On September 2, 1969, Ho Chi Minh died from cardiac failure. He had stated in his will that he wanted to be cremated and to have his ashes buried in the hills of the north, centre and south of Vietnam. But the successor Communist government violated his wish and Ho Chi Minh was embalmed following the tradition upheld by other Communist leaders across the world.
I didn’t go inside the Mausoleum (from 1975), but only had a look at the impressive building from outside...
Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum is the largest memorial in Vietnam is located at the Da Dinh Square. This is where President Ho declared independent for the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on Sept 2, 1945. The body of Ho was cremated in this building. You are allowed to visit this with strict dress codes and behavior. You have to cover your legs with no short or miniskirts. This building and area is strictly enforced by staffs and guards.
Opening hours: 8am-11am everyday except Friday.
Ho Chi Minh is a huge cultural icon in Vietnam and every town seems to have a museum devoted to him (so much so that it appears everything the man touched, used or sat on is now behind glass). While in Vietnam you absolutely must see at least one Ho Chi Mihn Museum AND THE ONE IN HANOI IS THE ONE TO SEE. This museum is in a humongous building and is cleverly put together in a combination of hero worship and modern art.
While the outside of the building is quite imposing it will take you an hour at the most to make your way through the museum. If you visit the museum during the week you have a good chance of seeing entire grade school classes in their white shirts and blue-bottomed uniforms lining up in front of the museum for pictures and a tour.
While your at the Ho Chi Minh Museum make sure to explore the entire complex…including the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Ho Chi Minh Stilt house, The presidential Palace and the One Pillar and Dien Huu Pagodas.
Most of the visitors to this complex are Vietnamese making pilgrimage to show their deep admiration and respect to Ho Chi Mihn. Uncle Ho, as he is often called, is a communist leader who is revered at the liberator of the Vietnam from Colonialism (from the US, France and Britain)
At the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum has Uncle Ho preserved and laid out under glass for display in grand Communist Style resembling the Mausoleums to Chairman Moa, Lenin and Stalin. The corpse was in Russia for “maintenance” while we were there so we were unable to go inside. I heard its quite something to see so please don’t miss it.
Before leaving your hotel be sure to take a moment to review the long list of dress and behavioral requirements for entering the Ho Chi Mihn Mausoleum. Cameras and bags are not allowed in the Mausoleum and must be checked in at the reception. No Shorts, tank tops or hats. And you are not allowed to put your hands in your pockets.
Touring the entire complex will take a few hours at the most.
I arrived in Hanoi on the 30th September 06, unfortunately by the time i visited Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum he was no longer there! I, like so many others had discovered that the Mausoleum closes for two months (October & November). Apparently this is to allow Ho to undergo "maintenance".
When Ho Chi Minh died he requested that he be cremated and his ashes divided between the north, centre and south. It seems a little ironic looking upon this Mausoleum which is so grand and so at odds with his wish.
The building is certainly imposing and impressive. Although Ho wasn't there when i visited i thought it well worth the time to come and look at the Mausoleum.
Times; (April - Sept, Tues - Thurs 7-30am - 10-30am, Sat & Sun 7-30am - 11am; Dec - Mar, Tues - Thurs 8am - 11am, Sat & Sun 8am - 11-30am). There is no charge for entrance although be warned that anyone who wishes to enter must leave cameras and bags at one of the reception centres. You will receive them back upon exiting the Mausoleum. Also shorts or vests cannot be worn and you must remove hats and also be quiet once inside.
Update; i finally made it inside the Mausoleum (April 07)!! Well worth the queing up, even if you were only in the 'inner sanctum' for a few minutes. Ho is kept within a glass type "container" with an honour guard surrounding it. Quite dimly lit inside, so i suggest those whose eyesight isn't great to wear their glasses! An experience not to be missed.
The austere looking marble edifice that is Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum is one of the most revered monuments in Vietnam. Inside, Ho Chi Minh, founder of unified Vietnam, and the country's liberator from foreign colonialism - eat your heart out western imperialists - or rather his preserved body - is open for public viewing. Unfortunately, viewing times are rather short - 8 to 11 am - and so I missed the opportunity.
