One of the biggest tourist attractions within the city of Hanoi is the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Ho Chi Minh was the big man behind the independence and reunification of Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh is called ‘uncle’ or ‘uncle Ho’ by the Vietnamese people. Officially it is still not allowed to say anything bad or negative about Ho Chi Minh. There is no freedom of expression as known in western countries. Keep that in mind when you visit Vietnam.
The Mausoleum was built between 1973 and 1975, although the day that Ho Chi Minh died was Sept 2 1969 from heart failure, when the war was still in full swing going on. His age was 79. Personally he didn’t want something as a mausoleum. He had the wish to be cremated and that his ashes would be spread over land in Vietnam as fertilizer for agriculture. The materials used to built the mausoleum were donated from all over the country. Granite for the outside and wood for inside. Even the flowers and plants for the gardens were donated by the people as thanks and gratitude.
The mausoleum has a width of just over 41 meters and a height of just over 21 meters. The platforms with steps next to the mausoleum are used for audience to view parades on the square in front. There are strict rules to be followed when you want to visit inside the mausoleum to see the embalmed body of the former leader of Vietnam, therefore no skirts and shorts are allowed. Hands in your pockets is not allowed either. Don’t keep your arms crossed and of course, don’t eat, drink, smoke and keep silent. Taking pictures or videos is prohibited inside. Guards stand outside 24/7.
Ask your hotel if the mausoleum is open on the day that you want to visit, because some public holidays it’s closed. Some midweek day too and when they’re open, it’s only in the morning. The price to get in is 10.000 VND ($0,5), although there are days that it can be free. As the location is near the Museum and the Presidential Palace, it’s a good place to combine for visits.
The location is easy. Straight behind the mausoleum is the Ho Chi Minh museum. Take the road on the side of the mausoleum and you walk straight to the entrance of the museum, which cost you a half dollar entry. On Mondays they are closed and the rest of the week they’re open between 8:00 – 11.30 and 14:00 – 16:30. The museum has some artistic style inside. The museum is completely dedicated to the life and everything connected with Ho Chi Minh. A world map with places where he had studied and/or visited. His old clothes are displayed. A replica of his old family ‘house’ is on show.
All kinds of pictures are displayed and even the agreement signed by America and Vietnam for peace. All kinds of artifacts, gifts and miniatures can be seen and of course, a big statue of him. At the end, when you finished all of the museum, there is a souvenir shop and place to buy some food. An interesting thing to see there are people making the so called Ho Chi Minh sandals from car tires. Rubber is used for making sandals.
All in all you will have an educational and interesting day by visiting both mausoleum and museum!