Vietnam Travel Guide

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West Lake in Hanoi

Ho Tay is the largest of all the lakes in Ha Noi. It is situated on the northwest part of the city. Long ago, the lake was a branch of the Red river but later, when the river altered course, the lake remained a body of water just west of the river. There are lots of legends together with West Lake. The most famous is the legend of the golden buffalo.

As the story goes, there once was a medicine man who was a giant. He is famous for Vietnam with 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 denied offerings of gold and only suggested that the king gave him all the black copper in the king’s vault.

The king agreed and the giant left for Vietnam with large 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 place filled with water and became Ho Tay or West Lake.

Ho Tay with Vietnam travel guide has always been a location 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.

Today, several of the summer house designed by kings of years are currently shrines and temples. Phu Tay Ho is one of the more popular shrine on the shore of Ho Tay. Throughout the 1st and 15th day of the lunar month, people from everywhere in Ha Noi come to the shrine to pay respect to the deities. Currently, the roads are full with people wearing colourful apparel heading to the slender road resulting in the shrine. Phu Tay Ho is additionally famous for the Bun Oc (escargot vermicelli soup) and Banh Tom (shrimp cakes) sold in stalls along the road.


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