When you are in Hanoi, visit Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and Museum and the Presidential Palace to learn more about the revolutionary leader and father of modern Vietnam.
Who Was Ho Chi Minh?
Ho Chi Minh, or "Uncle Ho", as he is commonly called, is the father of modern Vietnam. The scholar, poet, writer, and revolutionary was instrumental in leading Vietnamese victory against the French in the First Indochinese War and later rose to become president of North Vietnam during the Second Indochinese War (Vietnam War). As a revolutionary and Communist leader, Uncle Ho is revered as the father of modern unified Vietnam.
After his death, his body was preserved and is currently displayed in the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, like Lenin in Red Square. Though he lived modestly and simply, after his death Uncle Ho was given the Soviet treatment with entombment in this massive and impressive granite mausoleum.
Visiting the Mausoleum
Proper dress is required when visiting the mausoleum, as if you were going to a temple. This means no sleeveless shirts and no shorts.
You should arrive early, as visiting hours are short, and the mausoleum is almost always crowded. Expect lines to be very long. It is advised to arrive by 7:00am to begin queuing.
Cameras are not allowed inside the mausoleum, and this includes mobile phones. You must leave all of your personal belongings with the guards outside, which you will collect upon exiting. Visitors move through the mausoleum at a reverent, but steady pace past the preserved body of the revolutionary hero.
Số 2 Hùng Vương, Điện Bàn, Ba Đình, Hanoi (it's massive, you can't miss it)
The Presidential Palace Complex
Just next to the mausoleum sits the Vietnamese Presidential Palace and the "Ho Chi Minh's Vestige in the Presidential Palace Area" Historical Site. The leafy grounds of the Presidential Palace are open to visitors, and contain a number of fascinating relics of Uncle Ho's life and work.
The yellow colonial-style Presidential Palace was once the residence of the French Governor-General of Indochina. Unused to lavish excess, when he became the leader of Vietnam, Uncle Ho opted not to live in the palace, but instead in a much smaller and simpler house that he had constructed nearby. Today, the palace is used for official government meetings.
Visitors are free to explore most of the grounds at their own pace. You can visit the small house where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked as president of Vietnam, and explore the beautiful and shady gardens where he liked to walk and meet guests.
Next to a large fish pond sits Uncle Ho's two-room wooden stilt house. The house displays Ho Chi Minh's simple and modest lifestyle.
1 Hoang Hoa Tham, Ba Dinh, Hanoi (Immediately adjacent to the mausoleum)
40,000d (about $2)
8-11am and 1:30-4pm
Ho Chi Minh Museum
Leaving through the exit of the Presidential Palace complex, you'll arrive at the Ho Chi Minh Museum. The museum has exhibits, photographs, and artifacts from Ho Chi Minh's life, but presented in a unique and artistic way.
The museum shows Ho Chi Minh's life through modern and symbolic exhibits. In one room, a large lotus flower is made out of artifacts recovered from wrecked American aircraft. In another, a large glass pyramid is enscribed with Uncle Ho's words in various langauges. It's difficult to describe, so you really should visit this museum and see for yourself!
19 Ngách 158/19 Ngọc Hà , Hanoi (next to the Presidential Palace)
40,000d (about $2)
Saturday 8AM–12PM, 2–4:30PM
Sunday 8AM–12PM, 2–4:30PM
Tuesday 8AM–12PM, 2–4:30PM
Wednesday 8AM–12PM, 2–4:30PM
Thursday 8AM–12PM, 2–4:30PM