Hanoi plans to resume some entertainment and sports services at West Lake, which have been suspended for more than six years.  

The space around the West Lake. Photo: Nghiem Binh

The municipal People’s Committee has recently announced the draft of the “West Lake Management Regulation” for public comment, starting from March 22.

According to the draft, 12 types of services would be allowed to operate on the surface of the West Lake, including tourist boats, cruises, canoes, water bicycles (daytime only); boating services (including kayaking, sup and traditional boating); windsurfing and sailing; and scuba diving.

Hanoi will also promote other cultural services on the West Lake, such as water music performances, hot air ballooning and paragliding services, and the construction of a floating golf course. These planned services must be in compliance with strict environmental protection regulations, including wastewater management, lake surface cleaning, ecological environment protection, landscape conservation, construction, and architecture planning, among others.

According to the Urban Development Plan for West Lake and its Surrounding Area approved by the municipal People’s Committee, West Lake will have eight marinas and waterway tourist routes. Tay Ho District will be responsible for the investment approval and post-investment management of these services.

The famous Tran Quoc Pagoda on the West Lake. Photo: Phuong Thuy

Since 2017, the Hanoi People’s Committee has ordered the closure of the lake’s tourist dock and the suspension of boat services there, citing deteriorating environmental standards and fire hazards.

West Lake is the largest body of water in Hanoi, with a water surface area of more than 527 hectares and a perimeter of approximately 19 km. A system of boardwalks with surrounding railings, a drainage system, a lighting system, and many trees complete the technical infrastructure of the lake.

Around the West Lake, there are a number of famous handicraft villages associated with the image of the thousand-year-old Thang Long-Hanoi, such as Yen Thai Do paper-making village, Trich Sai weaving village, Yen Phu incense making village, Quang An lotus tea making village or Phu Thuong sticky rice making village, Nghi Tam kumquat growing village, Nhat Tan peach planting village and so on.

According to Lenna Dupont, a Canadian expat in Hanoi, West Lake and the surrounding area is the most interesting place in Hanoi.

“I can learn a lot about the city and its culture and history by visiting this place. I really like the pagodas and temples around West Lake. They are beautiful and show the strong influence of the Buddhist religion on the people,” she told The Hanoi Times.

In recent years, many cafes, bars and restaurants have opened in Tay Ho, along with various music and art shows, creating a lively atmosphere both day and night.

Lenna said more international visitors would come to the place as local authorities resume tourism services.