Hoan Kiem Lake - Sword lake | Hanoi - Best things to do in 2024

Hoan Kiem Lake (Sword Lake) is considered the center of Hanoi, both physically and symbolically. This is not only a place for people to relax, take a walk, associate with the people of the capital in many aspects of cultural history, and go into poetry.
If you visit Hanoi, Hoan Kiem Lake is a place that you definitely should not miss. The following article Goviettrip will give you the most detailed information about Hoan Kiem Lake and places to eat and drink near the lake.

Hoan Kiem Vietnamese meaning (Restored Sword) in the past, the lake had many named such as Luc Thuy (mean blue water) because water is blue all year) Thuy Quan Lake (because this is used for marine training) or Vong Lake.
Hoan Kiem name officially appeared in the early 15th century and is associated with the legend that King Le Loi returned the treasure sword to the Turtle God after borrowing a sword to fight, defeating the Minh invaders.
According to the legend, King Le Loi - leader of the Lam Son revolted. He suddenly caught the mental bar, brought it home, and moldered a sword name Thuan Thien. Thanks to this precious gift, he won consecutive battles.
On a beautiful day in 1428, when the peace return, Le Loi visits the lake. Suddenly a golden tortoise surfaced to claim the sword. Do not hesitate, and the King threw the sword to the lake. The tortoise took the sword and dove into the water. Since then, the lake was renamed Hoan Kiem Lake.

hoan kiem lake story 01 

Hoan Kiem Lake story

Hoan Kiem is located right in the center of the old quarter. It is very easy to find it.
Hoan Kiem Lake is a public area, so visitors can go any time during the day. The most important is FREE
Hoan Kiem Lake opening hours: 24 hours – Visitors can visit anytime they want

2.1. Hoan Kiem lake map

hoan kiem lake map

3.1. Ngoc Son Temple

Ngoc Son Temple is located on a high mound northeast of Hoan Kiem Lake Hanoi. This is a remarkable national relic and a place that tourists cannot ignore when traveling to Hanoi.
Besides, explore 2 areas that worship 2 gods, Van Phong Dia Quan and Saint Tran Hung Dao. Visitors can see specimens of giant tortoises that once lived here have been preserved at Ngoc Son Temple. (Opening from 8 am – 5 pm) the entrance fee is 30.000vnd (1,2 USD)

specimen of giant turtle ngoc son temple 

Specimens of giant tortoise

3.2. Watch unique performer – Water puppet show

As one of the most famous shows in Vietnam, visitors can book tickets at Thang Long Water Puppet Theater or Bong Sen Water Puppet Theater. The show is starting in the afternoon from 3 pm to 8 pm. The tickets are from 5USD to – 10USD. The show is about 45 minutes.

hanoi water puppet show history

Hanoi water puppet show

3.3 Visit Ta Hien Beer Street

Tourists can visit Ta Hien night street for something to eat or just for fun. Everything is quite affordable here if you find the right place to buy the things you need.

beer street hanoi old quarter 

Our customers enjoy Beer Hoi

3.3. Hanoi old quarter

Hanoi old quarter is the "heart and soul" of the Hanoi capital. It is right at Hoan Kiem lake, where visitors can visit, explore the daily life, culture, and people, and unique culinary features of Hanoi.

3.4. Check in the night market and walking area on the weekend.

The night market and walking area is open on weekends from Friday, Saturday, and Sunday – the night market is open in the evening from 18:00 to 22:30.
At the weekend Hoan Kiem lake area will be open for walking only, motorbikes and cars not allowed to get in, in the evening visitors can join many traditional performances and games at the walking area around the lake.

3.5. Ly Thai To Monument

Ly Thai To statue on Dinh Tien Hoang street. This is the typical cultural architecture in Hoan Kiem Lake in honor of the King who moved the capital from Hoa Luu ancient capital to Thang Long (Now Hanoi)
The statue was started construction on August 17th, 2004, and inaugurated on October 7th, 2004.
This is a pure bronze statue, cast in one piece, weighing 34 tons (14 tons statue, 20 tons pedestal), 10.10 m in high equivalent 1010 cm, and corresponds to the year 1010, the year of birth of Thang Long Citadel.

ly thai to monument 1 

Ly Thai King statue

3.6. Monument Determined to Brave Death for the Survival of the Fatherland

The monument started construction in 2004 with the image of soldiers of the national defense and a girl in traditional costume in a fighting position - showing the courage and indomitable spirit of the army and the people of the capital. In the day, resistance against France.

 martyrs monument hanoi.

