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Hanoi and its waters

There is something that only a large body of water can offer. Lakes are part of what makes Hanoi the city it is now. VnExpress takes a look at the lakes worth visiting the most for Hanoi's first-timers.

West Lake

Long known as the most foreigner-familiar area among Hanoi’s expat community, West Lake has surrounded itself with everything necessary to become the first image to pop up whenever the word “lake” is mentioned. The lake area provides anything needed to sustain a decent Western lifestyle. Lake-view residency, convenience shops filled with imported foods, late openning bars, overnight food stalls, pet clinics, kindergartens and all kinds of services to mimic the vibe half-way around the earth. West Lake is also a rare place in Hanoi offering kayaking and a natural pool, making it the go-to place for aquatic sports lovers.

Hoan Kiem

It's the heart of Hanoi, literally. House numbers go up as the streets diverge from the lake. But it's also an unmissable place on any itinerary that includes the capital. The best of Hanoi flock there, begging to stay. We have the best dried beef salad, 'nom bo kho’, the original water puppet show that every tour agency touts as must-see, the lacquer shops and the one-of-a-kind Old Quarter. Even a walk round the lake can afford you the right to boast with anyone at home about “you feeling the spirit of Vietnam.”

Thien Quang

A bit farther from the center of Hanoi but still in the walking range, Thien Quang is small and quite void of a surrounding “ecosystem” like its above sister lakes. Walking here, one, if lucky, can encounter some street festival or running-based charity events held around the lake thanks to a large area adjacent to it. The lake also boasts a few cafes where bird lovers gather for both coffee and bird shows.

Truc Bach

Truc Bach sits opposite her bigger sister West Lake. The lake was once part of West Lake, where most fish converged to, which also was the reason for its separation from West Lake. Being adjacent to the famous West Lake doesn’t make Truc Bach any less worth visiting. The lake has itself a line of ‘bia hoi’ along one side, and a line of frog hot-pot shops along the other. One can find the famous ‘pho cuon’ in the Ngu Xa Street near the Lake. Truc Bach also shares with West Lake a shrimp cake shop and an ice-cream stall, both with their own fandoms.

Thu Le

Thu Le, distinct from all of the above, is not a stand-alone lake but part of the namesake zoo. Couples go here for the swan boats and water walking balls; locals, for jogging; children for the animals. And you, because we told you so?

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