Leisure activities in West Lake: Boosting tourism in Hanoi

Hanoi's renowned lake is the perfect spot for water activities and sports, offering a unique and diverse experience for tourists.


A plan to resume some of the tourist services at West Lake has recently been announced by the Municipal People’s Committee.

West Lake at sunset. Photo: Doan Bach

According to the newly issued “West Lake Management Regulation”, there are 10 types of services and entertainment activities that will be allowed to operate on the surface of the West Lake. These include golf services on the floating golf course, cruises (tourist boats, cruises, canoes, water bicycles during daytime only), boating services (including kayaking, sup and traditional boating), swimming, windsurfing and sailing, and scuba diving.

Water music performances, hot air ballooning, and paragliding services are also permitted.

Electric vehicles, tricycles, and bicycles are also allowed on the shore around West Lake.

Hanoi requires these services to be operated in accordance with strict environmental protection regulations, including wastewater management, lake surface cleaning, ecological protection, landscape conservation, construction, and architectural planning.

Kayaking on the West Lake. Photo: Yeu Ha Noi Page

In February, the West Lake Management Board was established to fully utilize the potential and value of the West Lake, especially in the development of tourism and services.

As an agency of the Tay Ho District People’s Committee, this public service unit is responsible for leading and coordinating with relevant units to develop projects and plans for the management, investment, and use of the West Lake and its surrounding areas. Its tasks also include preserving historical cultural relics, landscapes, and the environment, as well as ensuring the sustainable development of the West Lake area and its surroundings.

In the past, several tourist services were allowed to operate on West Lake, such as yachting, floating restaurants, and swan boat rides. Since 2017, the Hanoi People’s Committee has ordered the closure of the lake’s tourist dock and the suspension of boat services there due to deteriorating environmental risks and fire hazards.

The annual Hanoi Open Dragon Boat Racing Tournament on the West Lake. Photo: Huy Pham/The Hanoi Times

Located in the northwest of Hanoi, West Lake is the largest lake in the city, with nearly 18 km of shoreline and 500 hectares of water surface.

The lake is renowned for its beautiful scenery and various historical and cultural sites, such as Tran Quoc Pagoda, the city’s oldest Buddhist temple; Quan Thanh Temple, one of the four sacred temples of ancient Hanoi; Nghi Tam Village, known for its silkworm, bonsai, and ornamental fish trade; and Nhat Tan Village, famous for its flower planting trade.

The new tourism services on and around West Lake are expected to promote Tay Ho District as a significant cultural and tourism hub in the capital.