The Monument in front of the lake

3.7. Hoa Phong tower

Hoa Phong Tower is located on the southeast bank of Hoan Kiem Lake on Dinh Tien Hoang Street. It is a remaining ancient relic built in 1842 of Bao An Pagoda, one of the largest pagoda that once existed in Hanoi. In 1888, the French colonial destroyed Bao An Pagoda (pagoda des supplies) to build the Hanoi post office. Only Hoa Phong Tower behind the pagoda remained, the only vestige of Bao An Pagoda that has survived today. The tower is 3 floors high, the first floor has 4 doors, so it is also known as the four gates of the tower.

hoa phong tower 

 Hoa Phong tower

3.8. Join around cyclo or electric car

Joining cyclo or electric cars tours around the surrounding site of Hoan Kiem Lake is considered to be memorable.

3.9. Visit Le Loi King Temple

King Le’s Temple is another wonderful place to visit. This is the place where locals worship King Le Thai To (or Le Loi) as the founding father of the Le’s dynasty that lasted for many centuries consecutively in the past after successfully suppressing the Ming dynasty’s invading.

There are many options for visitors can stay near Hoan Kiem lake
From Luxury to budget prices
5 Starts such as Apricot Hotel, Peridot Grand Luxury Boutique Hotel
4 Starts such as The Oriental Jade Hotel & Spa, Tirant Hanoi hotel, La Siesta Classic Ma May, Silk Path Boutique Hanoi
3 Stars such as Golden Sun Suites Hotel, Sunline Hotel, Hanoi Victor Gallery Hotel & Spa
Besides that, visitors can stay at homestay, Airbnb or hostel

Hoan Kiem is the center of the Old Quarter there are many local and Western restaurants nearby
Local restaurants such as:
Lục Thủy Restaurant & Lounge - 16. Le Thai To street,
Tung's Kitchen - 2 Hang Bong street
Cai Mam restaurant - 7 Luong Van Can street and 23 Dao Duy Tu street
Duong's Restaurant & Cooking Class - 27 Ngo Huyen street

Western restaurant:
Pizza 4P's Bao Khanh Alley - 11B Bao Khanh Alley
La Table Hanoia/ Table du Chef - 12 Ly Dao Thanh street
Chops - 27 Ma May street

Besides that visitors can find many local street foods: noodle soup, breads, steamed rice...

5.1. Other things can eat

Eat Trang Tien ice cream
Trang Tien ice cream was established in 1958. The reason for the name "Trang Tien" is because ice cream is sold and produced in Trang Tien street. The first time is at house number 35 Trang Tien
This has become a very familiar ice cream brand for Hanoians people. Ice cream has many different flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, nuggets, coconut milk, etc. Ice cream is fragrant, delicious, fabulous, is a favorite dish of Vietnamese and foreigners' visitors
The price for each ice cream is vert suitable from 8000vnd to 20.000vnd (less than 1USD).
Boiled snail on Dinh Liet Street
Foreigner visitors may scare about that. But this is a very famous food for locals, epically in the winter.
The price from 70.000vnd/ ball
Egg Coffee
Sound WEIRD but tastes YUMMY!!! It is really a new discovery in the journey to Vietnam.
To enjoy an original Egg Coffee, try it at Giang Cafe or Dinh Cafe.
Giang Cafe: Ngo 39 Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Dinh Cafe: 13 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
The price for each cup of Egg Coffee is 20.000 – 35.000 VND.

You might want to visit some attractions nearby:
>>> St Joseph Cathedral Hanoi - Biggest Cathedral in the old quarter
>>> Hanoi Ancient House - House 140 years old
>>> Dong Xuan market - Biggest in Hanoi old quarter

We hope this article will help you understand more about Hanoi if you need any more help. Please feel free to contact us: Email: or hotline +84968667589. We are guarantee quality and prices. Get a full refund if you do not feel happy with our services.

Hoan Nguyen



author hoan
My name is Hoan and I come from Hanoi, with more than 10 years working in the tourism industry (both as a tour guide then tour operator). I am very proud to say that I can give you the best advice for your trip to beautiful Vietnam.

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