Everything You Need to Know About the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

April 18, 2019 in Travel, Travel Tips - 25 Comments
two guards and flower wreaths at front of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

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Planning a visit to Hanoi and want to see the local attractions? Here’s everything you need to know about Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

As one of the most visited attractions in Hanoi, a visit to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a must.

But before you go there are a few things you should know to make your visit more enjoyable.

Keep reading for insider tips and the best time to visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

Vietnam requires a visa to enter the country. You can avoid a trip to the embassy or sending away your passport by getting a Vietnam visa online.

Everything You Need to Know About the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

two guards and flower wreaths at front of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Despite Ho Chin Minh’s desire that his cremated body’s ashes distributed throughout Vietnam, the Vietnamese government had its own plans.

They sent his body to a lab in Moscow for embalming like Vladimir Lenin. Then erected a massive mausoleum 70 feet high and 135 feet wide to house his body. The Ho Chi Mini Mausoleum opened on August 29, 1975.

Unlike the rest of the mausoleum complex, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is free to visit.

Here are crucial tips you need to know for a successful trip while visiting Hanoi.

Pro-tip: Children under three years old are not allowed to enter the mausoleum.

Getting There

The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is in the Ba Dinh district of Hanoi.

We walked from the Sofitel Legend Metropole to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. It was a 35-minute walk from the French Quarter with several interesting buildings along the way.

But Google routes you to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum’s physical location. The building is a quarter of a mile from the entrance to the complex.

The fastest and most efficient way to get to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is to take a cab.

Pro-tip: Get directions to the Tourist Information Center Mausoleum, Lê Hồng Phong, Đội Cấn, Ba Đình, Hà Nội

This will take you to the entrance to the mausoleum complex.

When to Visit

Restricted visiting hours exist so pay special attention when planning your visit.

The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is open from 8 am to 10:30 am Tuesday to Thursday from April to September and from 8 am to 11 am on weekends.

From December to March mausoleum hours are 8 am to 11 am Tuesday to Thursday and 8 am to 11:30 am on weekends.

The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is closed every Monday and Friday. During the months of October to November Vietnam sends Ho Chi Minh’s embalmed body to Russia for maintenance.

Pro-tip: Avoid visiting on Ho Chi Minh’s birthday (May 19), Vietnam’s National Day (September 2), and the first day of the Lunar New Year. Lines are longer than normal.

Dress Code

The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a sacred site and the dress code is strictly enforced.

These types of clothing are not permitted:

  • Short shorts
  • Mini-skirts
  • Sleeveless shirts and tops
  • Tank Tops
  • Spaghetti string tops

Pro-tip: You can cover your shoulders with a pashmina or scarf.

My skort that comes above my knees was acceptable.

Security and Baggage Storage

All visitors have to go through a security screening like at the airport. You put your bags and purses through the baggage scanner.

Don’t bring water or any liquids because you’ll have to throw them out.

If you have cameras and other recording equipment you’re handed a large red hard canvas tote to carry prohibited items. This includes iPads.

You can keep your cell phones but be respectful and don’t take any photos or videos while in line.

Large bags such as backpacks are not permitted in the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Medium sized bags like my cross-body bag was fine.

If your bag is too large you’re given a blue hard canvas tote to carry your backpack or bag.

Pro-tip: You’ll drop off your red and blue bags at a building on the left about 50 yards before the entrance to the mausoleum.

You’re assigned a numbered claim ticket plastic tag that looks like a key chain. Don’t lose your tag!

Join the line.

Lines

Thousands of people visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum every year. Some Vietnamese save for years to pay tribute to their departed revered leader.

Yet all the people in line near me were from another country. There was a family from India, a couple from Europe, and a group from Australia. Further ahead in the line were several well behaved preschool school groups.

Lines snake around the complex in Disneyesque fashion. But unlike lines at the Magic Kingdom, these lines move quickly.

The lines reminded me of the thousands that waited to pay respect to John McCain.

The collapsible people herding contraptions (I have no idea what they’re called) kept everyone in neatly formed rows of two lines. The crowd control equipment ensured that no one strayed or ventured where they didn’t belong.

Spacing was wide enough so that you didn’t have to rub shoulders with your sweaty neighbor.

And in the event of rain, the overhead plexi cover shields you from the elements.

