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Presidential Palace Hanoi: Explore a special national relic of Vietnam

24/03/2023 899 views

Presidential Palace is a must-see tourist destination for those who want to know about Vietnam’s history and the life of Vietnam’s greatest leader – President Ho Chi Minh.

Presidential Palace

Presidential Palace is a popular tourist attraction in Hanoi (Source: Collected)

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, has some of the most popular tourist spots of the country. Among them, the Presidential Palace is a relic site that displays the revolutionary history of the nation, where younger generations can learn about President Ho Chi Minh. Don’t miss out on it on your trip to Hanoi, Vietnam.

1. About Presidential Palace Hanoi Vietnam

  • Location: The Presidential Palace is located on Hung Vuong Street, Hanoi
  • Opening hours: every day except Mondays
    • Summer (April – October): 8 – 11 am and 1:30 – 4 pm
    • Winter (November – March): 7:30 – 11 am and 1:30 – 4 pm
  • Entrance fee:
    • Free for Vietnamese visitors
    • VND 40,000/pax for foreigners visitors (around US$1.6)
Presidential Palace

The Presidential Palace has bold Hanoi French colonial architecture (Source: Collected)

The Presidential Palace is now the official residence of the President of Vietnam. Before 1954, it was named the Palace of the Governor-general of French Indochina. Built between 1900 and 1906 as the presidential area of the Governor-General, it was designed in an European style by architect Auguste Henri Vildieu, a French architect.

Surrounded by mango trees, the Presidential Palace belongs to the Presidential Palace Historical Site complex, where President Ho Chi Minh lived and worked between December 19, 1954 and September 2, 1969. Recognised as a national special relic site, the complex is likened to a museum featuring the life of President Ho.

The complex has both outdoor and indoor spaces. It includes architectural works (houses, rooms, tunnels, etc.); furniture (tables, stools, chairs, books, documents, etc.) and landscapes (trees, roads, gardens, fish ponds, flower trusses, etc.).

2. The highlights of the exterior and interior of Presidential Palace Hanoi

The Presidential Palace Historical Site has more than 1,400 objects, more than half of which are on display. The objects and documents preserved here are original and remain almost the same as in the final days of President Ho while he lived here. With a total area of over 10 hectares, the relic site includes houses, garden, grass, fish ponds, and walking paths.

Presidential Palace

The Presidential Palace is a famous building in Hanoi (Source: Collected)

The first building that you should visit at this site is surely the Presidential Palace, which is a four-storey building facing Hung Vuong Street. This French architectural work was constructed at the beginning of the 20th century (1900-1906) . It has a total area of nearly 1,300 square metres, with 30 rooms in the building, each decorated in a different style.

The magnificent yellow building stands amidst a large courtyard, separated from the outside streets by iron fences and big gates. It was designed symmetrically, with a big block in the middle and two blocks on both sides. Serving rooms are located on the first floor. The second floor has a guest hall, workrooms, and a banquet hall. The third floor has private rooms, where the Governor-general of French Indochina lived before 1954.

In 1954, when Vietnam gained its independence back from French colonists, President Ho Chi Minh refused to live in the President Palace (he still received guests of the State here). Instead, he lived nearby in a traditional Vietnamese house-on-stilts by a fish pond amidst a garden. His house and garden were then included into the Presidential Palace Historical Site complex in 1975.

When President Ho passed away on September 2, 1969, the main building became a relic site inside the whole Presidential Palace Historical Site complex. Since then, it has been the working place of the Vietnamese President. Many important activities of the State have been organised here, too.

3. Other attractions near Presidential Palace Hanoi

The Presidential Palace Historical Site has a total area of over 10 hectares, which includes houses, gardens, grass, fish ponds and walking paths, in addition to the Presidential Palace.

3.1. Wooden stilt house

The wooden house-on-stilts was where President Ho lived and worked from 1958 to 1969. He chose the design of the house after a visit to the northern province of Thai Nguyen.

Presidential Palace

The simple house-on-stilts was inspired by the local houses of ethnic minority people in the North (Source: Collected)

The house is made of Menghundor, a popular wood in Vietnam, and roofed with baked clay tiles. There is a flower garden in front of the house, which is bordered by a fence of shoeblack plants. This was to remind the President of his hometown in the central province of Nghe An.

The President used the first floor as the living room where he would receive guests. The second floor has two rooms of 10 square metres, where he worked and slept. Nearly 250 documents and objects stay the same as they were in the last days the President lived here.

Presidential Palace

Many objects stay the same as they were when President Ho lived here (Source: Collected)

The President lived in the house in the last 11 years of his life (1958 – 1969), where he made many historic documents guiding the revolutionary cause, including his will. The furniture in the house is simple, reflecting the President’s modest lifestyle.

3.2. House No. 54

This is where President Ho lived and worked between December 1954 and May 1958, before moving to the house-on-stilts. It used to be the house of an electrician, belonging to a bigger quarter for staff serving in the Palace of the Governor-general before 1954.

Presidential Palace

House No. 54 is an important building inside the complex of Presidential Palace Hanoi Vietnam (Source: Collected)

The house has three rooms. The one near the pond was where the President worked and received guests. The dining room is in the middle of the house, while the last one is for sleeping.

