Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum


Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum at night, Ba Dinh district.

In the tradition of Lenin, Stalin and Mao, Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum is a monumental marble edifice. Contrary to Ho Chi Minh’s desire for a simple cremation, the mausoleum was constructed from materials gathered from all over Vietnam between 1973 and 1975. Set deep in the bowels of the building in a glass sarcophagus is the frail, pale body of Ho Chi Minh. The mausoleum is usually closed from 4 September to 4 November while his embalmed body goes to Russia for maintenance.

Dress modestly: wearing shorts, sleeveless T-shirts or hats is not permitted. You may be requested to store day packs, cameras and phones before you enter. Talking, putting your hands in your pockets and photography are strictly prohibited in the mausoleum. The queue usually snakes for several hundred metres to the mausoleum entrance and inside, filing past Ho’s body at a slow but steady pace.

If you’re lucky you’ll catch the changing of the guard outside the mausoleum – the pomp and ceremony displayed here rivals the British equivalent at Buckingham Palace in London.

The app Into Thin Air 2 (www.facebook.com/intothinairhanoi) is well worth downloading to listen to the sound work relating to the mausoleum.