Ho Chi Minh's Tomb - Holding Cell.
Ho Chi Minh's Tomb - Holding Cell. Hanoi Reviews
Accommodation seldom seen and far from recommended. Feb 22, 2009
Located off Ba Dinh Square, the place where Vietnam's declaration of independence was read in 1945, a monument was built to honour Ho Chi Minh. Not exactly a place to stay, but there are accommodations provided for the foolish.
Ho Chi Minh is remembered with reverence in Vietnam for good reason. The mausoleum built in his honour is befitting of his legend - grand, imposing, dignified. I decided to visit it when I was passing by on my way through Hanoi years ago... I was attracted to it by the idea of actually being able to see such a historical figure in the flesh - for he remains on display within the tomb - embalmed and encased in a glass climate controlled enclosure.
Like Lenin, the Communist government that succeeded his rule considered his public burial to be in the public interest. To many, me included, the idea of a burial like this is taboo. It is also ironic that this tomb was built, for Uncle Ho had specified in his will that he preferred to be cremated - citing it was 'a more hygienic burial and could save land for agricultural purpose'... a testamentary idea of a humble man - but not one shared by the powers that be.
However, after standing there in his presence and surrendering my preconceptions concerning the macabre scene inside the tomb, I had to acknowledge the fact that the hundreds of Vietnamese citizens walking past him to pay their respects each had an unmistakable look of reverence in their eyes. This place afforded each of them a real connection with their past - and their nationhood. Something I had never seen before, anywhere. They took this scene very seriously...
...and so do the military honour guards. There are strict rules. Very strict rules. They are there to respect a legacy and I discovered that they are not open to interpretation of any kind - ignorance is no excuse. If you violate them, you receive your notice in Vietnamese. And if you don't follow the instructions given to you (even if you don't understand Vietnamese), you may receive room and board in facilities beneath the tomb, compliments of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. I'll save the details - I'm no angel - but I learned to listen in Vietnemese :o)
My stay was brief, but memorable. Facilities included:
* A room without a view
* My own ensuite without a toilet, which was located in the living room.
* Optional deportation.
Things I would like to see improved:
* Consular assistance.
I recommend this facility for:
* those who like to flirt with cultural faux pas and encourage flexible interpretations of inflexible rules.
* budget travellers.
I love Vietnam. I can't wait to visit again... but I think I'll stay 5 star next time :o)
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!