Kayaking on Hanoi’s West Lake

Nga Do
Kayaking on the vast expanse of West Lake, listening to the sounds of water and feeling the cool wind can help drive away the heat of summer. 

Many tourism areas have kayaking service to tourists. In the language of Eskimo people, kayak is transcribed from word “Quajao”  invented by hunters. This kind of canoe is typically designed with long, slender body, made of light wood covered with watertight seal skin or animal skins and controlled by human force. The length of kayak depends on body of each person. Usually, the length of the boat will triple the length of an outstretched arm while the width in the main cockpit is the width of the hip plus two fists.

According to the original design, it has a deck and one or more cockpits; each seat has a paddle. To prevent water from coming inside, the cockpit will be covered with a lid against waves and water jets. But under gradual development, kayak has changed; for example the material is not only made of wood, but also molded of rubber, composite plastic or fill with air. The seat on cockpit varies from one up to several on the same boat.

Everyone who wants to take part in this activity must be trained and practice beforehand. The training includes how to steer the boat. The most difficult step for newbies is to learn how to control the boat on water surface. Due to the long body of kayak, it can be difficult to control it in areas with unpredictable currents or continuous turns. However, the West Lake does not have much big waves; it is easier for new participants. It is reason why training steps are much shortened.

Normally, West Lake starts busy on early morning and after rush hours. For those who like airy and fresh atmosphere, they can also start at dawn and for those who want to enjoy sunset over the lake; the time of the sun beginning to fall below the horizon is the ideal choice. At this time, the lake surface is not too hot and creates comfortable feelings for each participant.

When putting the kayak on water, beginners feel awkward because they cannot steer the boat in the direction they want, but when they become familiar with paddles, controlling the boat becomes easier. Then they only need to slowly steer it and explore West Lake’s surface.

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