The monument attracts a mixed crowd of locals and tourists. For many locals, visiting Uncle Ho is marks the highlight of their visit to Hanoi and it's not uncommon to see locals dressed in their best clothes while visiting the mausoleum.
(The cover picture featuring a young girl dressed in her best pink dress was taken at the park just outside the mausoleum).
This part grass, part roadway square lies in front of Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum. The plaza is divided into 240 green squares separated by pathways. The square was the location where president Ho Chi Minh read the Proclamation of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on September 2, 1945. Be aware that the guards get a little humpy with people walking across the grass area.
In an imposing, sombre, granite-and-concrete structure modelled on Lenin's tomb, Uncle Ho lies in state, embalmed and dressed in his favoured khaki suit. He asked to be cremated and his ashes spread in three areas in North, Central and South Vietnam, but his wish was not heeded - a grave plot was, to his mind, a waste of land that might be productively used for agriculture. This was also the case with other great Communist leaders such as Lenin, Mao Zedong and North Korea’s Kim Il-Sung. I’ve now seen 2 out of the 4 even though I’ve been to all four cities where each one lies in state. However, Kim Il-Sung’s mausoleum was being renovated or something like that, so I was told by my guides when I visited North Korea, and the queue was too long in Moscow in order to visit Lenin. The gardens surrounding the mausoleum have nearly 250 different species of plants and flowers, all from different regions of Vietnam.
This sight is Vietnam's holiest of holies - perhaps this goes without saying, but a reverential and respectful attitude is obligatory. A respectful demeanour is required, and the dress code mandates no shorts or sleeveless shirts.
Open: 8am-11am Tues-Thur & Sat. Admission: Free.
I had big plans for visiting the mausoleum...I wanted to see the changing of the guard for one, and I also wanted to go inside and see Ho Chi Minh in the flesh (so to speak)...but me being me, I got there too late for the 'viewing'...it was shut, and I never did figure out when the guards change! I had to be content with looking from the outside. Even so, it was a revellation. I had no idea it was so huge..very imposing...and those guards, all in white and statue still!! Add to it all the soldiers patrolling the grounds making sure that no-one crosses any lines (literally), and you have one very grand experience!
Opening times are 7.30am-10.30am. Closed Monday and Friday. Also closed for maintenance in October and November.
At first I wasn't at all interested to go there, queuing for seeing one dead body..as it's closed when I came there (friday), it turned out to be an interesting places, where the huge mausoleum stands and the grass field in front of it. It's impressive alright to see the gigantic built structure and landscape that is a typical soviet architecture.
The final resting place of Uncle Ho is a must-see when visiting Hanoi. It is an extremely popular pilgrimage for Vietnamese as well, so arrive early.
Built between 1973 and 1975, the massive square structure is modelled closely on Lenin's mausoleum in Moscow.
In front of the Mausoleum, is Ba Dinh Square, where Ho read out the Vietnamese Declaration of Independance on 2 September 1945. Coincidentally, this was also the day that Ho died in 1969
Bags, cameras etc had to be checked in, then a 45 minute wait whilst we filed along in a very organised queue. Once inside the mausoleum, we were kept shuffling past Ho Chi Minh's body while being watched by many guards. No talking or smiling allowed, and keep moving. Placed inside a glass sarcophagus, he looked very serene and certainly very well preserved. His face & hands were lit-up with spotlights.
Apparently he takes a 3 month 'holiday' each year to Russia, where the embalming experts give him a tidy-up. Sadly, he had actually requested in his will that he be cremated.
In the same complex, are some houses where Ho Chi Hinh lived and worked between 1954 to 1969. We were saddened to see a beautiful peacock living in a tiny cage. Most cruel, he barely had room to turn.
Admission may be refused if you are wearing 'indecent' clothing such as shorts, singlets etc.
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