Photo: A quiet moment by Hanoi's Hoan Kiem Lake.

Hoan Kiem Lake

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A visit to Hanoi would be incomplete without a wander around Hoan Kiem Lake, the centrepiece of the city. No matter the time of day, the lake is surrounded by activity and points of interest.

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Ho (lake) Hoan Kiem means “Lake of the Returned Sword”. Legends as to how it acquired its current name vary in detail, but all relate to nationalist hero Emperor Le Loi, who borrowed a magic sword and used it to defeat aggressive Chinese forces before returning it to a turtle that surfaced in the lake. A giant turtle known as Cu Rua in fact lived in the lake for decades or longer before dying in January 2016, to the shock of many Vietnamese, who had considered the 160-kilogram beast sacred. The huge turtle had become a symbol of Vietnamese independence and resilience, and was one of the last four Yangtze giant soft-shell turtles ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 700 words.)


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 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Hanoi.
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