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Hoa Lo Prison, Hanoi

4.1
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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9,637 reviews
Google
4.2
TripAdvisor
  • The prison provides a graphic insight into how the French treated Vietnamese radicals during their occupation and also how the Vietnamese treated the US military captured during the war. (From what I ...  more »
  • Museum around the prison in times of the French colonization and subsequently at the time of the Vietnam War. Both exposs are interconnected, so the stories are sometimes difficult to separate. On average you are here for an hour sweet. Entrance fee 1.5 Euro person.
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  • Really shocked at the horrible history! You can buy a booklet guide to inform you but you can also follow a guide who will explain the history of the prison and what went on there.  more »
Google
  • Its a very good place to come and learn about the history of vietnam. Prisoners of war and how it was like being in the prison back then. The place is very well preserved and constructed for tourist and all to experience the place back then. Highly recommend that you get a guide!
  • In almost ten years traveling South East Asia and I had a bit of an education here at Hoa Lo. Caught a woman picking my wallet out of a low pocket in my cargo shorts. We were in the room with the guillotine. Felt a slight touch and looked down to see my wallet hanging over the side. I caught a big break! Went to security. We watched her try it on instant replay. Asian woman working with a guy. As soon as I stopped her she went up to the guillotine and pretended to pose for a picture by the man! it took me a second to figure out what went down. I didn’t even see what she did next until the replay. She was also posing for the security camera! When I left they were doing a search. Be careful!
  • This is one of the must visit sites in Hanoi if you want to begin to get an idea of Vietnam's colonial past and more recent history. The other essential site is the Women's Museum which is also packed with historical information. The museum is only a very small part of the original prison as most has been redeveloped as a commercial high rise property, but there is more than enough remaining to give you a very clear idea of just how horrific this place was. Originally built by French colonial powers, this prison was one of many across Vietnam used to imprison and torture Vietnamese independence fighters. Many were executed and the guillotine is one of the grim exhibits here. There is plenty of display material to document many of the freedom fighters executed here but it is the barbaric and inhumane living conditions which also makes a powerful impact. People were thrown in here, shackled, and to be forgotten or got rid of. It's brutal. The more modern use of the prison during the Vietnam War is also very interesting. Obviously there is a lot more photographic evidence etc and more exhibits. As a Westerner it is interesting to experience reading about the war from an opposing view to the one we are usually given at home. There is plenty of propaganda woven in to the choice of exhibits and how they are presented, but then history is written by the winners as they say.
  • Friendly and efficient staff. Good security. Clean room and comfortable bed. Just need to add maybe a few more selections on room service food menu.
  • “Interesting and depressing” Admission is about 40k dong/person. Another 20k dong for the “guide”, which is essentially a compilation of all the posters throughout the museum...no need to get it, doesn’t provide any additional information. Interesting “positive” propaganda regarding the treatment of American prisoners! Definitely worth a visit.
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