Hanoi and Hoan Kiem Lake
Hanoi is one of those charming cities in which you could just wander around for days, taking it all in.
It reminded me of Paris in some respects, with its winding streets and cafe culture. A feeling heightened by the french colonial influence, particularly in the architecture of the hotels and large buildings.
A major focal point of Hanoi is Hoan Kiem Lake, Vietnamese for “Lake of the Restored Sword.” Legend has it that King Le Loi was given a magical sword by the gods, which he used to vanquish the invading Chinese Ming Dynasty. Subsequently, he encountered a giant turtle, which took the sword down to the depths of the lake, and returned it to the gods.
The lake is the perfect place for a stroll… and to people watch! It’s a popular place to socialize and take in the scenery.
On the northern end of the lake sits Jade Island. The island is connected to the mainland by the iconic Huc (Morning Sunlight) Bridge.
The primary structure of Jade Island is Ngoc Son Temple, or Temple of the Jade Mountain. Built in the 18th century, it was dedicated to Tran Hung Dao, Van Xuong, and Ngyen Van Sieu, a 13th century military leader, a scholar, and a Confucian master, respectively.