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Hoa Lo Prison, Hanoi

Categories: History Museums, Historic Sites, Museums, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
3.9/5 based on 5,500+ reviews on the web
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. Make Hoa Lo Prison part of your personalized Hanoi itinerary using our Hanoi trip builder.
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  • We have three boys 8, 7 and 4 and I wasn't sure I wanted to expose them to the horrors and tragedies of what went on in the prison, but Hoa Lo Prison isn't as confronting as some of the other ones we ...  read more »
  • Well worth a visit providing so much detail about the experience of inmates at the hands of The French and Vietnamese. 
  • Take the time to visit this prison. It's an excellent representation of the French Occupation of VN. There are sculptures of prisoners and real photos, fascinating! 
  • Got a good glimpse of the sufferings of the Vietnamese during the French occupation and how their sheer will brought them through the rebellion and freedom. Rather morbid place but a definite must-go to learn more about its great history (which translates into its delicacies!). Remember to bring a student pass for a ticket discount.
  • My favorite place in Hanoi, where you can get to know the history of Vietnam during wartime, and at the same enjoy the quiet & fresh air amidst busy Hanoi. However, be critical while taking in the information provided there.
  • Throughly enjoyed my visit here at Hoa Lo Prison. So much history and very engaging. Definitely recommend to come here! For 30,000vnd it's totally worth it :).
  • A partially preserved colonial era jail. Senator John McCain reports he lived here longer than any other 'home' on earth. US prisoners nicknamed this house of torture "The Hanoi Hilton". After the American War, the Vietnamese displayed their great sense of humour by knocking most of the prison down to permit the Hilton to erect a real hotel next to what remains!
  • Hoa Lo Prison is a fascinating little museum in the heart of Hanoi. It's only a few dollars to enter and will take you about 45 minutes to read and see the entire museum. If you're American, it's interesting because they housed several famous POWs including Senator John McCain. I recommend going in the morning to start your day out right before grabbing a coffee nearby.
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