If you can’t stand for long periods of time, you may want to skip this attraction. Wheelchair users have to use a manual wheelchair provided by the mausoleum.

Pro-tip: Get on the left side. As you enter the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the left side has front row viewing of Ho Chi Minh’s embalmed body.

Skip the Line

Because we walked from the French Quarter we passed the area where tour group buses parked. There was a sign indicating a separate line for appointments.

You may be able to skip the line (part of it and security) if book an appointment. At the time of this posting, I haven’t been able to figure out how to skip the line. I’ll update this post once I uncover the secret.

Entering the Mausoleum

As you approach the mausoleum the number of security guards increase. Instead of a few stationed at various points throughout the line, there are at least 30 guards.

In other words, it is heavily guarded and they ensure that you follow the rules and have proper decorum. After all, you’re entering a tomb.

There are guards at the first steps to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. There are guards at the top of the steps before you enter the mausoleum.

Inside the mausoleum, there are guards every 10 feet. And there are four guards at the corners of Ho Chi Minh’s casket.

The interior is dimly lit as it’s a solemn procession as one would expect. You can’t stand, linger, talk, or point. You have to keep moving.

Ho Chi Minh’s body is so well preserved you’d never know he died 50 years ago.

Collecting Your Bags

You can pick up your red bag items after you exit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum from the building on your right side. Present your tag to retrieve your items.

The rest of the mausoleum complex allows photos and recording. So you’re free to take pictures and shoot video.

But this part of the complex isn’t free. It costs 40,000 Vietnamese dong per person for entry. Stay tuned for a post about the Ho Chi Minh Complex which includes the Presidential Palace, Uncle Ho’s House on Stilts, One Pillar pagoda, and more.

Because blue bagged items aren’t permitted anywhere in the mausoleum complex, you can only pick these up as you leave.

Conclusion

The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is one of the most visited attractions in Hanoi and well worth a visit. Before you plan your trip here’s everything you need to know about the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

It’s free to enter but prepare yourself for long lines. The lines move fast but if you aren’t able to stand for long periods of time you shouldn’t visit.

The fastest way to get to the mausoleum is by taxi. Have your cab drop you off at the Tourist Information Center Mausoleum address.

Be sure to dress appropriately, leave large bags in your hotel, and expect to store your camera.

When entering the line, enter on the left side. It’s the closest to Ho Chi Minh’s body when you enter the mausoleum.

You get about 1 minute or less inside to view the body so you have to decide if a 35 minute or longer wait in line is worth it.

Have you visited the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum? Any tips you’d like to share?

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Debra Schroeder

Debra is a former 12-year travel industry executive and has traveled the world using airline miles and credit card points since 1994. She'll teach you the secrets of traveling well for less.

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25 Comments

  • The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
  • Jin April 20, 2019 at 8:29 am

    Love how thorough and easy to read your guide is! I’ve been to HCMC a handful of times, but never visited this particular mausoleum. I’ll def have to check it out next time I’m in that city as you have certainly piqued my interest about it!

    • Debra Schroeder April 21, 2019 at 7:09 pm

      Hi Jin,

      Thanks, glad you liked the guide. Let me know your thoughts after you visit.

  • Claudia April 20, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    I have friends in Vietnam right now and they enjoyed a visit to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, as well as many other amazing sights in Hanoi and around the country. I wish I’d read this earlier so I could have sent this to them – you’ve got great tips for anyone wishing to visit the Mausoleum!

    • Debra Schroeder April 21, 2019 at 7:08 pm

      Hi Claudia,

      Thanks for the kinds words, so glad you liked the post. 🙂 Hope your friends are having a great time.

  • noel April 20, 2019 at 10:49 pm

    Visiting Vietnam is high on my list and Hanoi is definitely up there along with historic monuments like this mausoleum. Such a regal and grand building to visit and explore

  • Rosemary April 21, 2019 at 9:18 pm

    When we were in Hanoi, we never went into the Mausoleum despite running by it almost every day. The two biggest deterrents were the long lines and the fact that we were in running outfits, not suitable for entry. Great tips here and even if you don’t make it inside the Mausoleum, it is quite impressive. Did you get a chance to see the changing of the guards? We saw this unexpectedly and it was quite impressive.

