This is one of the more interesting museum in Hanoi. Inside this museum you will see the cells that are used to accomodate vietnamese during their fight for freedom against the french and the japanese. American POW are also kept here during world war two. However the entrance of this museum is a bit hard to find but its worth the trouble.
This prision is one of hanoi's more interesting museums and it takes you on a walk around tour (following a map, although a guide can be arranged for a few extra Dong.
Inside you can see what it was like for the american POW during the vietnamese/american war. There are also bits and bobs you can view from torture instruments used on both the vietnamese under french rule, and against the americans during the war. (Including a french guillotine- which is worth visiting just to see the magnificence of it)
Its open most days except monday, from 8am til 11am, then 1pm till 4 pm
Entry is 10,000 Dong.
(ignore the motorcycle touts trying to take you, as its a quick walk there and back and this can save you some dollars or dong)
Originally built by the French in 1896, this structute was used to imprison Vietnamese dissidents. Even though the place was designed for 450 inmates there were as many as 2,000 prisoners inside by the 1930s
During the American war Hoa Lo Prison became known as the "Hanoi Hilton" by the 300 some odd pilots that were there at any one time. This prison was famous for its gruesome conditions and legendary abuses against the POWs much as the French had done to the Vietnamese.
US Senator John McCain was probably the most famous American prisoner held here. He spent two years of confinement in leg irons at Hoa Lo.
Today there is only 1/3 of the prison remaining as a museum. The Hanoi Towers now stand where the majority of the rest of the prison was. The prison is divided into two sections. To the right of the entrance the treatment of the Vietnamese by the French is explored. They beat and abused the Vietnamese prisoners and even used the guillotine to behead Vietnamese revolutionaries
To the left of the entrance there are displays about the American POWs who were held here. The displays tell of how well the prisoners were treated. Of course no country would ever lie about the way that they treat prisoners (heavy sarcasm).
Hoa Lo Prison was known as the "Hanoi Hilton" during the Vietnam War, but it wasn't due to their great hospitality. This prison was famous for its gruesome conditions and legendary abuses against the POWs. Unfortunately, about 2/3 of the prison was demolished to make way for the Hanoi Towers Hotel (thankfully, not a Hilton!), but the area of the museum that was preserved is very interesting.
The prison was originally built by the French Colonists as a fortress, then it became a prison for Vietnamese dissidents. During the Vietnam War, up to 300 American pilots were held here at any one time. For five years, US Senator John McCain was held at Hoa Lo experiencing frequent torture and two years of solitary confinement in leg irons.
When you walk through the prison it is interesting to note that it is divided into two sections. To the right of the entrance, the museum focuses on the history while the French were in power. They beat and abused the Vietnamese prisoners remorselessly. To the left of the entrance there are displays covering the era when the American POWs were held here. The displays all talk about how great the prisoners were treated (but we know the real history!).
An interesting place. It is best if you go with a guide in oder to enjoy it to the full.wow, the Vietnamese were cruel captors back then. These are photos of the art decoration on the walls.