1. Hoan Kiem Lake, April 2018. This gorgeous dark green city lake, just a few minutes walk from The Old Quarter, is one of Hanoi’s most relaxing spots. It’ll take you about forty five minutes to walk all the way round and there are plenty of waterside cafes where you can really kick back with a coffee or lunch.
2. Hoan Kiem Lake, April 2018. A stone path runs around the water, decorated with enthusiastic fruit vendors and caricature artists. The guy sat in this photo, in a staggering display of unimaginativeness, was trying to charge people for the privilege of stepping onto his set of old scales. Really? I couldn’t help but wonder what his pricing structure was and how many people would actually require such a service. I would have thrown him a bone had I not literally just weighed myself a few days before my trip. 83.3 kilos, Aaaagh!
3. Hoan Kiem Lake, April 2018. Wherever I am in the world I do love to witness, enjoy and photograph some locals engaging (or rather disengaging) in the time-honored tradition of sittin’ doin’ nothin’. Happily, the gardens in and around the lake offer a perfect S.DN. environment.
4. Hoan Kiem Lake, April 2018. Look out for the somewhat ghostly form of Turtle Tower, which holds court on a tiny, inaccessible islet in tribute to an ancient Vietnamese legend. Basically there was an old emperor (Ly Thai) who defeated the Chinese army with a magical sword, a victory that blessed the lake and surrounding area with the return of the turtle god. Sounds plausible, right? Apparently there are actual endangered turtles in the lake, although catching sight of one is said to be quite rare.
5. Hoan Kiem Lake, April 2018. The gardens really are gorgeous, wonderfully in bloom during my mid April visit. Make sure you also take the time to pop into the lake’s famous Ngoc Son Temple (Temple of the Jade Mountain).
For more on Vietnam’s amazing capital, have a look at my other 5s from around Hanoi.
Like these? Then why not have a leaf through my articles from across Vietnam.