West Lake, Hanoi’s largest freshwater lake with 10.5 miles (17 kilometers) of shore, is one of the most popular places for outdoor recreation in the Vietnamese capital. The eastern shore of the lake has transformed into an upscale residential area where expats and wealthy Hanoians live, but the lake is also dotted with several historical points of interest.
Tran Quoc Pagoda, located on a small island in West Lake, was built in the sixth century, making it the oldest Pagoda in Vietnam. Near the northern gate of the lake, Quan Thanh Temple is a Taoist temple dedicated to Tran Vo and dating back to the early eleventh century. Apart from its historical attractions, West Lake is also a popular place to hire a boat, dine at a floating restaurant, people watch and walk or bike along the banks.
West Lake is free and always open, but it’s particularly beautiful around sunset.