Ho Chi Minh lived for most of his live as president of North Vietnam in a modest stilt house behind the imposing Presidential Palace in Hanoi. Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House can now be visited to have a small look into the life of uncle Ho.
About Ho Chi Minh’s life in the stilt house
Ho Chi Minh did not live in the palace, because there were too many painful memories of French colonial times in the minds of the Vietnamese people. The Presidential Palace is a colonial building built during the French rule. French governors lived in the palace and were some of the most hated people in Vietnam. For that reason, Ho Chi Minh did not want to be part of it.
Ho Chi Minh wanted to live in a simple and modest house, like a man of the people. When he was in the northwest of the country he got inspired by the traditional stilt houses where the local minorities live in. He asked to built him a stilt house for his own use in the Presidential Gardens. When the architect showed Ho Chi Minh the plans, he asked to remove the toilet in the design, as it moved too much from the traditional stilt house design.
Ho Chi Minh moved into the stilt house on May 17, 1958 and lived here until 1969, when he died. Now you can visit Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House and can get a better picture of the life of Uncle Ho.
1. Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House
Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House was built in the garden of the Presidential Palace. Besides being a bit better constructed, it looks not much different than a house on stilts of ethnic minorities in the mountainous regions of Vietnam. The house is next to a fishing pond, where he liked to go fishing, and is surrounded by fruit trees.
This small wooden stilt house where he lived consists of 2 floors, very modest and simple, with only a few rooms where Ho Chi Minh rested and studied. In the room on the ground floor, he consulted his military commanders and other leaders. His bedroom and study are on the top floor.
Visit Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House
It is possible to visit Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House. It is located in the gardens behind the Presidential Palace and close to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
Address: 1 Hoàng Hoa Thám, Ngọc Hồ, Ba Đình
Entrance fee: 40,000 VND
Opening times: 7:30 AM – 4:00 PM (closed during lunch time from 11:00 AM – 1:30 PM)
How to get there
Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House is around 2.5 km from the heart of the Old Quarter. Every taxi driver knows Ba Dinh square and it will cost you not more than 5 dollar. Another more fun option it to go by traditional cyclo. These bicycle taxis can be found anywhere in the old town, but prepare to bargain as they often overprice.
Visit the stilt house by local tour
Visit the stilt house and lots of other sights in Hanoi, such as the Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda and the Temple of Literature by small group tour or private tour. It also includes a traditional cyclo ride through the Old Quarter.
Tips for visiting
- It can get very busy, especially during weekend and later in the afternoon. It is best to come in the early morning to avoid the crowds.
- If you want to visit the Mausoleum next to it, make sure you dress appropriate.
- Combine a visit to Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House with many other sights in the area (continue reading them below)
2. Presidential palace
The Presidential palace, although you can see it from a small distance, it is not possible to actually visit it. The bright yellow palace is not difficult to spot between the trees in the garden of the palace. It was designed by a French architect and built in 1900. It has three floors with 30 rooms, all designed in French colonial style.
The palace is still used for political gatherings and for that reason you can only visit the garden as a visitor.
3. Other things to do in the area
There are a lot of other sights in the area of the house of Ho Chi Minh. Right next to it on Ba Dinh square you will find the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the place where you can find the remains of Ho Chi Minh.
If you want to learn even more about his life, you can also visit the Ho Chi Minh Museum on the same square. Between the museum and the Mausoleum you will find the One Pillar Pagoda, one of the most sacred temples in Hanoi.
If you don’t mind walking a little further, there are more places to visit within 1,5 km from this area. In the north you will find Hanoi’s largest lake, West lake, with the Tran Quoc pagoda. To the east you will find the Imperial City of Thăng Long and to the south is the Perfume Pagoda.