July 4, 2015

Vietnam Diaries: Hanoi Part 2

Quảng Trường Ba Đình or Ba Dinh Square is a historical site in the centre of Ba Dinh district. It is where Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence establishing the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945. It is also where the the Presidential Palace is and Ho’s final resting place.

Ho’s embalmed and preserved body is displayed in a glass case inside the marble edifice of Ho Chi Minh mausoleum (Vietnamese: Lăng Chủ tịch Hồ Chi Minh) from January to September. Unfortunately for us, the most iconic leader of Vietnam was in Russia for his yearly touch ups and maintenance during our visit. We actually missed him by only a few days!

Dress modestly on your visit, tank top and shorts are not allowed inside, and so is photography.

Opening HoursTuesday to Thursday and weekends from 08:00 – 11:00. Closed on Monday and Friday. Entrance fee: 10,000 VND.

You can combine a visit to Ho Chi Minh’s Museum with the mausoleum. The monument is dedicated to the life of Uncle Ho.  

Opening hours: 8-11.30am daily; 2-4.30pm Tue-Thu, Sat and Sun. 
Entrance fee: 25,000 VND. 
An English-speaking guide costs around 100,000 VND.

The Temple of Literature is a short stroll from Ba Dinh square. It is Vietnam’s first university and was dedicated to Confucius.  The well preserved series of walled courtyards and gateways best demonstrates traditional Vietnamese architecture.

Opening Hours: From 08:00 – 17:00 from November until March 
and 07:30 – 18:00 for the rest of the year. Closed on a Monday. 
Entrance fee: 10,000 VND.

Hoa Lo Prison is a historical landmark also sarcastically known to American prisoners of war as the "Hanoi Hilton." The actual prison has been demolished in 1990’s but the gatehouse remains as a museum and displays show the prison during the French colonial period. 

WARNING: not for the faint of heart. The guillotine room is also on display including the original equipment. 

Opening Hours: Daily 08:00-16:30. 
Entrance fee: 15,000 VND.

(to be continued…)

Part 2 of a series. 
See 1st part. Vietnam Travel Diaries: Hanoi Part 1

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