West Lake is one of the most interesting places to visit in Hanoi. It has gone though thick and thin along with people as well as the history of Hanoi.
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West Lake was created from a curved part of Red River and appeared in several Vietnamese legends. One legend suggests that West Lake was shaped after the battle between Lạc Long Quân and a nine-tailed fox spirit, and that’s why the lake was once called “Fox Corpse Swamp” (Đầm Xác Cáo). Another folk story claimed that original name of the lake was “Golden Buffalo Lake” ( Hồ Kim Ngưu) because it was formed from struggle of a buffalo after the disappearance of her calf. In the 11th century, the lake was named “Foggy Lake” (Hồ Dâm Đàm) due to its misty condition. Ultimately its name was changed to “West Lake” in 1573 to avoid the given name of King Lê Thế Tông, which was Duy Đàm.
As Hanoi’s largest lake, located right in the center of Hanoi, West Lake is abundant with gardens, hotels, restaurants and other entertainment centers. For this reason, real estate prices near West Lake are staggering, and the surrounding quarters are often full of many imposingly large edifices occupied by wealthy Vietnamese people and expatriates.
West Lake has always been one of the more favorite attraction for photographers, artists and even song composers. The lake is also a paradise of the couples. Here, couples can stroll around Truc Bach lake or ride a duck boat in West and visit a café, a restaurant along the lake or simply sit together to behold the sunset at West Lake.