The city of Hanoi appears to be surrounded by a constant mist due to the humidity and fumes of millions of motorcycles. One place to truly appreciate the mist is at the "Lake of the Restored Sword," a pleasant place in the center of the city whose island contains the Temple of the Jade Mountain, one of the most photographed temples in Vietnam and home to a legend that’s like an Asian version of the King Arthur story.
The legend states that a fisherman named Le Loi dragged from the lake a magical sword which turned him into a brave warrior. His courage led him to be proclaimed king (King Lê Thái Tổ) and lead his people to victory in a 10-year war. One day, he was walking through the garden and saw a giant turtle emerging from the water and coming towards the royal boat. Feeling threatened, the King threw his sword into the water and the turtle grabbed it in its mouth and carried it back to the depths. The king felt the gods must have been angry and had sent the turtle to reclaim the sword. Since then, the turtles in the lake have been things of reverence and they roam free in the temple on the island.