Visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a must in Hanoi. It's best to go early in the morning before the sun and heat really kick in (in summer). There is always a daunting line, but don't worry, it goes fast. Make sure not to bring a big backpack and they don't like big cameras, either. I had a small purse and a point-and-shoot that was fine. You shuffle along orderly and then when you reach the mausoleum white uniformed military guards make sure nobody loiters. Ho Chi Minh is encased in glass and has a yellow tinge to his skin. It's all quite peaceful, if not a little macabre. Afterwards foreigners have to buy a ticket to see his stilt house, the President's palace, his cars and the gardens he used to walk. Then there is the Ho Chi Minh museum which is filled with old photos and symbolic exhibits. That part was not my favorite. Everyone was screaming, kids were running wild and I found it hard to concentrate. Oh well. It is a very special place for the Vietnamese. Tons of souvenirs to buy afterwards. Uncle Ho goes to Russia every fall for 3 months to get freshened up, so check to make sure he's home before you go!
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