All furniture, documents, books and souvenirs from the President’s international friends have been kept intact as they were when he lived here. There are a total of nearly 400 documents and objects showing the enthusiastic life of the President dedicated to the revolutionary cause of liberating his people.

3.3. House No. 67

House No 67 is painted in light blue at the back of the wooden house-on-stilts. The house is built on a higher area than the other buildings in the complex. The President worked here between 1967 and 1969. He also stayed here during his time of serious illness and then passed away. The house was built in May 1967 to better protect the Presdient from American bombs, as he would not have enough time to rush to the air raid shelter otherwise. The house’s walls measure over 60 centimetres thick, which were made of reinforced concrete.

Presidential Palace

House No. 67 witnessed the last moment of the great leader’s life (Source: Collected)

The President did not keep the house for himself. He proposed to use it as a meeting room with other State leaders. The house hosted various important meetings between the President and the Polit Bureau, as well as State leaders, regarding the southern battles or the Paris Peace Accords.

On August 17, 1969, after examining his health, the doctors asked the President to relocate from the house-on-stilts to House No 67. From August 25, 1969, President Ho’s health worsened. The house became a place where he was treated with the most modern medical equipment at that time. It has witnessed the last moments of the President.

Here, there are 2 military maps, a ZENITH radio, a small clock on a wardrobe near the bed, and a daily-date wall calendar, which stopped and showed the time of the President’s passing: 9:7 am, September 2, 1969.

3.4. Mango Street

Presidential Palace

Mango Street was a favourite place for relaxation of the late President (Source: Collected)

A walking path full with old mango trees, namely Mango Street, runs some 200 metres around the complex. This is where President Ho would do morning exercise and walk after work in the afternoon. The street has witnessed many memorable meetings between the President and representatives from the South during the American war in Vietnam.

3.5. Fish pond

By the house-on-stilts, there is a pond of over 3,000 square metres large, with a depth of 2 metres. It is home to various fish, such as carp and ruffe.

In 1958, when the house-on-stilts was built, this natural pond was also where the deers from the nearby Botanical Garden came to drink water. When he moved into the house-on-stilts, President Ho asked his staff to turn the natural muddy pond into a fish pond. Various fish were then raised here. There were also mussels, which produced pearls in the pond. The fish grew very well in the lake. Some black carp even weighed up to 24 kilogrammes.

Presidential Palace

The fish pond was where President Ho raised the fish and relaxed (Source: Collected)

The President took great care of the fish. He fed them every afternoon after work. He would sit down, clapping his hands to call the fish, which then would quickly gather and bite the food. In the cold winter, he told his staff to grow water hyacinth in a corner of the pond to make a warm shelter for the fish.

The President would also treat his guests with dishes made from the fish in the pond. On traditional holidays, he would give the fish as gifts to State and Party leaders, as well as the staff working in the Presidential Palace. This custom has been kept ever since he passed away.

3.6. Green garden

This 65,000-square-metre-large green garden, together with the fish pond, creates a peaceful landscape. The garden has a diverse ecosystem. The trees and plants here were planted scientifically to become a highlight in the area. Many of them represent the friendship between Vietnam and other countries.

Presidential Palace

A mesmerizing corner in the complex of Presidential Palace Vietnam (Source: Collected)

There is an area in the garden decorated with a flower truss of purple bougainvillaea, which was considered as a special ”guest room” of the late President. He used to receive his close friends here.

4. How to get to the Presidential Palace on your backpacking trip?

Located near Ba Dinh Square, the Presidential Palace is quite easy to reach. You can travel by any means of transportation, such as by motorbike, taxi, or even on foot. There are also a number of public buses passing by the area, including buses number 9, 22, 23, 45, and 50.

In addition to the Presidential Palace, there are many other tourist attractions in Hanoi that you should take the time to visit, such as Hoan Kiem Lake, the Temple of Literature, West Lake, One Pillar Pagoda, and VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium.

Just a short drive away from the city center, VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium offers lots of fun to small children and adults. At the aquarium, you will have the opportunity to explore the ocean world at one of the most modern aquarium systems in Vietnam. In a total area of ​​​​nearly 4,000 square meters, Vinpearl Aquarium is home to more than 30,000 sea creatures from around the world.

Presidential Palace

Vinpearl Aquarium and VinKE are your next go-to destinations after visiting the Presidential Palace

On the other hand, VinKE creates a “play and learn” space for children to experience their dream career, learn about their favorite field, and become more confident with the world around them. It focuses on many career-orientation simulation games, such as Fire Department, Traffic Police, Fashion Star, Kid Chef, Auto Repair Workshop, etc.

>>> Don’t hesitate to book tickets of VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium to have lots of fun in Hanoi!

Hanoi should be a prominent destination on your Vietnam trip, in which the Presidential Palace is a must-see attraction. Here, you can learn more about the history, culture, and architecture of Vietnam, as well as about President Ho Chi Minh’s modest lifestyle. The palace is like a living museum that promotes patriotism for Vietnamese youngsters and international friends. Make sure to mark it on your tourism map!

>>> Remember to book tickets of VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium to have even more fun on your Hanoi trip!

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