Following Independence in 1954, the new President Ho Chi Minh refused to live in it, as he thought it was too ostentatious and beyond his needs. Instead, he had a modest home built for himself in the grounds.
It was based on a traditional stilt-house. Uncle Ho and the Politburo would gather in the meeting room on the ground level, and there is a study and bedroom upstairs. Ho lived here for the last eleven years of his life, pottering about with his fruit and vegetables and tending to the fishponds. The house is simple, but elegant.
When Ho died in 1969, his wish was to be cremated and his ashes divided between the north, centre and south of the country, with just a simple shelter marking each site. Instead, he was embalmed, this Mausoleum was built and his body was put on public view. Thousands of people visit each year to pay their respects to Uncle Ho. Later, in the Old Quarter our lovely guides assisted Queenie to buy some ‘Moon Cakes’ for the Mid-Autumn Festival. After much consideration she finally chose lotus seed ones and red bean ones – both of which have sour eggs in the middle. Let’s just say they’re obviously an acquried taste!