Wednesday, April 18, 2007

When to see Hanoi, Vietnam at its most romantic?

Walk along Thanh Nien (Youth) road that runs between West Lake and Truc Bach Lake. At nightfall, many people sit on the benches in groups or in couples to watch the sun setting behind Tan Vien mountain in Ba Vi. In summer, on weekend nights, this area is jam-packed with Hanoians relaxing and seeking respite from the heat.

In lakeside cafes under the trees, waiters with friendly smiles serve their customers cups of fragrant coffee or glasses of cool tropical fruit juice. Back in the 17th century, when King Le Than Tong (1680-1705) had the Co Ngu dyke built at the south-west corner of West Lake, a walking track around the lake was formed.

Lord Trinh Giang built a palace on the shores of Truch Bach for his romantic liaisons. The palace later became a prison for those palace maidens who fell out of favour with the Lord. The beautiful women imprisoned there wove particularly fine silk, which became famed throughout the imperial city. This silk was called Lang Truc (Truc Village) silk and the village was later called Truc Bach.

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