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Hoa Lo Prison, Hanoi

4.2
#3 of 38 in Historic Sites in Hanoi
Historic Site · Tourist Spot
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Nicknamed the "Hanoi Hilton" by U.S. soldiers during the Vietnam War, Hoa Lo Prison has seen generations of Vietnamese revolutionaries who fought against French colonialists. The prison was built by the French in 1896. By the 1930s, nearly 2,000 political prisoners were incarcerated in the cells originally constructed to hold no more than 450 inmates--in fact, hundreds of prisoners broke away over the years through the sewage system. During the 1990s, most of the prison was torn down, leaving only the gatehouse for the museum. See the notorious French guillotine, a ghastly relic of French colonial presence in Indochina. The exhibits include U.S. Senator John McCain's flight suit, which he wore when he was shot down and rescued by locals in 1967. Find out how to plan Hanoi trip without stress by asking Inspirock to help create an itinerary.
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Hoa Lo Prison reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.0
10,632 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • Definitely a sobering testament to history. Whitewashed by the Vietnamese as these magnanimous victors, completely neglecting the fact that John McCain could never raise his arms high enough to comb.....  more
    Definitely a sobering testament to history. Whitewashed by the Vietnamese as these magnanimous victors, completely neglecting the fact that John McCain could never raise his arms high enough to comb.....  more »
  • Well curated museum. Place-cards on exhibits in English. You don’t have to buy the audio tour if you’re on a budget. The information on the exhibits can suffice. Spend 1-2 hours here. 
    Well curated museum. Place-cards on exhibits in English. You don’t have to buy the audio tour if you’re on a budget. The information on the exhibits can suffice. Spend 1-2 hours here.  more »
Google
  • It's easy to find. Complimentary free moped parking is available out the front. Buy your tickets at the booth next to the moped Park. Once in you will be offered the audio tour pack. You don't have to have it as there are lots of information points to tell you what you're looking at. It's a fascinating place of history, sorrow and the seeds of a new country. The "American War" section is great if you know your history, especially the Everett Alvarez story as his belongings are on show. Take the good treatment of service personnel with a pinch of salt as this wasn't always the case but history is written by the winners. A truly enjoyable few hours and a great monument to the Vietnamese peoples struggles for independence and unification.
  • Emotional place. You will understand what kind of torture the Vietnam Political prisoners underwent during the French rule... hard to imagine how they survived in the prison with their legs cuffed to a long iron bar. Please take time to read the boards placed everywhere to understand more. The pics and stories kind of haunted me for couple of days. I liked the Souvenir shop. Toilet was clean. Overall, worth a visit. It's cheap too.. 30,000 VND only.

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