The Presidential Palace in Hanoi is a grand European style building used for official government business, with the grounds of the palace open to visitors.
Presidential Palace in Hanoi
The Presidential Palace opens to visitors from 08:00 to 11:30 and then from 14:00 to 16:00 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. The entrance fee is 25,000 VND (around $1 USD).
About the Presidential Palace
The Presidential Palace was built over a 6 year period from 1900 to 1906 by the French Colonial Government as the residence of the Governor-General of Indochina. The building was designed by French architect Auguste Henri Vildieu in the Beaux Arts architectural style which was fashionable in France at the time of construction. This grand yellow coloured building is distinctively European in appearance and incorporates no Vietnamese or Asian design features. The Palace has 30 rooms and is ornately furnished, although visitors are not allowed inside the the building to appreciate it.
Access to the Presidential Palace is restricted
Security at the Presidential Palace is very tight, perhaps overzealous considering the absence of any terrorist threat in Vietnam, and visitors possessions are screens before they enter the compound and guards are on hand to ensure that paying visitors are unable to get close enough to the Palace to see it clearly.
House on stilts where Ho Chi Minh lived
Following the withdrawal of the French from North Vietnam in 1954, the Government of Ho Chi Minh used the Presidential Palace as its base from 1954 to 1958. Ho Chi Minh himself publicly renounced the option of living in the palace in favour of building a small wooden house on stilts by the pond he had installed in the grounds of the palace. This decision to live in a small wooden house is a stark contrast to the opulence of the living arrangements of the government in the South which resided within the Independence Place, now known as the Reunification Palace, in Saigon which had a casino inside in addition to a range of other luxury amenities.
Carp pond at the Presidential Palace
The grounds of the Presidential Palace also has a charming pond with a fountain and a garage containing Ho Chi Minh’s collection of cars. The Presidential Palace receives a lot of visitors, mainly Vietnamese, largely because its very near to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the One Pillar Pagoda and Chua Dien Huu Pagoda.