Ho Tay

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To the west of Hanoi are two beautiful lakes, separated from the Red River by the great dyke to the north. The larger of the two is Ho Tay or West Lake, which is home to Hanoi’s sailing club. It is sepa ra ted from Truc Bach or White Silk Lake to the east by an artificial causeway. In times past, Ho Tay was associated with the Trinh lords, who built palaces and pavilions along its shores, as well as many Buddhist temples. The palaces are gone, but many temples remain, including the city’s oldest, Tran Quoc Pagoda. According to legend, it was established by the banks of the Red River during the reign of Trinh lord, Ly Nam De (r.544–8), but was moved to its current loca tion during the 17th century. Also worth a visit is Quan Thanh Temple, reputed to have been patronized by Emperor Ly Thai To, founder of the Ly Dynasty. Rebuilt in 1893, it is dedicated to Tran Vo or Guardian of the North. An image of this Taoist divin ity dominates the altar. Today, the area around Ho Tay is becoming increasingly upscale, with lots of luxury hotels along its shore. It is also home to several high-end restaurants and bars.

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