Admire the tasteful exterior and classical French styling of Hanoi’s former Presidential Palace. Wander through the garden of towering mango trees and discover the house on stilts where the former president lived and worked for more than 10 years.
Designed by architect Auguste Henri Vildieu and completed in 1906, the splendid Presidential Palace was originally built for the Governor General of Indochina. After the French evacuated Vietnam in 1954, revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh lived in these grounds until his death in 1969. Now used solely for official receptions and state events, the interior of the palace is off limits to the public. However, make a visit to the peaceful grounds and Ho Chi Minh’s famous house on stilts.
You may not be able to enter the Presidential Palace but you can still enjoy views of the impressive colonial building from various points around the grounds. Peer through the green wrought iron gates to see the pretty arched windows that line the mustard yellow façade beneath a red roof. Below this, glimpse a white stone staircase that leads to a porch full of lush shrubs and plants.
Take the walkway behind the palace to discover a garden of fragrant mango trees. After a short distance you will come out in a tranquil courtyard that holds a large pond filled with colorful carp. Here is where you will find the gorgeous house on stilts where Ho Chi Minh resided. For symbolic reasons he decided not to live inside the lavish palace. Explore inside to discover a simple and peaceful interior made entirely from polished wood.
The Presidential Palace and grounds are located on Hung Vuong Street in the western part of Hanoi. There is a small entry fee to access the grounds. The area is closed on Mondays and Fridays during the winter.