The West Lake Hanoi (Ho Tay) is the largest lake of Hanoi, located in the North West of inner Hanoi with an area of about 500ha, a shoreline of 17 km. The West Lake Hanoi originally sited on the Red River, repeated flooding and erosion saw it relocated to its present site on Kim Ngu (Golden Fish) Islet near the south east shoreline of the lake.
The West Lake is also known as Mù Sương Lake (Dâm Đàm – Foggy), Golden Buffalo Lake (Kim Ngưu lake), or Đầm Xác Cáo (Fox Corpse Swamp). Each name is kept a legend of the origin of the legendary West Lake.
The West Lake is bordered by several significant pagodas. Vietnam’s oldest pagoda, Tran Quoc pagoda, was built in the 6th century and is located on an island in the middle of the West Lake, a beautiful setting. Further along the lake, Quan Thanh Temple, by the northern gate, was built during the reign of Le Thai To King (1010-1028). It’s dedicated to Huyen Thien Tran Vo, the god who reigned over Vietnam’s northern regions. Renovated in the 19th century, the impressive temple has a triple gate and courtyard, and features a 3.6m (12-ft.) bronze statue of the god.
West Lake Hanoi is also a hub of local activity, particularly on weekends, when families go paddle-boating on it. Every morning, at dawn hundreds of people, both young and old find this place to inhale fresh air and exercise. Thanh Nien road is the gateway of the bicycles carrying flowers going into the heart of Hanoi.
West Lake Hanoi is a great place to unwind, sip a cup of coffee in a street side restaurant, enjoy the famous shrimp cake, eat a glass of ice cream; the luxury restaurants are located on the edge of the lake or in the middle of the lake, or on the yacht.