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West Lake
By Hanoi Local Guide

Ho Tay is the largest of all the lakes in Ha Noi. The lake is on the northwest part of the city. Long ago, the lake was a branch of the Red river but later, as the river changed course, the lake remained a body of water just west of the river. There are many legends associated with West Lake. The most popular is the legend of the golden buffalo. As the story goes, there once was a medicine man who was a giant. He is well known in Vietnam for his medicine practice and the king often used him to treat the royal family.

His fame reached China and he was invited to China to treat the king. He was successful where others have failed so the king was going to reward him with great wealth. He refused offerings of gold and only requested that the king give him all the black copper in the king's vault. The king agreed and the giant left for Vietnam with vast amounts of black copper. In Vietnam the giant molded a giant bell of black copper. The giant rang the bell and the sound resonated all the way to China. In the king's vault there was a golden buffalo.

Upon hearing the sound of the bell, the buffalo came to life (because he thought that his mother was calling him) and charged southward. Upon reaching Ha Noi, the buffalo trampled the land in the area near Red river. Over the years, this area filled with water and became Ho Tay or West Lake. Ho Tay has always been an area for vacationing royalties. When Ha Noi was still the capital city, the kings from the Ly and Tran dynasty built summer homes along the lake. In the north end of the lake there are several villages famous for their flowers and fruits plantations. Most famous is Nghi Tam village, the birth place of Ba Huyen Thanh Quan, one of Vietnam's premier Poetess.

7 Reviews of West Lake

Largest lake in Hanoi

This lake is the largest in Hanoi with a shore length of around 17km (10.6 miles) and is a popular place for recreation with many surrounding gardens, hotels and villas. One legend suggests that the lake was shaped...

Ho Tay (West Lake)

This huge water feature lies to the west of Hanoi. There are actually two lakes here - the larger one called West Lake and a smaller one called White Silk Lake. Across the road from the White Silk Lake is a...

Tran Quoc Temple on West Lake

On my last morning in Hanoi, I walked through the rain to visit Tran Quoc temple, whose pagoda I had seen every morning as I commuted from my hotel into downtown. I have no idea what the history of the temple is,...

Things to do at the West Lake (Ho Tay)

Ho Tay is Hanoi's biggest lake. According to a legend, it was created when a Chinese buffalo mistook the sound of a bell of a pagoda for its mother's voice and ran away, creating the lake by stepping into a...

Ho Tay

To the north of the old quarter is the enormous Ho Tay. Pretty it ain't, surrounded as it is by residential quarters of various ages and exclusiveness (it has a shoreline of 13kms). The lake was the setting for...

Sunset over the West Lake

Massive West Lake is north of the Presidential Palace and west of Truc Bach Lake. Along the southern shore of West Lake there are several restaurant/bars from which you can enjoy a beautiful sunset over the water....

West Lake Ice-Cream

I would like to come to West Lake to enjoy ice-cream. West Lake Ice-Cream is near the northern end of the street, opposite Tran Quoc Pagoda, and besides the crowds outside, is easily spotted by its flashing neon...

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Overviews West Lake
West Lake tips and photos posted by real travelers and Hanoi locals.
Location Hanoi
Basin countries Vietnam
Properties Family, Romantic, Road Trip, Lake
Read More Vietnam Tours
Official Site Vietnam Travel

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