Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi

One of the top things to do in Hanoi is going to a mausoleum to see to an embalmed corpse. I know that sounds weird and creepy, but this is no regular corpse. The body belongs to President Ho Chi Minh, the most popular leader of Vietnam who was also the Chairman of the Communist Party of Vietnam until his death in 1969. He is considered as a hero by the Vietnamese people because he fought for the independence of the country.

Everyday, visitors flock this marble mausoleum to pay their respects to Ho Chi Minh — or Uncle Ho, as people would call him, because when he was still alive, he was known to be humble and approachable, just like an awesome uncle! His remains lie in a glass case and is preserved in an air-conditioned area of the mausoleum, heavily guarded by security. It’s all very grand and formal, which is the total opposite of how Uncle Ho would have wanted things to be. The guy just wanted to be cremated and have his ashes scattered across Vietnam, but he was so well-loved by the Vietnamese that they decided that a stately memorial where people can still pay tribute to him long after his death was more fitting for him, similar to Lenin’s Mausoleum on Red Square in Moscow.

“The Socialist Republic of Vietnam forever!” (according to our tour guide)

Every year, during October to around the latter part of November, the body of Uncle Ho (can I call him Uncle Ho?) is sent to Russia for maintenance. Since we went to Hanoi on the last week November, we weren’t able to see him and go inside the mausoleum. I was aware of this, but we decided to check it out anyway.

By the way, there is a dress code. No revealing outfits like tank tops or short shorts allowed. Mike was wearing shorts, and I don’t know how he got away with that! He was lucky!

Our unplanned color coordination

The monument is protected and guarded by sentries in white, standing as straight as a ruler and not moving! Well, maybe they did move a little, but we didn’t see it. They do have the changing of the guards, which, I heard, is much like the one at Buckingham Palace, although I don’t know when and what time you can witness that.

We went to the mausoleum with Huyen and Phuong from Hanoi eBuddies, our student tour guides for the day, and they shared a bit of Vietnam history with us. You don’t really need to have a tour guide with you when you visit this place, but since a tour with Hanoi eBuddies is FREE, we thought it would be nice to have them around so they can tell us things we didn’t know — things that locals would be able to explain better!

With Huyen and Phuong from Hanoi eBuddies

I heard that the lines to see Uncle Ho are always really long, and people stand in line for hours. I wouldn’t know because we didn’t really line up, but when we visited, there was really not much people, probably because Uncle Ho wasn’t there. Because it wasn’t too crowded, it was nice to just walk around the area.

“The Great President Ho Chi Minh will live forever in our work.”

Just beside the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is the One Pillar Pagoda, a historic temple in Hanoi. Huyen told me “it’s where women want to go when they want to pray for a baby,” so I said, “Is that sooo? Let’s go then!” Unfortunately, when we got there at around 12:15 in the afternoon, the pagoda was closed! Bummer. No “made in Vietnam” babies then.

We did stop by the Presidential Palace to take photos of it. It’s yellow! What a fun color for a palace! Actually, a lot of buildings in Hanoi are yellow with green gates or doors, reflecting French colonial architecture. The color yellow signified royalty in Vietnam.

The Presidential Palace
Yellow, the color of royalty

Since there really wasn’t much to do or see here, we only spent about 20 minutes checking out the mausoleum. Hopefully, next time we go, we can finally see Uncle Ho!

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Address: 8 Hung Vuong, Dien Bien, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Thursday at 07:30 – 10:30 / Saturday & Sunday at 07:30 – 10:00. Yearly maintenance sometime around October to November.
Admission Fee: Free!
How to get there: Take a taxi and asked to be dropped off at the visitors’ gate
Dress code: No revealing clothes — tank tops, shorts, etc. If you are not dressed appropriately, there is a place nearby where you can rent clothes.
Photography: Strictly no photography inside the mausoleum!

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

More stories from our Hanoi trip on: #PuffAndFluffHANOImoon

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Comments

  1. Katherine says:

    We visited the mausoleum last month and agreed, it’s a pretty weird thing to do! However, the building/changing of the guard/inside of the mausoleum were really impressive to see – hopefully you guys can see the inside of it next time 🙂

    1. Nadine Smith says:

      Did you see Uncle Ho’s corpse? Oh, I would love to see the changing of the guards! Too bad we missed it.

  2. I take it the mausoleum is more like a destination where you walk around a bit, take some photos, walk a little more, and then go on to the next destinations?

    You know what I was thinking while looking at the photos?

    Buti pa doon. NO PHOTOBOMB!

    Unlike our national hero at Luneta. We can no longer take a photo of Rizal’s monument without seeing the ugly building behind.

    1. Nadine Smith says:

      Well, that’s all we did… just walk around and take photos. But that’s because we didn’t actually go INSIDE since Uncle Ho wasn’t there anyway.

      Haha! Wala ata kasi masyadong jeje doon sa Hanoi.

  3. Just aw a recent documentary this city. I am very very interested to visit this place. Being into photography, I can do a lot in this place especially the street scenes. The sights and sound of this place is such fascinating. I guess its time to save up for another asian adventure.
    Herbert Kikoy recently posted…Light Stalking at Camotes Island with Zenfone ZoomMy Profile

    1. Nadine Smith says:

      Oh, if you are into photography, you will love Hanoi. Every corner is interesting and so worth taking photos of. You will never run out of things to be amazed at, especially at the Old Quarter. 🙂 Go to Hanoi!

