Vietnam Hanoi: Ho Chi Minh’s House

Travel Period: 21 Sep – 28 Sep 2014

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Hanoi Day 4 Itinerary –

  • Ho Chi Minh’s House, Vietnam Military Museum

To Ho Chi Minh’s House

The hotel staff helped us call a cab to Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum. It is a large complex which consists of the Ho Chi Minh’s museum, the Mausoleum (where the body of the president was kept), the Presidential Palace and Ho Chi Minh’s House-On-Stilts.

At the time we visited, the preserved body of President Ho Chi Minh had been sent to Russia and thus, the Mausoleum was not opened for visitors. We weren’t interested in visiting it since there were lots of rules to do that.

We were also not interested in visiting the museum, so we were there to look at the famous “House-On-Stilts” that President Ho Chi Minh used to live in. He actually rejected the nice President’s House built by a French architect (only received state guests there) and chose to stay in a humble home, similar to the homes on stilts that his people lived in.

The cab driver sent us to where the Museum was even though we indicated we want to visit the House. Alighting here, we had to walk a long way past the Mausoleum to reach the House. 

It was a huge pathway to the Mausoleum with guards standing around. At first, I was a little worried because I was wearing shorts and wondered if they would chase me out (One of the rules of visiting the Mausoleum). However, we are just walking past, not visiting it (anyway, it’s not open), I think they wouldn’t do that right?

Along the way, there were some street vendors and I finally persuaded Vin to buy a cap because the sun was scorching hot and bearing down on us. He chose a military style cap with the word, “Vietnam”, for 30K.

Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum

At this point, we wanted to take a photograph. The guard standing by, sternly looked at us (many rules about photograph taking…not sure why) and we were a little afraid to take a picture. In the end, we still took some photographs and moved on.

Presidential Palace

We walked into a nice garden and saw the golden European architecture, which looked a little out of place. It is not opened to visitors and this was the closest we could look at it. I took two pictures of this Presidential Palace of Vietnam before someone at the side waved “No” to me. *roll eyes.. It’s just an architecture!!! I really do not know what’s the big deal. It’s not like I’m even entering. The picture of it has also appeared all over the Internet (that’s how I knew what it was before I even came here) and I only wanted it for a keepsake.

There was a sign pointing to the “House on Stilts” which we had come here for. 

The Garage of Ho Chi Minh’s housing the cars he had used when he was President was the first thing we saw.

Ho Chi Minh’s House On Stilts

Walking around a large pond, we reached the famous house that President Ho Chi Minh lived in. 

We queued up to enter the house from one side, walking past the windows to go down the staircase on the other side. Guards were standing by with a stern face and ushering us to move. We took a look and had to go down quickly, no stopping. The atmosphere was so solemn that we didn’t even dare to make a sound.

The teak house and furnitures were preserved very well with simple basic furnitures. I felt it was a nice experience to walk through, even though it was just a house. I think it’s the way that he humbled himself even as a President of a country that made us visitors in awe of that. 

With our mission accomplished and my curiosity satisfied, we walked back to a point to take a taxi to the Military Museum we had planned to visit. On the way, we took a glimpse of the Mausoleum from afar. There was a huge square in front of it which was blocked when we visited.

Stepping out of the place, I actually felt relieved. The atmosphere at the Mausoleum grounds was too solemn with many stern looking guards. I kept worrying about offending them unknowingly with some of my touristy habits. 

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