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An experience we will never forget
March 24, 2012

Tran Quoc Pagoda

Built on a southern peninsula of West Lake, Tran Quoc Pagoda is one of the oldest pagodas  in Hanoi. Since its construction in the sixth century, it was moved several times and given different names. This pagoda is cultural symbol of Vietnamese Buddhism.  From Tran Quoc pagoda you could take a leisurely walk to the nearby Quan Thanh temple, West lake and Truc Bach lake.

Tran Quoc pagoda was built in 541 and completed in 545 under the reign of King Ly Nam De with the original name is Khai Quoc (Founding Nation). It was first set on the bank of Red river (where the Red river and the West lake met).
In the seventeenth century, because of the crumbling dike, the pagoda was moved to Kim Ngu (Golden Fish) islet as what you see nowadays.

Visiting Tran Quoc pagoda travelers have a chance to enjoy intricate architecture in the harmony of surrounding green trees, emerald lake, forming a beautiful landscape.


The architecture is the result of the current major restoration that took place in 1815. It includes porch, main altar, common room, ancestors room, tomb towers ...

The large brick tower is 6 sided and symbolizes the recent stages of the life of Buddha with 11 floors and 66 statues of Buddha. The beautiful island is reflected on green water of  West Lake. The best time to visit the Pagoda is in a romantic sunset.




  • Quan Thanh Temple

Located south of the dike separating the West Lake Truc Bach Lake, this Taoist temple is a historical and cultural vestige from XI century. Quan Thanh temple dedicated to worship the genius guardian of the North. This is one of the most remarkable temples in Hanoi and should not miss it.

This magnificent temple was erected at the time to venerate the memory of God Huyen Thien Tran Vu, a strong protector of the North, therefore this temple is also known as Tran Vu Temple.

The latest renovation dated from the nineteenth century. This temple has a beautiful entrance facade with three portals. Opposite the entrance is four big pillars decorated with design of  phoenixes, tigers and other sacred animals in Vietnamese culture. The temple also has a patio decorated by a pond.


Inside the temple you can admire a black bronze statue measuring 3.96 meters and weighing about 4 tons from 1677 representing of the God Huyen Thien Tran Vu.

Burning incense whiffs  in air combine with the quiet making the tranquility not only in atmosphere but also in soul.

We highly recommend this attraction for those who desire discovering architecture, religious culture and a place away of noise and busle.


  • The West Lake

North of downtown, the West Lake is the largest lake  in Hanoi with a circumference of 13 kilometers and almost 600 hectares of surface. This is one of the most popular spots in Hanoi in weekend for lovers who searching the privacy.

Ho Tay or West Lake is a former branch of the Red River and was formed as a result of repeated flooding.

Several legends are related around the birth of this lake. One of them tells that in past time there was  a 1000 years old fox with nine tails spreading terror among the country. The God order the king of Dragon to kill the fox by drowning. Another legend is the Emperor of China offered a Vietnamese monk a block of bronze. When coming back Vietnam the monk made a great bell and its ring reach to China making the golden buffalo run from China to Vietnam. People consider bronze is the mother of gold, thus the golden buffalo think that he heard the voice of mother. Realizing his mistake and anger for misunderstanding, he trampled this area and made it to the lake.

Throughout history, this lake had different names: Dam xac cao (lake of The remains of fox), Kim Nguu (Golden buffalo), Lang Bac (Waving water surface) , Dam Dam (misty lake) and finally Ho Tay (West lake), the latter having his name assigned to the thirteenth century.

This beautiful lake attracts alot of lovers, small groups of friends and firshermen. There are some household grow vegetables and flowers in the northern bank.


There are many beautiful pagodas and temple around West lake such as Tran Quoc pagoda, Quan Thanh temple, West lake palace…

A best way to enjoy West lake’s beauty from different perspective is taking a swan boat for a leisurely trip.

Now, the streets around the lake are very popular to expat community and by wealthy Vietnamese living in beautiful villas.

  • Truc Bach Lake

Locate in the north of downtown and adjacent to West Lake, surrounded by small restaurants, charming houses and flamboyant tree line. Like West lake Truc Bach lake is also an attractive place for youngsters to stroll, ride swan boat.

Truc Bach Lake means the Silk White Lake was separated from its neighbor, the West Lake, in the seventeenth century, when the Co Ngu dam was built which later became a road: Thanh Nien (Youth) road or called the road of love, in the afternoon the lovers gather here to escape the bustle of the city and peacefully admire the sunset over the lake.



In the eighteenth century the Trinh did build a palace where prison the delinquent concubines ưho wove white silk, hence the name given to the lake.

This lake was crashed on October 26, 1967, the aircraft was shot down by air defense of the capital. The pilot was John McCain, the candidate of  elections in 2008 for  the Presidency of the United States of America, jumped from his aircraft, badly injured. He spent the next 5 years in captivity.

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