A guide to what to see and do at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Story of Vietnamese Great Father, the Independence of Vietnam, French architecture blend with traditional Vietnamese architecture, spectacular views with lotus-shaped pagoda and gardens.
Located in the center and also one of the most beautiful areas of the capital, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a cannot-be-missed place for tourists visiting this city. The area around the mausoleum is known to be the most quiet and guarded area in the city since it consists of many governmental buildings and workplaces.
In the past, or even nowadays, Vietnam has been famously known for the Vietnam War. During the struggles of war and for the country independence, the one who plays the most important role was Ho Chi Minh. This is the person who sacrificed, fought for the country and declared the independence of Vietnam to the world. Vietnamese people call him as the Great Father of the country to show the love and respect.
Touring around Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum will be perfectly suitable for secret-seekers and history-explorers out there. Because tons of secrets are waiting for you to discover:
If you’re curious enough, there’s no time to hesitate anymore. Come here and discover by yourself or if you want a tour guide to help you out: check out Hanoi City Tour by AZ Local Trip.
These are some of the highlights of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex you cannot miss are:
Overall, there are 6 main constructions in the site:
However, for a clearer imagination and make it easier to plan your trip, I’d like to break it down to only 2 main parts: the outer part and the inner part. The outer part is also the front area which consists of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Ba Dinh Square. You can visit this area without paying any fees.
The inner space lies behind the Mausoleum and to our surprise, this area is much bigger than the outer space. Like stepping into a magical world, this area is more like a complex with everything: gardens, lakes, workplaces, buildings and stilt house and even a pagoda. However, to visit this place, you will have to pay an entrance fee of 25.000VND/person.
Address: Hung Vuong Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
How to get there: The easiest way for you is to catch a traditional taxi or Grab. Or you can choose to go with Hanoi City Tour. The tour guide will tell you the stories and the secrets that only the locals know about. By this way, you can get explore this area to the fullest and not missing anything interesting.
If you choose to go by yourself, follow Trang Thi road to the junction, then turn to Dien Bien Phu street. Go along Dien Bien Phu street is Ba Dinh square. To find the parking lot, turn left to Le Hong Phong street (crossing Dien Bien Phu – Hoang Dieu 20m), go straight Le Hong Phong to Ngoc Ha street, you will see the entrance to Uncle Ho’s mausoleum here.
If you don’t plan to go inside the mausoleum to visit Ho Chi Minh embalmed body, a tour around the complex can take 1 to 1.5 hours.
If you want to go inside the mausoleum, you have to queue at least 30 minutes and more if crowded. So the tour can take about 2.5 to 3 hours.
One interesting fact is that the construction of this mausoleum was against Ho Chi Minh’s wish before he passed away. The founder of Vietnam Communist Party specified that his body be cremated, with his ashes scattered over the north, center, and south of his country. By this way, he can be present everywhere of his beloved country.
However, The Vietnamese Government did the absolute opposite of his wish.
Instead, they embalmed his body and installed it in an imposing concrete-and-granite block that stands before a vast square with dim lights. The purpose behind this action is that people can come to the place, pay a visit and contribute to him so that the Great Father will live forever in the heart of Vietnamese people.
The door of the mausoleum is guarded by armed honor guards. To enter the Mausoleum, you'll have to join a snaking queue. The queues to visit the inner sanctum can get quite long, and the wait can be interminable - visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a highlight for both locals and tourists.
In my opinion, you shall not miss the chance to go inside the mausoleum to observe the embalmed body. However, you must obey the rules and keep walking as told since this is a privately guarded place and they require you to pay respect.
Ho Chi Minh mausoleum opening hours:
Ho Chi Minh dress code:
Ba Dinh Square is the first thing you will see once you arrive to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. It’s the huge square right in front of the mausoleum. In fact, you have to cross Ba Dinh Square to reach Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Around Ba Dinh Square, there’re the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, and the National Assembly Building.
For an interesting fact, this is the largest square in Vietnam and was originally developed by French colony and known as Round Point Pugininer. Later on, Ba Dinh Square became a historical witness of some milestones in the history of Vietnam.
In September the 2nd, 1945, President Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence right in Ba Dinh Square, in front of thousands of Vietnamese people, including workers, youth, educators and soldiers. This can be considered as the most important milestone in the history of Vietnam.
Still in Ba Dinh Square, 24 years later, in here happened the funeral of Ho Chi Minh. It was the same crowd who mourned and cried in the rain to send off their revere leader. It was then decided that Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum will be built on the square so that the national hero can be forever remembered.
3. The Presidential Palace - the luxury and expensive headquarter of Indochina Governor
The Presidential Palace was Indochina Governor Palace - the headquarter of Indochina at the time when it was completed. This palace has an symbolic architectural design of the French during Indochina period. Almost every buildings that the French colonists built in Hanoi have the same noticeable architecture with yellow color and green domes. The Presidential Palace is the same.
The Presidential Palace was the most fussy and expensive construction at that time. Rock, tile and brick were tailor-made at some factories in Vietnam while fir, window bar, glass… were imported from French and other European countries.
The yellow palace stands behind wrought iron gates flanked by sentry boxes. It incorporates elements of Italian Renaissance design, including:
There’s also an interesting story behind this palace. When Vietnam achieved independence in 1954, Ho Chi Minh’s subordinates advised him to move into the palace to live and work for comfortability and suitability of his position as a president of a country.
Ho Chi Minh turned down the offer with a very plain and unexpected reason, just like his humble personality: He doesn’t like the “smell” of colonists in the palace!
Instead, he lived and worked in a small place with only 2 rooms, 1 was his workroom and 1 was his bedroom.
Long after that, due to the condition of the place and the health of president Ho Chi Minh, they built a stilt house for him to live in. It’s the Ho Chi Minh Stilt House that will be mentioned right below.
Ho Chi Minh Stilt House was where he spent the rest of his life working and living until his death in 1969. Stilt house is a kind of traditional house in the North of Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh wanted the house just like the traditional ones and not with any modern equipments, even a modern toilet.
The stilt house was constructed in a corner of the Presidential Palace's gardens, in front of a small pond. It's a small 2 storey house built of wood with simple design with a couple of rooms for working and resting. The visit to the house simply allows us to see the grounds and rooms, without allowing entry them.
Not just the house itself, the surrounding area is also very beautiful with a garden and a fish pond right in front of the house. Thanks to the greenery, the whole area is cool all year round even in hot summer and has this quiet and peaceful feeling - something that can be hardly found in the middle of chaos city like Hanoi.
Ho Chi Minh Museum is where they display everything related to President Ho Chi Minh. The museum opened on 2nd September, 1990, to celebrate the 100th birthday occasion of Ho Chi Minh.
The museum was built in the shape of a white lotus flower. It has a priceless collection of military orders, mementos, photos of the Communist Party’s earlier achievements, the great August and October revolutions, exhibits related to Ho Chi Minh’s political activities, etc.
Entrance fee: 40.000VND
The final place of the whole Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex is One Pillar Pagoda. One Pillar Pagoda is the most unique pagodas in Asia. What makes this pagoda more special than many others is its unique architectural structure with a square structure lying on a stone pillar. This makes the pagoda looks like a lotus flower raising straight up from the lake, which is also a national flower of Vietnam.
Moreover, this pagoda has been here for nearly a century and considered one of the oldest pagodas in Hanoi.