The Ho Chih Minh Mausoleum (Lang Chu Tich Ho Chi Minh) was built by the former Soviet Union as a gift to the Vietnamese. It was opened in August 1975 although Ho Chi Minh himself died in 1969. Opening hours (free admission) are as follows:
April to October: Tuesday to Thursday (7.30am to 10.30am), Saturday to Sunday (7.30am to 11am).
November to March: Tuesday to Thursday (8-11am), Saturday to Sunday (8-11.30am).
From the above, you will see that it opens during certain days of the week only and during mornings, so do take note. Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to go inside because I was there on a Friday. However, I managed to take some photos of the outside facade and explore the surrounding areas. What I know is that the main highlight inside is Ho Chi Minh's body in a glass casket. Usually, there are long queues and all belongings, cameras etc are not allowed. Dress code and strict behavour (e.g. no laughing and jokes) must be observed or the guards will warn you. Do take note to check beforehand whether Ho Chi Minh's body is inside the mausoleum, because sometimes it may be sent to Russia for re-embalming.
The Ho Chi Minh Museum (Bao Tang Ho Chi Minh) is lan impressive Soviet style building ocated just next to the famous One Pillar Pagoda and near to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. The opening hours are:
Tuesday to Thursday, and Saturday to Sunday: 8-11.30am, 2-4pm.
Unfortunately I was there on a Friday so it did not open. I was told that this museum was opened in 1990 (100th aniversary of Ho Chi Minh's birth) and it basically celebrates his life and pibotal role which he played in the history of Vietnam. The exibits include things like photos, documents, his personal belongings etc.
We were in Hanoi, so we HAD to pay a visit to Mr. Ho Chi Minh. His final resting place is the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, built from 1973 to 1975 in a style similar to that of the Lenin Mausoleum in Moscow, is located at Ba Dinh Square, where Ho Chi Minh publicly declared Vietnam's independence on September 2, 1945. Right after his death on September 3, 1969, Ho Chi Minh's body was embalmed by a team of Soviet experts. Visitors to the mausoleum are expected to behave devoutly.
When we arrived, we discovered that it was closed because Mr Minh was getting some touch-ups. Apparently, this happens every year around November.
The Ba Dinh Square is a big communist style open square located just in front of the famous Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Despite the modernisation and chaotic nature of Hanoi, standing at this square is a good reminder that you are still in a communist country. This place is of historical significance because at this very place, Ho Chi Minh read out the Declaration of Independence of Vietnam on 2nd September 1945. Nowadays, military parades and ceremonies attended by high ranking officials sometimes take place at this square.
For me, it is a must to visit Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum to see the man himself - in flesh, deceased but preserved. After all, Uncle Ho has inspired the Vietnamese to victory over the F French and the American mighty military forces.
Having seen Mao in Beijing, I expected the same routine of respectfully lining up and in a continuous moving line to see Uncle Ho for less than a minute.
What is worth it? If time permit, yes.
Admission is free and closed on Mondays and Fridays.
An imposing building for such a humble man, it is an experience to queue (no handbags, cameras allowed) to pass before the embalmed body of Uncle Ho and to observe the veneration and grief displayed by many Vietnamese for the founder of the modern nation. In the grounds are also to be found his simple home and a museum devoted to his life.
Everyone goes to this but who would blame you if you missed it?
You queue for a while, get glared at by various guards, cannot keep your camera, umbrella, have your bags searched rather brusquely and then you have about 5 minutes at the most to view Ho. Personally, I found the Military Museum a lot more rewarding in terms of revering Ho.
Afterwards you get to visit the garden etc in a much more pleasant and relaxed way.
Opening hours: Summer 7.30-11am 2-4pm
Winter 8.00-11am 1.30-4.00pm
Closed Weekend, Monday and Friday afternoon.
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).
The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is kind of a strange place if you ask me. If you read any book about Ho Chi Minh you will find that he was a simple man who wanted his death to be no big deal. That he believed in communism and wanted everyone to be treated the same. So its very ironic that a man who wanted to be cremated is placed in this large building on display for all to see. I must admit I never went into the building because I heard the line is horrendous and that before you walk into the place you have to leave all your belongings at the door. Sounds like a set up for theft to me. You can take the girl out of Detroit but not the Detroit out of the girl. I know a scam when I hear one. But what I did find very amazing is that you can watch changing of the Vietnamese military guard that protects this building which is a site to see in itself. Also behind the mausoleum you will find a beautiful garden which is nice to take a stroll in and sit on a bench and enjoy ice cream.
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.
We were told earlier by the guide that we were not able to view the embalmed body of Uncle Ho as it is closed for 3months each year while HCM's embalmed body is being sent to Russia for maintenance. We were rather disappointed. Nevertheless, we still opt to go over to get a glimpse of the the mausoleum - HCM's final resting place. Guards were stationed at the entrance and we were lucky in the sense that we witnessed the changing of guard outside the mausoleum.
Facts about HCM's Mausoleum
* built between 1973 and 1975 of native materials gathered from all over Vietnam
* HCM's embalmed body is in a glass sarcophagus set deep in the bowels of monumental edifice.
* Vietnamese treat this as a pilgrimage - they show deep respect and admiration for HCM, who is honoured for his role as the liberator for the Vietnamese people from colonialism.
It is 21 m high and in Vietnamese grey marble and granite. Like a lotus flower it was erected right at the historical place of Ba Dinh where President Ho Chi Minh declared the independence for Vietnam in 1945.
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.
The Mausoleum of President Ho Chi Minh is a must place to visit in Hanoi. The late uncle Ho is buried in this mausoleum and the whole area is broken down into a few parts in which you will need almost 1 - 2 hours to complete. Every single day, great crowds of tourist and locals alike, pay tribute to him.
The Mausoleum is open to the public in the morning on:
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday
1st April to 31st October - 7.30 am till 10.30 am
1st November to 31 March - 8.00 am till 11.00 am
Opening hours are extended by 30 minutes on national holidays, Saturdays and Sundays.
The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is adjacent to a large park that includes the HCM Museum, the Presidential Palace, the house in which Ba (Uncle) Ho lived the final 15 years of his life, and the famous One-Storey Pagoda.
Though I declined to visit the Lenin Mausoleum on my visits to Moscow, I gladly waited and trod in the line to see the mummified remains of little man who fought the French, the Japanese, the Chinese, and the Americans for his country's independence. Despite land reform excesses early in his rule of "North" Vietnam, Ho was a humanitarian compared with such Communist monsters as Pol Pot, Mao Tse-tung, Stalin, and -- yes -- Lenin. He lived simply, unlike Mao and Stalin, and -- also unlike them -- conducted no massive purges. (Lenin ordered the Tsar and his family murdered; Ho allowed Emperor Bao Dai to leave Vietnam for a sybaritic exile in the south of France.)
A short distance behind the mausoleum is the impressive HCM Museum, with interesting displays from Ba Ho's life as well as his and his countrymen's struggle for independence.
One of those displays is a small memorial pagoda (pictured below). The clock in the left foreground is stopped at the hour and minute of Ho's death in September 1969, nearly six years before his dream of an independent and united Vietnam was finally achieved. (Lonely Planet claims photographs are not permitted in the museum. That is not true.)