Away from the hustle and bustle of the Old Quarter, West Lake’s atmosphere brings calm, refreshing and romantic sightseeing. Among many historical and cultural relics, the surrounding quarters are often full of restaurants, boutiques, cafes, luxury hotels, and imposingly large edifices.

I. About West Lake of Hanoi

West Lake of Hanoi - Everything you need to know

1. Location

West Lake is the city’s largest lake which is 15 km circumference. The lake is surrounded by predominantly foreigners in Tay Ho district and upmarket suburbs.

Location: Tay Ho District, Hanoi
Lake type: Freshwater lake

2. The story behind the name of West lake

West Lake is one of the oldest lakes in Hanoi capital and was created from the Red River curved part. There are some Vietnamese legends that appeared and were known by several names in history.

West Lake of Hanoi - Everything you need to know

The Lake was once called Dam Xac Cao in Lac Long Quan King’ time. Due to the story about Lac Long Quan King has been attacked by a nine-tailed fox spirit and the King won the battle. After the fight, the fox transforms into a lake and local people call it Dam Xac Cao – Fox Corpse Swamp lake.

Some people claimed that in the old days, the lake has been called Ho Trau Vang – Golden Buffalo Lake due to the mysterious disappearance of a magical buffalo.

In the 11th century, Ho Dam Dam – Foggy Lake is a name for the West Lake, associated with its misty condition. Soon after, King Le The Tong named it Duy Dam. The final name – West lake was created after the King abdicated in 1573.

West Lake of Hanoi - Everything you need to know

Source: Flickr – Nguyễn Vân Nhi MrBig

II. Where to visit in West Lake

1. Tran Quoc pagoda

Tran Quoc pagoda is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Hanoi capital. Originally constructed in the 6th century, the pagoda was built on a small island on the West Lake during the reign of Emperor Ly Nam De. This shrine has undergone several changes over the years, especially its renaming from An Quoc to Tran Quoc – protect the country by King Le Huy Tong in the 17th century.

Surrounded by lush greenery, Tran Quoc main pagoda is made up of eleven levels as 15 meters. Also, there are a lot of intricately carved statues dating to 1639. Each of them bears a unique facial feature.

West Lake of Hanoi - Everything you need to know

Location: 01 Thanh Nien street, Hanoi
Opening hours: 08:00 am – 16:00 pm, daily.

2. Quan Thanh Temple

Location: 13 Thanh Nien street, Hanoi
Opening hours: 08:00 am – 17:00 pm, daily.

Quan Thanh Temple is formerly known as Tran Vu Temple to dedicate to Tran Vu – Deity of the North in Taoism. This is one of the Four Sacred Temples that protects the capital from malevolent spirits in four directions. The temple is also a venue for Vovinam – a traditional martial Art class.

West Lake of Hanoi - Everything you need to know

Source: Baomoi

3. Chu Van An High School

Address: 10 Thuy Khue Street

Established by French authorities in 1908, Chu Van An High School is one of the oldest institutions for secondary education in Indochina for the initial purpose. Therefore, the school is bearing the hallmark of the French. Octagonal Building is the most remarkable structure in the Chu Van An school. It used to be Schneider Villa (La villa Schneider), named after the host of the villa Henri Schneider – a French owner of a paper shop. In 1999, the Octagonal Building was reconstructed and used as the school library. Nowadays, this construction is an impressive architectural structure on the side of West Lake.

West Lake of Hanoi - Everything you need to know

Source: Baomoi

III. Things to do in West Lake of Hanoi

1. Swan Pedal Boat in West Lake

West Lake is always a charming relaxing place. To upgrade your experience, let’s rent one of the cute Swan Pedal Boat and start pedaling far from the border. The atmosphere in the middle of the lake would be nice and relaxing. You will also get some unique sightseeing of the city during the time. This is a great option to spend a couple of hours and catch some cool pictures.

Fee: 30,000 – 50,000 VND/ hour

2. Cycling

With a shore length of 17 km, The West Lake is a perfect place to cycle, immerse yourself in nature, local life and avoid city traffic. Enjoy falling into a fresh, quiet and romantic vibe in the morning when the sun comes up or the sunset. A ride on two-wheels around the lake will help you get away from the bustle hustle of the city center.

3. Ho Tay Water Park 

Ho Tay Water Park is a great way to pass a hot summer day with your kids and friends. This modern entertainment complex is a place where you can find many water attractions such as pools, slides, lazy rivers, high-speed lanes for single, black thrilling lames for couples, carpet sliding lanes, kid play zones,… The water park is usually open from April until November.

Entrance fee:
– Adult: 90,000 – 160,000 VND/ per
– People from 0.9 m to 1.35 m tall: 90,000 – 130,000 VND/ per
– People under 0,9 m tall: No charge

4. Tay Ho weekend market

Tay Ho weekend market is a flea market that has become an important social, networking event and the most eventful as imposing activity every quarter for foreigners living in Hanoi, local people of Tay Ho community and surrounding areas recently. This market offers mostly high-quality organic, handicraft items with specific zones for different product categories such as handmade area, second-hand area, food area, a kid zone, and charity booth.

Address: No. 4, Lane 67, Alley 12, To Ngoc Van Street, Tay Ho District
Opening hours: 9:00 am – 11:00 am, every Saturday
Price: from 20,000 VND/ per.

IV. Food guide in Hanoi West Lake



1. West Lake Ice Cream – Ho Tay Ice cream

Ho Tay Ice cream is one of the most famous deserts around West Lake. This ice cream shop is in the opposite of the well-known Tran Quoc Pagoda. Most of the local customers prefer to take away due to plenty of seats beside the lake or sit on vehicles or stand in the shade of trees line in the pathway.

Location: 1 Thanh Nien Street, Hanoi
Opening hours: 08:00 am – 21:30 pm
Price: 5,000 – 15,000 VND

2. Banh Tom Ho Tay – West Lake shrimp pancake 

This shrimp pancake is an outstanding dish in Ho Tay cuisine. With a fresh ingredient that every shrimp was raised and caught from West Lake freshwater, the pancake flavor is the one and only.

Location: 1 Thanh Nien Street, Hanoi
Opening hours: 09:00 am – 22:00 pm
Price: 80,000đ – 132,000 VND

3. Rice Dumpling Cake (Banh Bot Loc)

Banh Bot Loc is a Vietnamese snack. This traditional dish is filled with grilled shrimp and a slice of pork belly, then cooked in boiling water. After the boil, this cake will appear with clear-looking and chewy dumpling skin, making these some of the best dumplings around.

Huong Hieu

Location: 25 Phu Tay Ho street, Hanoi
Opening hours: 07:00 am – 22:30 pm
Price: 20,000 – 60,000 VND

V. Travel Tips

Visitors can flexibly travel to West Lake from the inner city or from other famous Hanoi attractions like Hanoi Old Quarter, Uncle Ho Mausoleum,…

A number of routes can help you get there by taxi, Grab, motorbike or even by bus.

By bus: 13, 33, 50, 70 – Entrance fee: 7,000 VND/ticket

If you want to enjoy the fresh air as well as the breathtaking sunrise view, you have to be here early in the morning. If you want to see its romantic night scenery, come here in the evening.

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