  • Linda (LD Holland) April 22, 2019 at 5:32 am

    Vietnam is still on the travel wish list. I echo Ho Chi Minh’s desire to have his ashes spread around. Mine will hopefully be left all around the world when I pass. I definitely would not want my body put into a mausoleum. Thanks for the tip that the hours are restricted. Especially if you pay to take a taxi there. Good to remind people about proper dress. I can’t believe what we see people wearing some days into more sacred sites. Thanks for the tip about staying on the left side for the best view. Good tips if we visit Hanoi and want to see the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

    • Debra Schroeder April 23, 2019 at 8:08 am

      Hi Linda,

      Glad you liked the post, hope you can make it to Vietnam one day. 🙂

  • Trisha April 22, 2019 at 7:04 am

    this is such a huge celebration of a great man’s legacy to his country! I didn’t have the chance to visit this place while in Vietnam. I’m actually surprised that this is not erected in Ho Chi Mihn itself. But I guess the silence and classic city of Hanoi perfectly suits him more!

    • Debra Schroeder April 23, 2019 at 8:11 am

      Hi Trisha,

      Yeah, I was surprised too that it wasn’t built in Ho Chi Minh. Maybe because Ho Chi Minh city was still Saigon when the mausoleum was built.

  • sherianne April 22, 2019 at 7:11 am

    I’m all about the skip the line option! The security sounds intense, makes me wonder if there have been any attempts to desecrate. Love that the line moves fast, the security sounds like there isn’t much time spent inside

    • Debra Schroeder April 23, 2019 at 8:12 am

      Hi Sherianne,

      Interesting, I hadn’t thought about that. I figured no cameras or video because of the preservation aspect like in some museums.

  • Chris Bloomfield April 22, 2019 at 8:12 am

    I like that they enforce a dress code to keep everyone respectful when visiting the mausoleum. Hopefully you can figure out the secret to skipping the lines, that sounds like it would be great! It’s cool they kept it free to get in!

    • Debra Schroeder April 23, 2019 at 8:12 am

      Hi Chris,

      For sure, if I can figure out how to skip the line I’ll add the details to my post.

  • Milijana April 22, 2019 at 10:16 am

    I went to the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum in Hanoi on my trip to Vietnam, but I didn’t get in. I guess I need to go back to visit the mausoleum properly. Still, it looked impressive even from the outside.
    I appreciate Vietnamese devotion to their beloved leader.

    • Debra Schroeder April 23, 2019 at 8:13 am

      Hi Milijana,

      Hope you get a chance to visit the next time you’re in Hanoi.

  • Anda April 22, 2019 at 11:13 am

    I’ve never been in Hanoi but Vietnam is very high up on my list. If I’d go visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum it would be only out of curiosity. Everything related to Communism or communist leaders makes me sick. Not surprised to see the mausoleum is heavily guarded. I’m sure there are many who would love to see it destroyed. Good to know there is a dressing code for visiting the mausoleum.

  • Nicole April 23, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    Visiting the Masoleum was interesting for me – I got yelled at by the guards. Not a fun experience but this post has everything you need to make sure that doesn’t happen to you. Great tips!

    • Debra Schroeder April 28, 2019 at 1:21 pm

      Hi Nicole,

      Yikes, that would have been scary. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  • Claire April 23, 2019 at 11:58 pm

    It’s so strange to me that viewing a body is one of the most popular ‘attractions’ in Hanoi! Especially given that he wanted to be cremated. I’m not sure I would go and see him but I understand that thousands of local people would want to pay their respects.

    • Debra Schroeder April 28, 2019 at 1:22 pm

      Hi Claire,

      Maybe some people don’t realize they’re going to see a body? Maybe they think it’s like the Lincoln Memorial or something.

  • Thaihoa Huynh June 22, 2019 at 8:19 pm

    I heard that certain days are for foreigners. I might be reading it wrong. So can I take my uncle that lives in Vietnam with me? Are visitors singled out? Do we need to bring ID/passport?

    • Debra Schroeder October 12, 2019 at 11:20 am

      Hi Thailhoa,

      I don’t think they have certain days for foreigners. None of the signs indicated that. You can take your uncle that lives in Vietnam with you. Visitors aren’t singled out. You do not need an ID or passport to visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

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