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Vietnam travel - walking around West lake

posted Sep 24, 2010, 11:56 PM by Dong Travel   [ updated Feb 17, 2011, 1:07 AM by Mickey Dong Hoang Thinh ]
West lake was once a part of the Red River but after some time, it was left  only as a shallow lake because of a change in the course of the river causing the waterways to travel into the Old Quarter and up to the Citadel of Hanoi. Villages situated around the lake supplied flowers, fruit, silk and fish to the city. The lake was a popular destination for royalty and mandarins who built summer palaces along its shore and took boats onto its waters. Some of these palaces are now shrines and temples facing the lake.

The 17 - kilometers that surround West Lake have been divided into five trails that guides people to places both old and new. In the Nghi Tam area, the influence of Doi Moi can be seen - once a place of gardens and silk weaving, it is now a maze of villas reflecting architecture styles from the past hundred years. The remote northern area of the lake is still a place of natural beauty with large lotus ponds and narrow lanes. It is also possible to have a refreshing drink in a cafe in the northern area, which was once a military bunker during the time of the French Administration in Hanoi. Another trail will take you past Chu Van An, Hanoi's first high school, which has an American B-52 bomber sticking out of its waters. On the southern and Western shores there are numberous temples and pagodas, each with their own distinct characteristics

The maps in the book make it easy for the tourists to find places of interest, and the many photographs show the colors and atmosphere of the lake during different seasons. Plans for the development of Hanoi over the next ten years include West Lake area become a place of business, sport, culture and tourism. For now, however, West Lake is the perfect destination for long walks and relaxing sight seeing