The strange beauty of Hanoi’s West Lake
Updated at Tuesday, 28 Feb 2017, 17:03
Not only considered as green lung of the Capital, West Lake also bears a strange beauty. The lake attracts many locals and tourists seeking respite from the busy city, providing a sanctuary of great natural beauty with plenty of quiet spots in the sizeable lush gardens surrounding the lake.
West Lake has a circumference of 17km and houses many of the city’s historic places of interest around its perimeter – including Vietnam’s oldest pagoda and one of Vietnam’s four sacred temples.
West Lake is a beautiful place to while away an afternoon, there are boats for hire and lunch on a floating restaurant makes a novel dining option. Notable points of interest at West Lake include Tran Quoc Pagoda which was built in the 6th century making it Vietnam’s oldest temple.
Tran Quoc Pagoda resides on a small island built by King Ly Nam De as a cultural symbol of Vietnamese Buddhism. The pagoda is particularly stunning when viewed early evening at sunset. The other main attraction is Quan Thanh Temple located at the West Lake crossroads of Thanh Nien Street and Quan Thanh Street.
One of Vietnam’s ancient Four Sacred Temples built during the reign of King Ly Thai To from 1010 to 1028; the temple features detailed wood carvings of sacred animals, trees and flowers in its structure. Quan Thanh Temple is open for all to enter with sightseers encouraged to pray for health, luck and happiness during their visit. The lake used to be part of the Red River when it was a retreat reserved for the relaxation of mandarins and kings, today the lake offers so much to enjoy with a unique fusion of nature at her best and some of the most historic cultural sights in the whole of Vietnam.
By Anh Kiet
(Photo: Van Phuc - Kinhtedothi.vn)