  4. Yep, I would go! I find these type of sites fascinating. Hence, I would love to see Lenin in Russia! Do you feel it would be appropriate to take primary school aged children?

  5. This is very timely as we have a trip to Hanoi this March. I will add this on our itinerary. I didn’t know that Ho Chi Minh is a respected leader in Vietnam. All I know is that it’s the capital of Vietnam. Well, Vietnam went through a rough healing from the Vietnam war so I assume this is their way to pay respect to their leader. And thanks for the tips too! I would know now what to wear when going there. 🙂
    Maaya Legaspi recently posted…Batangas: Dreamland Arts & Crafts CafeMy Profile

  6. Marge says:

    Kinda like former President Marcos then when he was still in a museum in Ilocos. So the body is sent to another country for maintenance? That’s a lot of work. But the fact that the Vietnamese go throgh so much trouble only means how important Ho Chi Minh is to his country. I haven’t been to Hanoi, but I did go to Ho Chi Minh 2 years ago. Maybe when I visit Hanoi I’d check this out.

  7. Jean says:

    Wow. I didn’t know that Uncle Ho was sent to Russia for a little bit of a touch up each year. Looks like an interesting place to visit in Hanoi. Love the idea of getting a tour from local students.

  8. When I was in Russia, everyone talked about Lenin’s body in the mausoleum, and I did not even go to Moscow. So it makes sense that Uncle Ho’s body is sent there to be maintained. I would definitely like to go to Hanoi and see this. As an American, I would like to visit Vietnam because it is such an important and sad part of our history.
    Stella the Travelerette recently posted…A Perfect Travel Itinerary for Teotihuacan, MexicoMy Profile

  9. Too bad that you didn’t get to see the body. It’s a wonder that they can keep it preserved enough to present for viewing. We love services like ebuddies too. It’s such a great way to experience a new city with a local.
    The Travel Ninjas recently posted…A Landmark of History and Luxury – Our Review of Hotel Continental SaigonMy Profile

  10. The Mausoleum looks serene and solemn. An apt resting place for a loved leader of the country. It is indeed a different sort of experience to visit such sites. I always find the experience solemn. Thanks for the tip about the dress code, helps to be prepared as not everyone maybe as lucky as Mike 🙂

  11. Jackie says:

    I would’ve never known about this attraction if it weren’t for your post! I’m planning to visit Ho Chi Minh at the end of the year and now I want to add the Mausoleum to my itinerary 🙂 I love that you went despite the custom and it being closed (and such a unique custom to learn about!).

  12. Vietnam is one of my top picks to visit in asia lucky you because you went there already, I have lots of vietnamese friends who’s raised in California and tell me lots of historical stories about their country. Thanks for the tips you’ve shared and will definitely be helpful to me when I go there. I love to see your happy faces in the photo’s, I envy you a lot teeheehee <3

  13. Gemma says:

    This is really cool, I actually had no idea it was in Hanoi! It’s always great to learn a bit more about the history of where you are visiting.

  14. KT Nielsen says:

    I’ve never been to Hanoi. I always love reading about places I have not been to yet so thank you for sharing photos from your Hanoi trip. It looked a little gloomy when you were there. Did it rain? One takeaway I have just by looking at your photos is that Hanoi is relatively clean, uncluttered, organized. I would love to visit it one day.
    KT Nielsen recently posted…BOOKING OUR HOTEL STAYCATION USING THE TRAVELOKA APPMy Profile

  15. Indrani says:

    Adding this place to my must visit list. I have read of this great man Ho Chi Minh… seeing the memorial for the first time. The pagoda too looks interesting. Bright yellow… very attractive.

  16. Even I try to avoid the touristy spots when I travel, I cannot deny that I want to visit this site. It’s one of the icons of Vietnam. The Presidential Palace is high up on my list too! Both are great architectural wonders that I’d love to be able to capture photos of!
    Global Girl Travels recently posted…Airstream Tour Live on Facebook & InstagramMy Profile

  17. I’ve been to Ho Chi Minh but I still haven’t been to the mausoleum: It’s interesting to know about the president and to see a glance of him. I can’t believe it’s his actual remain as it can be super costly and the admission fee is free. It would have been better if they used a wax figure instead. I think your husband was let in because he looks presentable 🙂

  18. Cykaniki says:

    It’s great that they really preserved because they admire Uncle Ho, it’s really fitting for him to be honored like that, I was just wondering the task of the guards, it seeks a very hard job, standing like a statue, the place was so spacious and the most intriguing part is the color choices of mansions, so me, yellow my favorite color

  19. Allison says:

    I had no idea Uncle Ho was so revered! I will be in Hanoi for the first time in May and I can’t wait. I’ll be sure to check out the Mausoleum lucky in May he should be there 🙂
    Allison recently posted…Emirates A380 Business Class Review: EK418 SYD-AKLMy Profile

  20. This is a great place, Nadine! Definitely worth the visit!

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