The mausoleum is only open from 8am – 11:00 am and is free (small admission for the museum), so make sure you get there early since the lines can be very long. (Also, the mausoleum is closed from September through early December as maintenance is performed.) The museum closes at 11:30am, but reopens a couple hours later in the afternoon. For us it was a little confusing since we were not with a tour and did not know where to go, but whenever we tried to go in a wrong direction the men in the uniforms would quickly block us off and point in the direction that we should be going.
At the front entrance you are required to check any bags that you have and if you didn’t check your electronic devices you are required to check those separately into red bags since no photography is allowed in either the mausoleum or museum. If you have a cell phone they will want to see it but you can keep that on you.
After you get passed these check points you will continue down the long line that is reminiscent of waiting in line at an amusement park and watch out for those people cutting in front of you. Actually, there isn’t anything you can do about it! I guess it is just part of their culture so don’t be surprised and don’t get upset when this happens. In fact, you will probably encounter this at other places where you usually wait your turn!
Once you enter the mausoleum you will have about 30 seconds to view Ho Chi Minh resting peacefully in his glass sarcophagus and the feeling you get is as if you are attending his funeral paying your last respects.
Originally I did not want to visit the final resting place of Ho Chi Minh since it was his wish to be cremated yet they chose to embalm him instead and he is now on display to the public. However, after visiting the museum I was left with a new found respect for Ho Chi Minh and the entire movement that he lead to free the Vietnamese from often cruel colonial rule of the French and then the Americans and other joint forces. This was not about evil communism as I was taught in elementary school. Instead, it was about independence, reunification, and building a better future for the Vietnamese.
Now that we have paid our respects at the mausoleum and learned much from the museum I now believe that no trip to Hanoi is complete without a visit to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
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