Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum {Travel Tuesday}

Happy Tuesday Y'all! 

Today I wanted to share a unique experience we had while visiting Hanoi- 
the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. 



Ho Chi Minh was the Chairman of the Communist Party of Vietnam from 1951 till his death in 1969. Chairman Minh is considered a national hero of Vietnam and to this day is greatly revered. {He is on all the currency.} He is loved for both the role of liberating Vietnam from colonialism, and for his Communist ideals. When he died he wanted to be cremated and have his ashes spread across the country however, the country had a different idea.

They decided to embalm him and build a mausoleum for people to visit him long after his death. This idea was inspired by Lenin's Mausoleum in Moscow. His body is embalmed and preserved in the nice air conditioned main hall of the mausoleum. There is a 24 hour military honor guard all dressed in white. And the body is in a glass class with lights under his hands and face. (Just picture Snow White's casket and you get the idea.) 

The mausoleum is supposed to representative of a lotus flower, but it kinda just looks like a cement square with pillars. It was actually voted the #6 ugliest building in the world by CNN in 2012. 


This might seem like a weird thing to go and see, but I really couldn't imagine passing up an opportunity like this. Embalming and putting people on display is such a foreign concept to us that I just needed to see it. This wasn't really on Matt's to-do list, but it was a high priority for me (just call me morbid).  And it really lived up to my expectations. 

Most of the people you will see are Vietnamese people traveling to pay their respects. People travel from all over the country to be able to see this mausoleum and to see Ho Chi Minh. It was interesting to see their reactions when we got into the viewing hall. 

{This is how it looks- if you were curious. Image via

Helpful Hints and Our Experience: 

Hours: 8:00-11:00 am Tuesday-Thursday
Saturday-Sunday close at 10:15
*It is only open a few hours every day, so make sure to get there early to make sure you get through. 

LocationHung Vuong, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi, Vietnam
  1. *Taxis know where to go. Unless you got the one we got. Ours dropped us off by the palace, which is at the front of the mausoleum. Unfortunately, we wanted the visitor's gate and had to walk all the way around, and trust me, you don't want to make that walk. So- if you see a yellow building don't get out of the taxi- wait until you see the visitor's gate. 

Cost: Free 
*However, there is a Ho Chi Minh garden/ house tour that is a couple of bucks if you want to see that. 

No photography is allowed in the mausoleum

Dress Code: No tank tops, shorts, or anything above the knee allowed. 

*You may see locals pushing the dress code line, but if you are a foreigner- you will need to be wearing pants or a long skirt and a top with sleeves.

 Matt actually didn't bring any pants with him on vacation and they wouldn't let him in. I thought he would at least be able to walk in line with me and then not go into the mausoleum, but he couldn't even do that. I didn't want to walk by myself in line because I didn't know how long it would be. We started to leave- but then I saw a place to rent pants and we were back in business. Poor Matt! I made him rent the pants and come check out Ho Chi Minh with me. The rental was only like $4. Totally worth it! 

{Check out those pants} 

Bag Check and the Line: No food or drinks are allowed and this is enforced at the start of the line. There is also no photography allowed once inside the mausoleum. So there is a bag check at the very start if you want to use that. You can check your food and drinks as well if you want. The bag check is free. 

But your bags and camera are allowed in the line. I would recommend holding onto your bags since they let you walk into the mausoleum with them. If you have a camera- they will take that closer to the mausoleum. You get this red bag to put your camera in, and then they give you a numbered keychain that matches the number on the bag. So when you are out of the mausoleum you just go grab your camera. It's super easy. 

The line snakes around the whole mausoleum complex and moves really fast. It ends at the front of the mausoleum, and then you walk in and check out Ho Chi Minh. 

Maintenance: Twice a year the body is sent to Russia for maintenance, so check and make sure he is actually there before making the visit. 

Shopping and Eats: After visiting the mausoleum, there are a lot of shops and little snack places for you to grab something. 


After the mausoleum there is a garden area and the living quarters tour available if you want to pay a small fee. 

 {Palace} 


There is also a museum if you want to check that out. 


After going inside the mausoleum, you can go out to the front and take pictures. Just make sure you don't try to stand anywhere other than the sidewalk. The inside square is off limits- and you will get yelled at. 

We actually saw this group being escorted into the mausoleum. As far as we could tell, they were a veterans group paying their respects. It was pretty cool to see the guards escort them. We got to see a little of their ceremony. *If you can catch a changing of a guard ceremony- do it. I heard it was cool to watch. 


If you are staying in the Hanoi area- you really shouldn't pass this up. The lines do tend to be long, but they move really fast. The line was backed up to the bag check by the time we got the visitor's gate and we only waited like 10 minutes- and we were moving the whole time. So don't let the long lines stop you. Plus, they've added a covered walkway the whole way through the line, so it's nice and shaded. There are also ways to get advanced tickets and get VIP treatment straight to the doors, but I don't know how to do that. 

This was such a unique experience, and I'm glad we did make this stop. 

Question: Would you ever visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum? 


{linking up with Bonnie

7 comments:

  1. So cool! This is on my list for when we go to Vietnam.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad to hear! It was a pretty unique experience.

      Delete
  2. Yes, I have been before!! It's quite bizarre, but I am glad I went. I learnt a lot about Ho Chi Minh while I was in Veitnam - what a dude.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad to hear you went there too. We met a few Americans on the plane ride back and they looked at us like we were crazy to have gone.

      Delete
  3. Wow that is very cool! I mean the palace is beautiful but yes I can understand that the mausoleum is very austere! But I can understand the significance it has for the people of Vietnam! And I have to say I also would have made my boyfriend rent pants haha :)
    (p.s. I have to say, and this is a whisper, that it's a bit creepy that he is just exposed there all this time...)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Camila! I'm glad we're on the same page with the pants thing. I was so close to just giving up and going back to the hotel to swim. :) It was a bit creepy... but not enough for me to have not gone.

      Delete
  4. That sounds so interesting, I would totally want to visit
    I waited in a long line at The Vatican to see Pope John Paul II's body. I was incredibly curious and it was worth it!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to comment- I appreciate and read each and every one of them. All replies will be in the comment section, please check back to read them!

- Alex