Hoan Kiem Lake

Top choice lake in Hanoi

Image by Andy Kennelly Five Hundred Pixels

Legend claims in the mid-15th century Heaven sent Emperor Ly Thai To a magical sword, which he used to drive the Chinese from Vietnam. After the war a giant golden turtle grabbed the sword and disappeared into the depths of this lake to restore the sword to its divine owners, inspiring the name Ho Hoan Kiem (Lake of the Restored Sword).

The area is best Fridays to Sundays when nearby traffic is banned 7pm to midnight and a public-square, funfair vibe takes over.