I wanted to visit Ho Chi Minh today, but he wasn’t there.

(Note: An updated version of this post is here.)

I’m not having much luck with visits to the embalmed bodies of communist icons.

Lenin’s mausoleum was closed on the frigid winter day I visited Moscow in 2006. In Beijing two years ago, I had no time to even think about standing in line to get a quick peek at Mao’s glass coffin. And now, in Hanoi, my visit coincided with the Vietnamese national hero’s two-and-a-half month respite in Moscow for his annual maintenance. I suppose there’s always Kim Il-Sung but a visit to Pyongyang isn’t on the agenda any time soon.

At 42 meters wide and just over 21 meters high, the structure is impressive, if a bit severe for the chaotic energy that is Hanoi. It’s likely too severe for Ho himself, since he clearly stated in his will his wish to be cremated. But instead of his ashes being scattered throughout the country, pieces of the country were brought here and incorporated into the mausoleum. It’s located in the center of Ba Ðình Square where Ho delivered Vietnam’s Declaration of Independence on September 2, 1945 and was formally inaugurated almost to the day 30 years later.

Besides face lift time from September through mid-December, it’s open Saturday through Thursday from 8-11am, free admission. But come early. Lines are reportedly very long.

A couple more shots:

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  1. almiracatovic says

    še vedno mu lahko pustiš sporočilo, kaj pa veš, mogoče te lahko preseneti 😀

  2. jersuji says

    It’s a nice building.
    by the way,
    Are motorbikes primary means of transportation in Vietnam?
    Many people ride on motorbike in the photo.

  3. pirano says

    Almira – I tried, but the guards gave me a very creepy look.
    Jersuji – LOTS of motorbikes in Vietnam. More than 4 million in Hanoi alone.

  4. […] I wanted to visit Ho Chi Minh today, but he wasn’t there. A trip to Uncle Ho’s Mausoleum while he was away in Russia for his annual […]

  5. Debbie says

    What a shame they didn’t cremate “Uncle Ho” and scatter his ashes as he wished. These mausoleams with embalmbed bodies are really creepy.

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