If you’re trying to find a place where you can freely talk to the locals, especially Saigonese youth, you’ve came to the right answers – Turtle Lake. Everyday, thousands of people gather here around this moon-shape lake just to hang out, chit chat, eat delicious snacks or just enjoy their leisure time. Most of them are high school and college students, first jobbers, so they are very friendly and speak English very well, please find a chance to talk to anybody here, they will love to response. Here are some things about our beloved Turtle Lake:
Location & view
The Turtle Lake is located in the joint of 3 streets: Pham Ngoc Thach, Vo Van Tan and Tran Cao Van, right in the heart of city center. Detail location can be seen here: https://goo.gl/QAK2xB
People say that this place is on a good layer of earth so it can bring fortune and luck for the whole city. Whatever it’s true or not, seeing a lot of people enjoying their time here, we can say that this is a really good place.
The lake is surrounded by a lot of tree and itself is a roundabout, so you can feel the Saigon daily routine strongly here. It’s 10 minutes walk away from the city center so from this place, you can easily explore the city after. You can get in and out here by many means of transportation: cab, bus, Grab or Go-Viet, all is very easy to catch.
Architechture & History
This Lake is one of Saigon’s four historical symbols, included: Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica (Nhà thờ Đức Bà), Saigon Central Post office (Bưu điện Trung tâm Sài Gòn), Independence Palace (Dinh Độc lập) and Turtle Lake (Công trường Quốc tế or Hồ Con Rùa).
The lake was built since 1975 and has been staying the same since then, not much change in the structure so it’s more about historical value than a super nice architect spot, the style is combined between Western and Eastern so it is quite unique.
There was an alloy turtle but it was removed in an historical event, however, the name of the lake is still kept until today. In some explainaition, the tower in the lake is described as a sword to pin down the turle, to make the harmonical placement of Feng Shui, as this lake is at the tail of the Dragon, while the head of the Dragon is at Independence Place, putting the Turtle here would keep the peace of the city.
Relax and youthful – these are what you can feel when spend your time in turtle lake. Everyone seems to be very happy to be here, no matter they are with friends or come here alone. The energy come from people around the lake will definitely make you feel optimistic & lively, especially at night, it’s peak time for people to hang out around this area
Most of people come here in group to socialize in their leisure time, sometimes you can also see people with guitar and sing together. If you want, you can join them anytime because they’re very friendly and really want to talk to foreigners to practice English. If you can make a Vietnamese friend, I promise your Vietnam Trip will be great because they can take you to places and activities that can’t be found on TripAdvisors or Lonely Plannet.
Yummm! Save the best for the last!
If there is the only reason to keep people come back to Turtle Lake, I can bet that it’s all about the street food! It’s like a VND 100,000-open buffet with dozens of choice of snacks, I couldn’t ask for more. It’s true that with only VND 100,000, you can try at least 5-6 choices of food & drink here. Below are some highly recommended food from us when you visit Turtle Lake:
- Banh Trang Nuong a.k.a Vietnamese Pizza (Grilled Rice Paper with butter, egg, dried shrimp, cheese…).
- Banh Trang Tron (mixed of rice paper, herb, dried beef, mango)
- Stir fried corn
- Grill corn/sweet potato
- Steamed egg
- Grilled egg
- A lot of drink choices: Peach tea, Milk tea, coffee, soda…
Around Turtle lake there are also a lot of Fine restaurants & coffee houses, the price is of course higher than the street food but if you don’t like to have Saigon street food, there are still choices for you when visiting this place.
Turtle Lake is a symbonic place for Saigon that we highly recommend you to have sometime here, to know more about people and the local culture, or this could be a good place to take a rest after a long day of walks.
It’s take only 10 minute bus or taxi from Beso House to Turtle lake. If you’re looking for a place to stay in Saigon, you could check us out at: https://www.airbnb.com/users/151049622/listings If we have time, it will be more than happy for us to take you to this place and have some nice conversation.
See you soon at Beso House!