“Peace and quiet” are not exactly the first words that come to mind when I think about Hanoi. While there are surely certain places in the city that give you a feeling of serenity, I would describe Hanoi more as a busy and bustling city… especially with all those motorcycles whizzing past! (Of course, I only stayed in Hanoi for 4 days, so I can’t say I’ve been everywhere in Hanoi!)
Mike and I spent most of our time at the Old Quarter during our 4-day trip. But on our first day in the city, we went to a quieter and less frequented part of the city, which is the area surrounding the Truc Bach Lake.
After having a hearty and heavy lunch at Pho Cuon 31, the most logical thing to do was to walk around Truc Bach Lake. The lake is about three kilometers to the northwest of Hoan Kiem Lake, which is the busier and more popular lake in Hanoi. Truc Bach Lake is well known as the site where United States politician John McCain landed during the Vietnam War after his fighter plane was shot down.
I LOVE the Old Quarter and its energy, but if you need a quick break from all the noise and activity, a trip down to the Truc Bach Lake is a welcome change. The area is very placid, and is really just a pleasant area to walk around in. It’s no wonder that when we took a stroll in the neighborhood, we walked past a group of people — both tourists and locals — who were enjoying their day with some nice conversation and a charming view of the lake.
Aside from restaurants serving pho cuon, especially in a street called Ngu Xa, there are also plenty of coffee shops near the lake. Sipping a delicious cup of coffee while beholding the lake sounds like a great way to spend one’s day! Or, if beer is your beverage of choice, hey, you can have that too!
With the breeze, the sight, and the tranquility of the Truc Bach Lake area, I bet this is also a lovely place to have some alone time, read a book, or get some writing done… or maybe even nap!
Sadly, while the lake itself is lovely, I can’t say the same for the smell! While walking through some parts near the lake, I had to hold my breath because of the awful stench of the pollution. I wish this lake was taken care of better by the people.
We didn’t spend that much time at the lake because there wasn’t really much to do except to look at it and take photos. If we go back to Hanoi, I don’t think we will be coming back especially for Truc Bach Lake, or even this area. For us, it’s one of those places that you can just visit once, and that’ll be enough. However, it’s a good stopover if you are visiting the nearby temples such as the Tran Quoc Pagoda, the Quan Thanh, the Chau Long Pagoda, and the An Tri Temple.
Here are some of our photos in Truc Bach Lake (because though it’s a pretty place, we might not come back here again!)
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