Adventures in East Asia

The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi

The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a large memorial to the Vietnamese leader in Hanoi, Vietnam. It is located in the centre of Ba Dinh Square, the place where Ho read the Declaration of Independence on September 2, 1945, establishing the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.


This was our first early morning stop on our last day in Hanoi, since the mausoleum is only open before noon to the public. We were told that basically, you get to go inside and see what is apparently, Ho Chi Minh's body preserved in a dimly lit glass case, in the cooled, central hall of the mausoleum.

However, what is testament to his importance to Vietnam is the strictly enforced queueing system, as well as rules regarding dress such as keeping legs covered and removing hats, of which several tourists around us were told to do.

For such a static attraction there were also alot of visitors waiting in line. There were two lines in fact, and foreign visitors get to join the direct, shorter line which is still about two hundred metres to the mausoleum entrance, whereas locals need to join a longer line that ends a block away around the corner. The ends of both lines are outside the Square but as visitors enter, they both merge together, with everyone having to walk in twos.

In the photo above, you can see the queue in the distance on the left hand side. It snakes to the right as it enters the mausoleum.

The queue shuffles along constantly as visitors are encouraged to keep walking. As we enter the mausoleum hallway and climb a few steps, silence is kept strictly enforced by the stern expressions of the white uniformed guards (armed with intimidating, bayonet-tipped guns). The way is shown up a flight of steps as we swing over to the left first and at the top, we almost turn back on ourselves through a doorway to enter the dimly lit central hall.

Ho Chi Minh's body is barely lit, and its hard to say whether its real since the low lighting can easily hide the imperfections of say, a wax figure. Nevertheless, the guy is iconic and the visitors shuffle around the glass case sideways as they keep their eyes on him to make the most of their fleeting visit. We weren't allowed to take any photographs.

There are four guards at each corner of the case and the visitors actually walk around on a raised walkway that has a wall barrier separating them from the case. We must have been super lucky this day, since the normally inanimate display was broken by the flamboyant changing of the guard. Ok, so it was a very straight forward change over, but then there isn't much space.

Leaving the room, we follow the queue and walk down the steps on the right hand side of the central hall and out to the square to get our picture taken.

Check more Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum photos on Flickr

Wikipedia Source

This entry posted in : History. Tourism. Vietnam.

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