The Hoan Kiem Lake is a lake near the Old Quarter area of Hanoi, Vietnam. The name of the lake means ‘The Lake of Returned Sword’, marking an occasion in the legend where Emperor Le Loi returned a magic sword called ‘The Heaven’s Will’ to the turtle god at the lake after a victory against the Chinese in a battle.
Today the lake is a scenic destination in the city of Hanoi. When we walked around the lake during our visit to the city, we saw some interesting activities. In one corner of the lake, there was an old lady doing exercise (looked like tai chi). Not far from there, we saw several couples (looked like they were newly weds) posed for photos with the scenic lake in the background. Then we also saw many people like us who are tourists visiting the city.
Another interesting thing to note about the lake is that it’s the home of a rare, endangered species of giant turtle. Some folks had reported sightings of the turtle (so it’s real, not just a legend), but considering the story about the lake and turtle as a revered animal in mythology, that made the rare sightings of the turtle more interesting.
The photo below was taken around the southern edge of the lake. It’s a photo of the Turtle Tower, a pagoda built on a little island in the middle of the lake.