Hanoi is much more than the Old Quarter and just 15-minute drive from Hanoi Old Quarter, West Lake seems to be a totally different world for tourists to explore. This is not only the area of water and natural beauty but it's also the place of culture and religion.
The legend goes that there was a gifted monk who returned from China and brought a lot of bronze as a reward for curing the king’s illness. He used the bronze to make a giant bell and its sound was so pure that it resonated throughout the land and beyond the mountains to the ears of a golden buffalo calf living inside the Chinese Imperial Treasury. That buffalo ran towards the sound of the bell, mistaking it for the call of its mother. But then, the bell fell silent and the calf couldn't know which way to go so it spun round and round, trampling a vast hollow. Later, the hollow was filled with water and became West Lake today. Some people say that the golden buffalo is still there, at the bottom of the lake.
Another folklore source claims that West Lake was formed when the Dragon King Lac Long Quan drowned a wicked fox spirit with nine tails there. According to legend, in Linh Nam, there was a fox living so long that it turned into an ogre with 9 tails. That ogre often go to the village and kidnapped girls. Lac Long Quan knew about that and he used his magical power to create rain, wind, thunders and lightning to kill the fox ogre. Finally, the ogre was defeated and Lac Long Quan could successfully save all the people. Then, he used water to destroy the fox's cave. From then on, that area became a huge lake known as West Lake today.
Truc Bach Lake
Truc Bach Lake
Right next to West Lake is a small lake named Truc Bach. It is recorded in books that Truc Bach Lake was created in the 17th Century when villagers from Yen Phu village and Quan Thanh village made a dyke in the southeast of West Lake to raise fish. Going around the lake, you can see lovers in swan boats, wedding parties, teenagers eating ice cream or old men fishing.
Other things to see
It is such a big regret if you visit West Lake without having a look at Tran Quoc Pagoda (the oldest pagoda of Vietnam) and Quan Thanh temple (one of the four important points to defend Hanoi).
Tran Quoc Pagoda
Quan Thanh Temple
Besides that, West Lake ice-cream and shrimp cake are also a good try that can make your trip more tasteful.
GoAsiaDayTrip highly recommend West Lake for anyone who would like to escape busy streets of Hanoi and want to get to know other aspects of this city. A lot of full day and half-day tours that include West Lake area are offered by GoAsiaDayTrip to meet your demands:
- Hanoi Bicycle Tour In The Morning - Private Tour
- Hanoi City Tour Full Day
- Traveling Around Hanoi In One Day
- Hanoi Full Day - Private Tour
- Hanoi Half-Day Private City Tour
- Riding Around Hanoi At Night - Private Tour
- Motorbike Tour In Hanoi - Private Tour