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September 21, 2010

Hanoi: Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Presidential Palace Historical Site and One Pillar Pagoda

One of the few highlights to visit in Hanoi is Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (Lăng Chủ tịch Hồ Chí Minh). It is located in the center of Ba Ðình Square, which is the place where Uncle Ho read the Declaration of Independence on September 2, 1945, and formed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

Securities guarding at the gate. No camera allowed in the mausoleum.

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Selling feather duster.

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No camera allowed after this point. Went in to pay a respect to Uncle Ho.

Ho Chi Minh's body is preserved in the cooled, central hall of the mausoleum, with a military honor guard. The body lies in a glass case with dim lights. The mausoleum is closed occasionally for restoration and preservation work on the body but is normally open daily from 9:00 am to noon to the public. Lines of visitors, including visiting foreign dignitaries, pay their respects at the mausoleum. Rules regarding dress and behavior are strictly enforced by staff and guards. Legs must be covered (no shorts or miniskirts). Visitors must be silent, and walk in two lines. Smoking, photography, and video taping are also not permitted anywhere inside the mausoleum.
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After coming out from the mausoleum. The queue is always long almost everyday... Gotta be patient.

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Ba Đình Square.

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The plaza in front of the mausoleum is divided into 240 green squares separated by pathways. The gardens surrounding the mausoleum have nearly 250 different species of plants and flowers, all from different regions of Vietnam.

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Green green grass~

Where Uncle Ho's body rests in peace forever. Vietnamese address president Ho Chi Minh as Uncle Ho. A respect.

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The Presidential Palace Historical Site. That yellow building.
It was constructed by Auguste Henri Vildieu, the official French architect for Vietnam. Like most French Colonial architecture, the palace is pointedly European. The only visual cues that it is located in Vietnam at all are mango trees growing on the grounds. The yellow palace stands behind wrought iron gates flanked by sentry boxes. It incorporates elements of Italian Renaissance design.
When Vietnam achieved independence in 1954, Ho Chi Minh refused to live in this palace, although he still received state guests there. He built another traditional Vietnamese stilt house and carp pond on the grounds nearby. His house and the grounds have been made into the Presidential Palace Historical Site in 1975. Coming up next you will see his stilt house and the carp pond.

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If you observe the trees in Vietnam, the roots and the very bottom of the tree trunks are painted white. According to the Vietnamese, this was first implemented by Uncle Ho, which then become a general practice. Why paint them white? (1) To minimize parasit/insect infection; (2) To alert road users at night, because white reflects light.

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We visited the house where president Ho Chi Minh lived and worked from 1954 to 1958.

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A very simple house, really simple. Everyone found it interesting because Uncle Ho allocated only one piece per item in his house!

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Only one per item, because he lived alone and did not get married. All his life was dedicated to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. That made his people love him so much until today. He fought for their freedom till his last breath.

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The carp pond. Uncle Ho liked to spend his free time feeding fishes here.

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Next, to the house on stilts!

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View from the upper level. I was on the staircase. Don't be surprised on the volume of visitors. On that day itself, I saw at least 3-4 big groups of school children on an educational trip.

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Uncle Ho's room. As usual, only one table and one chair for himself. Everything was kept at minimum.

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Halong Bay. Vietnam government asking for support to vote Halong Bay as one of the New Wonder of The World. If you haven't read about Halong Bay, check out the link on my Halong Bay post.

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School children running around excitedly.

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One Pillar Pagoda. This kept my friend walking for hours to search for it during their visit.. But actually it's just steps away from the Presidential Palace Historical Site.

The One Pillar Pagoda (Vietnamese: Chùa Một Cột) is a historic Buddhist temple in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. It is regarded alongside the Perfume Temple, as one of Vietnam's two most iconic temples.
This temple is built on a single stone pillar, temple made of wood and it is designed to resemble a lotus blossom, which is a Buddhist symbol of purity. In 1954, the French Union forces destroyed the pagoda before withdrawing from Vietnam after the First Indochina War, and it was then rebuilt afterwards.

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Ho Chi Minh Museum. A stone's throw from One Pillar Pagoda. We did not have enough time to go in. *disappointed... I like museums!!*

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Lastly, I couldn't find the english name for this one... It looks like a temple and it's called 圆觉门. We left this major site of tourism and went for lunch at Sen. Catch up with you agan for Temple of Literature (文庙)in the next post on Vietnam.

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