When the former Viet Minh leader died in 1969, his body was embalmed and placed in the grand Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. This site is a place of great importance to many Vietnamese, and one of Hanoi’s most visited attractions.
Ho Chi Minh (also known as “Uncle Ho”) led the Vietnamese independence movement and was a key figure in founding the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, better known as North Vietnam. The mausoleum is situated in the centre of Ba Dinh Square, where Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence after the Japanese surrendered in 1945.
The line to enter the mausoleum is long but it moves steadily. This is because you are not allowed to stop once you are inside people silently file past the embalmed body encased in a glass box. While inside the mausoleum you are also not allowed to talk, take photographs, carry a bag, eat and have your hands in your pockets. Armed guards see to it that the utmost respect is given to the former president, who is still very much revered.
Learn more about Ho Chi Minh’s life in the elaborate museum or visit his simple, stilt house, which he chose over the former French palace next door. You’ll find all these monuments scattered around the large plaza with its manicured lawns and plant and flower beds. Come back at night to see the ceremonial storing of the national flag at 9 p.m.
The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is located just north of the city centre, near Lake Ho Tay. It can be reached by bus or taxi. The mausoleum is open in the morning, but closed for lunch and also on Mondays and Fridays. Entrance is free. Check whether Ho Chi Minh’s body is there during your visit, because it is sent to Russia for maintenance for two months each year