Book now  

Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum

Our rating:

In that great communist tradition, the liberator of Vietnam Ho Chi Minh remains lying in state so his admirers can pay their respects, even nearly five decades after his death.

Sponsored placement.

The mausoleum is set in sprawling Ba Dinh Square, where Ho Chi Minh read out the Declaration of Independence in 1945. This is easily Hanoi’s most popular attraction, at least when it comes to something you need to queue for. We showed up just after gates opened to find a line already snaking for hundreds of metres outside the entrance gate. Entrance is free, and your bags will need to be X-rayed, but you can keep them with you. We waited for around 40 minutes to eventually enter the small room where his embalmed body rests under subdued lights. Visitors circumnavigate the glass sarcophagus holding Bac Ho, in literally guarded silence, for about 60 seconds.

The Soviet-style edifice at an angle. Photo taken in or around Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, Hanoi, Vietnam by Samantha Brown.

The Soviet-style edifice at an angle. Photo: Samantha Brown

Considering how long he’s been lying here, Vietnam’s founding father is looking pretty good—a bit like he’s just taking a nap. Teams of experts from Russia still visit regularly to consult and help out with his preservation.

While the room is small, the austere mausoleum itself is huge. Built between 1973 and 1975 with Soviet assistance and modelled after the one in Moscow where Lenin is on display, it’s more brutalist in style than anything else and the approach, particularly given how slow it is, is all rather dramatic.

You can keep your phones and camera gear with you, but photography is strictly not permitted. While people were taking photos of the gardens and exterior of the mausoleum as we waited, nobody dared try anything under the watchful eye of the guards once inside.

Maintenance work on the gardens; probably easier than maintenance on the embalming. Photo taken in or around Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, Hanoi, Vietnam by Samantha Brown.

Maintenance work on the gardens; probably easier than maintenance on the embalming. Photo: Samantha Brown

None of this is actually what Ho Chi Minh wanted. Before his death in 1969 he asked to be cremated with his ashes spread in three areas in northern, central and southern Vietnam. A grave plot was, to his mind, a waste of land that might be otherwise productively used. But it was exactly this kind of earnest devotion to his country that made it impossible for his successors to honour his wishes. The cult of personality surrounding Ho Chi Minh was their best bet for keeping the country united after the war, and to preserve that, his body had to be preserved as well.

This sight is Vietnam’s holiest of holies. A reverential and respectful attitude is obligatory; if you get a case of the giggles, bite the inside of your cheek.



Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum
8 Hung Vuong (access via 5 Hgoc Ha St), Ba Dinh, Hanoi
T: (04) 3845 5128 
Admission: Free

By .

Location map for Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum

Popular attractions in Hanoi

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Hanoi.



Best places to stay in Hanoi

A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Hanoi.


What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Hanoi.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Hanoi.
 Check out our listings of other things to do in and around Hanoi.
 Read up on how to get to Hanoi, or book your transport online with Baolau.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Hanoi? Please read this.
 Browse tours in Vietnam with Tourradar.




Like what you see? Then you’ll love our newsletter

The Travelfish newsletter is sent out every Monday and is jammed full of free advice for travel in Southeast Asia. You can see past issues here.

:
:
:

See below for more sights and activities in Hanoi that are listed on Travelfish.org.


Top of page