The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is one of the best places to visit in Hanoi. It’s a popular site for both local and International tourists who wanted to learn more about the life and times of Vietnam’s most popular president. Famously known as “Uncle Ho” to the locals, President Ho Chi Minh became a symbol of Vietnamese liberation. The mausoleum is a great place to visit to pay respect to the great leader. Here’ s your guide to visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
All About the Mausoleum
The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is where the preserved remains of President Ho Chi Minh are kept since 1975. It’s a massive structure made of granite that sits at the Ba Dinh Square of Hanoi, where the Declaration of Independence was read on September 2, 1945. Inside, you’ll find the glass casket that holds the body of the president and a flag of Vietnam’s Communist Party hangs over it. The president’s body is dimly lit and visitors are only given a limited time to catch a glimpse.
The construction of the mausoleum started a few years after the death of the President in 1969. It was officially finished and inaugurated on August of 1975. Inspired by the mausoleum of other communist leaders, the dour and angular facade of the granite structure resembles that of Lenin’s mausoleum in Moscow. On top of the portico, the Vietnamese words, “Chu tich Ho Chi Minh” are chiseled on the pediment, which means “President Ho Chi Minh”. The mausoleum is 135 feet in width and 70 feet high, which creates an impression of a massive bulk structure looming over the Ba Dinh Square.
Ba Dinh Square
The Ba Dinh Square where the mausoleum sits is also a popular attraction in Hanoi. Aside from visiting the mausoleum, most visitors would take time to explore the square, which has played an important role in the history of Vietnam. This is where President Ho declared the country’s independence and some of the country’s most significant events are often held here.
The square comprises of 240 grass patches divided by concrete pathways. Every morning, the changing of the guard’s ceremony is being performed right in front of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. The honor guards are tasked to keep watch of the mausoleum and would stand by the mausoleum’s door. If you want to witness the ceremony, you have to be at the square early in the morning.
Visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
To get into the mausoleum, you need to line up in a long queue along with the locals and other tourists. The queue can get very long because most locals who are visiting the capital would come here to pay their respects. To avoid a long queue, it is best to get there as early as possible.
Tourists will be asked to leave their cameras and bags before getting inside the mausoleum. If you will be joining a group tour, your guide will usually collect these things beforehand. These will be returned at the end of your tour. Silence is strictly observed in respect to the locals and the great leader. The guards will call your attention if you are making noises or wearing indecent clothing. Walk slowly and quietly and avoid pointing fingers because the locals consider this rude.
Inside, you’ll find the president’s body enclosed in a glass and being watched over by four honor guards, one guard in each corner. The former president’s body is amazingly preserved. He is dressed in a khaki suit and his hands and face are illuminated with lights. The rest of the room is a bit dark.
Ho Chi Minh Museum
Upon getting out of the mausoleum, you will find the Ho Chi Minh Museum. If you want to know more about the life of Vietnam’s most revered president, take time to explore the museum. It features the account of the former president’s life including his major influences in the country.
The entire museum features an elaborate description of the president’s life with a highlight to 8 chronological topics. It started from the time he was born, during his youth, until he became the president. The museum also features his hometown and those years when he traveled the world to learn how to save the nation from colonialism.
The Ho Chi Minh museum also showcases a collection of miniatures, artifacts, and different gifts received by the president locally and internationally. Descriptions are available in English and French. There are also local guides that you can hire for a minimal fee.
To get to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, simply take a taxi going to Ba Dinh Square. It’s also a walking distance away from the other famous attractions in Hanoi. The mausoleum is open from 7:30 AM to 10:30 AM. It’s free to enter the mausoleum but if you’re visiting the museum, there’s an entrance fee of 10,000 VND or around USD 0.50.