Hoan Kiem Lake

One of the key features of Hanoi is Hoan Kiem Lake. A large body of water in the centre of the city with a small temple in the middle.

Meaning Lake of the Returned Sword or Lake of the Restored Sword, it’s a fresh water lake in the historic centre of Hanoi.

Near the northern shore of the lake lies Jade Island on which the Temple of the Jade Mountain (Ngoc Son Temple) stands.

The temple was erected in the 18th century. It was built in commemoration of Tran Hung Dao, a 13th century military leader

Centuries old rituals are played out in the temple every day, including the ritual sounding of bells.

Alters groan under the weight of offerings including fruit, cake and incense.

Colourful carved painted wood and sumptuous fabrics adorn the temple.

There’s intricate murals to the entrance of the temple, before you pay for a ticket, cross the bridge and head over the water.

Jade Island is connected to the shore by the wooden Thê Húc Bridge, painted vermillion red.

The bridge’s name translates as “Perch of the Morning Sunlight”.

Hanoi hustle

Our last few hours of tranquillity in Nihn Bihn are spent exploring Hoa Lu, the ancient capital of Vietnam.

Behind us below is the temple dedicated to Đinh Tiên Hoàng that was constructed by local residents in order to honour Dinh Bo Linh, the first emperor of Vietnam.

Then our last moments of calm are over as we’re heading back to the hectic crowds of Hanoi.

As you reach the outskirts of the city, the traffic starts to pile back up!

We’re once again having a flying, one day visit to Hanoi as we’re heading off on another trip, but we’ve still time to explore.

One of my all time favourite things is markets and there is no better place to see amazing, colourful, bustling markets, than in Asia.

With the added bonus of the picturesque, traditional conical Vietnamese hats.

No matter what you’re after, whether its a cuddly toy, fresh fruit or colourful fabric, you’re bound to find a shop or stall that is flogging it!

Next up we’re off to explore the pretty little temple that sits at the heart of the city’s Hoan Kiem Lake.