20 January 2016 – Update
Beloved legendary Hoan Kiem Turtle is found dead – this is a huge loss to Hanoi since it is their living legend and to see this huge creature is considered lucky plus for the world since it was a very rare species called Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle with only 4 of its kind left in the world. Said to be Yangtze giant softshell turtle
Before 20 January 2016
Hoan Kiem Lake is also known for huge turtles (Ho Guom species), if you are very lucky you might get to see one emerge, this is a sign of good luck. It is a huge lake, so how you know they are there, is when hundreds of people are in a mob at the water’s edge desperately trying to get that lucky glimpse.
One was seen was in on the 8th of December 2007. It is thought that one or more of these huge turtles call Hoan Kiem Lake their home, smaller turtles are often seen since people have released them to bring them good fortune.
In 2011 – one of the turtles from Hoan Kiem needed medical attention, this massive reptile was finally netted with the help of the Vietnamese Military after a few fruitless other attempts. In a stroke of good luck the turtle went to bask in the sun, at that time an enclosure was built on Turtle Tower to give treatment and study this giant turtle who turned out to be a girl.
There are conflicting reports if other large turtles also live in the lake.
To see one of these up close and in person, is to see a stuffed one. One is housed in a side room at Ngoc Son Temple (Temple of the Jade Mountain). Inside a glass cabinet is a 2.1 meters long and 1.2 meters long wide. Weighing in at 200kg, it was found in 1967 and said to be 500 years old. Now, doesn’t this give our Lake of the Restored Sword Legend some credibility?