Tag: Hoan Kiem Lake

Hello you guys, I’m so excited and have to say that it was our great effort to finish this nice tour today. We tried our best.


Well, it came as a surprise to us that for our own first tour together, we’re welcomed with the heavy storm.
Although I started 7.15am from my house, I couldn’t come to the meeting place on time because of traffic congestion. PiNK, my lovely sister who arrived so early, controlled everything well. She came to the hotel to pick up the tourists and told them our schedule. At first, she was very worried because she thought that she would be put in the same situation as her previous tour. Someone ( I’m sure everyone knows who he is == ) abandoned her in spite of her strong belief. But don’t worry, my beloved. I am always beside you. Just kidding


We began our tour with discovering Hoa Lo prison. At first, we told them about the establishment and purpose of the prison. Then we visited 4 main areas to keep the prisons ( stockade for male, the stockade for female, cachot and death row cells). Stockade for female and death row cells made a greater impression on them. They felt very terrified when they heard about ways to torture female prisoners. Moreover, when we told them about the torture which put prisoners in an empty tank and beat from outside, Alison couldn’t hide her utter surprise and she said ” Fuck”. Ok. It’s fine. After that, we moved to the place that memorizes the Vietnamese soldiers. We told them about the meanings of two colors there ( black & red) and asked their’s understanding about incense culture. It is surprising that in their country, they also burn incense to worship. Finally, we had a quick look at areas that show the life of American prisoners.

We emphasized that it was one of Hồ Chí Minh’s smart political policy to change American soldiers’ attitude toward Vietnam war. When mentioning Hồ Chí Minh, we suggested them going to Hồ Chí Minh mausoleum to discover more about our Greatfather. They felt very excited. However, it was quite late and I was afraid that mausoleum closed so I suggested they should visit Temple of Literature first and in the afternoon, we would visit Hồ Chí Minh mausoleum. They agreed.
The next destination was Temple of Literature. Killen felt very excited to know that Temple of Literature is the first university in Vietnam and many graduates go there to take photos. She has just graduated. Well, we told them about the general information of this construction ( Temple worships Confucius and scholar Chu Van An and Temple of Literature is the place that high-rank students in examination studied in the past). Continuously, we told the meanings of Khue Van Pavilion and some symbols around there. They were quite impressed when seeing Stele garden and story about stele put on the back of tortoise. Passing through the structure deeper, we told them about habit of Vietnamese students going there to pray for luck before their important examination. We also told them about story relating to the image of crane standing on the back of tortoise ( a symbol appearing a lot in the temple in Vietnam). Finally, we visited areas to worship scholar Chu Văn An. They took a lot of photos in Temple of Literature.

Hanoi free tours by foot - a great tour under the storm

Drinking Egg coffee

They felt thirsty so that we found a place to drink. During the break, we found out that they wanted to come back Old Quarter to have lunch, especially trying bread. Courtney seems to be a fan of bread, all of the time, she reminded us to try bread. We caught the taxi to come back Hoan Kiem lake. Therefore, we had a chance to introduce them about the legend, Tortoise Tower and Pen Tower. When coming to Old Quarter, as you know, the road was dirty and slippery with mud. As soon as Killen warned us ” Be careful. It’s muddy”, she fell out…Omg.. So, We took her to their hotel to change her clothes. While waiting for her, we had a long talk to Courtney. She was so lovely and friendly. Next, as for Courtney’s expectation, we went to bread store in Hang Ca Steet and they were very satisfied to try it. They said, ” if they have more time, they will eat it every day”. Wow. We’re pleased to hear that. Then, we had a quick look at Dong Xuan market.
The last destination is Ho Chi Minh mausoleum. It is pity that mausoleum wasn’t open but we gave them more information about Ho Chi Minh and a bit One pillar pagoda. Because Courtney felt tired, we decided to finish our tour here.

We came back their hotel. They gave us big hug and thanked us for a great trip today.

Hoan Kiem Lake or Sword Lake which is a green lake as a mirror of Hanoi, a beautiful basket of flowers, a place of love, being surrounede by Hanoi old quarter. It was one part of the Red River. Throughout thousands of years of geographical changes, Hoan Kiem Lake moved eastward to its present position kilometers from the river.
Hoan kiem lake - hanoi free tours by foot

Hoan Kiem Lake (Sword Lake)

Before the famous historical legend of King Le Loi, the lake used to be called Luc Thuy Lake (it means Green Water Lake in Vietnamese) because the water was green all the year round. In 15th century, it was called Sword Lake after the legend of Emperor Le Thai To.

6 centuries ago in Le Dynasty witness the legendary story of one of the beautiful lake. During the war against the Minh aggressors, there is Golden Turtle God who gave King Le Thai To a precious fairy sword. After ten years of continuous struggling, the King finally won and reclaimed the nation’s independence. After that, on a nice day, while boating on Luc Thuy Lake, a large turtle came towards him and asked to return the previous sword.
It immediately grabbed the sword and submerged. The King mourned the loss of such a valuable sword, but could not find either the turtle or the sword. He realized that the God must have lent him the sword so that he could drive back the enemy, then his nation was free, the sword must be returned. Hence, King Le Thai To named the lake as the Sword Lake.

History of hoang kiem lake - Sword Lake - Hoan Kiem Lake

Sword Lake – Hoan Kiem Lake in the past

Nowadays, the Sword Lake is located inside a complex of Ngoc Son Temple, The Huc Bridge, and Pen Tower in the surroundings, make a sparkling colorful natural picture. They are also one of the most famous destination in Vietnam. Ngoc Son Temple has undergone numerous renovations, one among which was the addition of Pen Tower on its hill, which was called Dao Tai. There are three words “Ta Thien Thanh” inscribed on the tower, it means write on blue sky. Inside the gate, a pool resembling the shape of an ink well was added. Beyond the ink well is The The Huc Bridge, it means “where the sun light is absorbed”. The Bridge leads to Dac Nguyet Lau which means Moon Light tower in Vietnamese – Ngoc Son shrine. Beyond the gates to the shrine, there are 2 walls named bang Rong and bang Ho (dragon and tiger slate), where names of people who passed the national test were inscribed.

turtle temple - Sword Lake - Hoan Kiem Lake

Turtle temple

Things that you should not miss in this beautiful complex is the Turtle Tower lying in the middle of the Lake, it reminds Vietnamese people of the Turtle God of his great assistance.
Despite the time’s ashes and dust, Sword Lake which is the beautiful historical and legendary place is eternal for good as an evidence of a fairy and heroic Hanoi during the past wars, and a charming and romantic Hanoi nowadays.