Trip Planner:   Asia  /  Vietnam  /  Hanoi  /  Museums  /  Hoa Lo Prison
Hoa Lo Prison, Hanoi
(4/5 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.
Create a full Hanoi itinerary
map

Plan your trip to Hanoi

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Plans in Hanoi by other users

5 days in Hanoi BY A USER FROM COLOMBIA December, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 17 days in Vietnam BY A USER FROM NETHERLANDS October, culture, relaxing, historic sites, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, culture, relaxing, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 27 days in Vietnam BY A USER FROM RUSSIA December, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 7 days in Vietnam BY A USER FROM OMAN February, popular PREFERENCES: February ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 6 days in Vietnam BY A USER FROM SRI LANKA April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in Vietnam BY A USER FROM PHILIPPINES February, popular PREFERENCES: February ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 14 days in Vietnam BY A USER FROM MAURITIUS December, culture, outdoors, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: December, culture, outdoors, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 6 days in Hanoi BY A USER FROM MALAYSIA January, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: January, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 32 days in Maldives, Hanoi & Malaysia BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 12 days in Hanoi & Maldives BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, popular PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Vietnam BY A USER FROM MALAYSIA January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Halong Bay, Ninh Binh & Hanoi BY A USER FROM MALAYSIA January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans
Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • This was a very informative (if somewhat biased) museum to visit while in Hanoi. The photos and details in the prison were interesting, and while the films leaned a little towards propaganda I learned...  more »
  • Fascinating place. It was interesting and somewhat offensive to see the persistent propaganda on the walls in the American soldiers' cells. They made is seem like it was summer camp for those POWs 
  • The Hanoi Hilton as it was aptly nicknamed by the US forces is interesting and very sobering. Some very explicit exhibits which make it dodgy for the squeamish. It lacks in organisation and is a bit r...  more »
Google
  • It was alright. There wasn't too much to see (and if you're an English reader even less to read since most of the stuff was in Vietnamese and French). It gave a pretty good idea into prison life and the purpose of the prison. The best part about visiting was the video on the second floor, which offered some good history. Too bad it's hard to properly read all the subtitles because the screen was not wide enough and it cuts off the beginning and end (hopefully they fix this), but it was OK.
  • Tad bit of propaganda here. Should have a guide following to explain would be better. There are such alikes in HCMC as wel
  • Hỏa Lò Prison was a prison used by the French colonists in Vietnam for political prisoners, and later by North Vietnam for U.S. Prisoners of War during the Vietnam War. During this later period it was sarcastically known to American POWs as the Hanoi Hilton. The prison was demolished during the 1990s, though the gatehouse remains as a museum.
  • Great, not crowded and quite interesting bit of vietnam history. Also expect quite a different view of vietnam war.
  • Nice museum. Some of the areas have been made tourist friendly, but still give you the idea of what the prison was all about. Recommended.