The Ba Dinh Square is an important place for the Vietnamese – long before the mausoleum was made. As this was the square where Ho Chi Minh declared the independence of Vietnam in 1945. 30 years later, the mausoleum was erected here. Nowadays, you still have long queues of people who would like to pay their respect to ‘Uncle Ho’.
Every Tuesday to Thursday and Saturday and Sunday, the mausoleum is open to the public from 7:30am-11:00am. However we recommend you to come even earlier, as the lines fill up quickly, and once they hit the quota for the day, the queue will be closed. On average the wait is between 1 to 2 hours long.
Once inside you’ll notice there are two guards on either side of Ho Chi Minh. They are there to keep an eye on everyone and keep the line going, as you’re not allowed to stop. Which means you’re in and out in about 3 minutes tops. Not long, for such a long wait, but all in all it’s quite an experience; you’ve just experienced some important Vietnamese history! And if you’re lucky you can witness the changing of the guard while in the queue. Which comes pretty close to the British equivalent at Buckingham Palace.
A couple of things to keep in mind before you head out to Ba Dinh Square:
- Make sure Ho Chi Minh is there: I see you thinking - 'How do you mean see if he's there?' Well every year in autumn time, his body goes back to Russia for maintenance and touch up. So before you plan visiting, make sure that he’s really there.
- Dress modestly: security is strict, and so you won’t be able to enter with shorts, tank tops, miniskirts or a hat on. Just be sure to dress appropriately for meeting a man of such importance…
- Come with little as possible: As said security is tight, and so everyone needs to deposit his or her bags and cameras. So if you can, leave them at home – this will save you some time for deposit and pick up.
- Keep on walking: as the line is long, and its always busy, nobody is allowed to stop and marvel. Just make sure to keep on walking.
- Be respectful: last but not least, make sure you are respectful, especially when entering the mausoleum. Talking, making photos, putting your hands in your pockets is all strictly prohibited inside.
If you don’t have time to queue, join our Insight Hanoi Tour, where we stop and take in this marvellous building amongst many other amazing sights such as the Temple of Literature, the “French Quarter”, Ngoc Son Temple and much more!