of Hanoi. This pagoda is also in the list of 16 most beautiful temples in the world.
3.2. Van Nien Pagoda
Van Nien Pagoda locates on Lac Long Quan Street, worshipping the Buddha and the Princess Lieu Hanh. The pagoda has the architectural style of the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 – 1945) with a three-door gate, the main temple, and the worshipping-lady temple. Van Nien pagoda also has been in existence for more than a thousand years and is one of the oldest temples in Hanoi.
Besides, Van Nien pagoda also owns a set of ancient relics, including more than 40 round statues and 10 Sac Phong Than (respected deity writings) from the Le and Tay Son dynasties. These things have made the temple not only a spiritual place but also a site to keep the historical and cultural values of Hanoi and Vietnam.
3.3. Thien Nien Pagoda
Thien Nien Pagoda situates in the Buoi Ward, Tay Ho district. The pagoda worships Buddha and Mrs Pham Thi Ngoc Do, the concubine of King Le Thanh Tong (1442 – 1497). She was the person who taught the weaving profession to local people. Although this temple does not have a massive architecture or many relics like other temples, it still attracts a lot of pilgrims and Buddhists.
3.4. Vong Thi Pagoda
Vong Thi Pagoda (on Vuong Thi Street) was built under King Ly Nhan Tong (1066 – 1128) and is a pagoda that has witnessed many war victories. This place worships the Captain of the Ly Nhan Tong dynasty named Muc Than. Over time, the pagoda had been destroyed and had to be restored many times. Up to now, the temple has been recognized as a national level historical-cultural relic of our country.
3.5. Quan Thanh Temple
Quan Thanh Temple locates at the corner of Thanh Nien Street and Quan Thanh Street, near West Lake. It worships the god Huyen Thien Tran Vu, who held the position of the north side of Thang Long citadel. The architecture of the Quan Thanh Temple includes a three-door gate, a courtyard, main temples.
3.6. Phu Tay Ho
Phu Tay Ho is famous as one of the holiest places in the temples in Hanoi. Phu Tay Ho locates on a large peninsula in West Lake, in Quang An ward, Tay Ho district, Hanoi. This place worships Lieu Hanh Princess (Thanh Mau, a legendary figure), and one of the four immortal saints of beliefs in Vietnam. Every year, the locals often come to the temple after the New Lunar Year’s Eve to pray for a good year.
3.7. Tao Sach Pagoda
Tao Sach Pagoda locates at 386 Lac Long Quan Street, Nhat Tan Ward, Tay Ho District. Legend has it that the pagoda was established in the reign of King Tran Thanh Tong (1240 – 1290) so that the people worship Prince Linh Lang, who made meritorious efforts to fight against the Nguyen Mong army. This site used to be the place where the prince came to read books and practice martial arts every day.
3.8. Thanh Nien Street
Thanh Nien Street by West Lake is a very beautiful road. This road was called Co Ngu Street; later, Uncle Ho was renamed it Thanh Nien street. The road has shady trees, and the two sides are two beautiful lakes that make everyone passing by also find strange peace. In the afternoon, many people often come to the sidewalk of this road, sit on a bench, and watch the romantic water surface of the lake covered by the sunset.
3.9. Lotus pond
Even in this largest natural lake in Hanoi, you can also relax gently in beautiful dresses by the lotus flowers for beautiful pictures. Every lotus season (often blooms in summer May – June), West Lake becomes more attractive when the pink colour covers a corner of the lake. It is also the time when many girls wear Ao Dai (Long Traditional Dress in Vietnam) and come there to take pictures to save their loveliness.
West Lake Hanoi and its tranquillity make people feel relieved amid daily worries and bustle of life. That is the story. For those who have been away from Hanoi for a long time, they miss their homeland, but the image of West Lake’s afternoon still comes to mind.