Outrage in Hanoi as foreign tourists caught sunbathing in swimwear by iconic lake

By Xuan Trang   April 3, 2017 | 02:42 am PT
Social media users say the act by legendary Hoan Kiem Lake is offensive.

A new video of two female foreign tourists sunbathing by the Hoan Kiem (Returned Sword) Lake in downtown Hanoi has sparked outrage on social media, with many locals condemning the act as offensive.

In the video, two twentysomething women lie flat on the grass in their bikinis, right next to the famous lake. They only put on some extra clothes when a police officer walks by.

“I have no idea what they were thinking,” a comment on social media reads. Many others describe the act as offensive.

VnExpress International cannot immediately verify when the video was filmed and if the tourists have faced any punitive measures. Their nationalities have remained unknown.

Vietnam in 2013 abolished cash fines to punish those wearing indecent clothes in public. The country still strictly monitors what performers wear on stage.

Hoan Kiem Lake is a popular tourist attraction, but for many locals it's also a sacred place tied to centuries-old legends, including the well-known story of the Turtle God. The Ngoc Son (Jade Mountain) Temple is on the lake.

Hanoi earlier this year announced plans to implement a strict dress code, warning that it will publicly name any locals or visitors wearing skimpy clothes in public.

The rule is aimed to turn the capital city into a “civil and polite” destination, but experts warned that it would be difficult, if not illegal, to impose restrictions on how people dress, which they described as a very personal choice.

Last month, Vietnam's tourism ministry officially released a code of conduct for tourism. Among the rules of manners for tourists are recommendations for appropriate dressing and responsible drinking.

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