We walked a small distance (about 30 minutes) from Old Quarter to Ba Dinh Square. The world around us changed from chaotic to orderly.
The first monument came into sight was the Flag Tower (1812). It is part of the Citadel compound (1010), now awarded the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Another short walk will lead to a wide open field, the Ba Dinh Square. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is dominating the flat skyline.
The building was built by Soviet Union as a gift to the Vietnamese in 1975. The mausoleum is no longer opened to to visitor. So tourists could stand at a distance (prohibited to walk near the compound) and watch gardeners trimming the flowers, or painters painting the flower pots and structure.
The Presidential Palace situated next door to the Mausoleum. Visitors could pay a small fee to visit ho Chi Minh’s Memorial Site. The palace was situated in the same garden but visitors were not allowed to take pictures from the front, so the only angle allowed was at a distance from the garden path.
The memorial site has a nice garden with matured trees and plenty of fruit tree (even the lane has name liked “Mango Street”). The main attraction in the Memorial Site was Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House, where he lived and worked from 1958 to 1969. As the president of a country, it was surprising to many visitors to discover how simple was Uncle Ho’s life style.
What a wonderful world it would be if all the government officers and learders focus on serving the people instead of spending tax payers’ money on lavish lifestyle.
On the exit route, you won’t missed the sight of the iconic One-Pillar Pagoda. It was a replica to replace the larger wooden pagoda damaged by French in 1954. The interesting part of this pagoda was that the base rested on single pillar, which resembled the shape of lotus flower.