Hoa Lo Prison
Hoa Lo Prison

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Nestled in the heart of Hanoi, the Hoa Lo Prison, also known as the "Hanoi Hilton," stands as a stark reminder of Vietnam's tumultuous past. This historical site, originally constructed by French colonists, bears witness to a complex narrative of struggle, resilience, and the indomitable spirit of the Vietnamese people. For travelers seeking a deeper understanding of Vietnam's history, a visit to Hoa Lo Prison offers a poignant journey through time.

The French Colonial Era

Built by the French during the late 19th century, Hoa Lo Prison initially served as a detention facility for political dissidents and anti-colonial activists. The prison's name, "Hoa Lo," translates to "fiery furnace," alluding to the blacksmith workshops that once occupied the site. However, its role evolved over the years, becoming a symbol of resistance during the struggle for independence.

The prison's imposing gates, high walls, and watchtowers reflect the architectural style of the French colonial period. As travelers enter this historical complex, they step into the footsteps of those who endured the hardships of incarceration in the pursuit of freedom.

Vietnam's War of Independence

Hoa Lo Prison gained international recognition during the Vietnam War, as it became a place of captivity for American prisoners of war (POWs). The term "Hanoi Hilton" was coined by the American POWs, somewhat ironically, to describe their place of confinement. The prison's notoriety during this period adds another layer to its complex history.

Visitors to Hoa Lo Prison can explore the American POW section, witnessing the conditions in which prisoners were held and gaining insight into the experiences of both Vietnamese and American individuals during this challenging chapter in history. Exhibits include photographs, personal belongings, and narratives that provide a multi-dimensional perspective.

The museum within Hoa Lo Prison features thought-provoking exhibits that recount the struggles and sacrifices of those who were imprisoned within its walls. Personal artifacts, historical documents, and vivid displays bring to life the stories of political prisoners, revolutionaries, and the resilience of the Vietnamese people.

One of the most impactful sections of the museum is the replication of the conditions in which political prisoners were held during the French colonial era. The cramped cells, shackles, and stark living conditions offer a somber reflection on the hardships endured by those who fought for the nation's independence.

The Spirit of Resilience

While Hoa Lo Prison bears witness to the harsh realities of the past, it also stands as a testament to the resilience and determination of those who struggled for freedom. The museum aims to preserve the memory of historical events and inspire reflection on the enduring spirit of the Vietnamese people.

For many visitors, a trip to Hoa Lo Prison is a solemn experience that prompts contemplation about the consequences of conflict and the importance of striving for peace. The site serves as a reminder that, even in the face of adversity, the human spirit can endure and triumph.

A visit to Hoa Lo Prison is a poignant and enlightening experience for travelers seeking to unravel the layers of Vietnam's history. From the echoes of the French colonial era to the somber tales of the Vietnam War, the prison encapsulates a complex narrative of struggle, resilience, and the pursuit of freedom.

Nearby Attractions


St. Joseph Cathedral

477 meter away

Hoàn Kiếm Lake

696 meter away

Ngoc Son Temple

855 meter away

Traveler Reviews

Showing 32 of 12,880 Reviews
Great mate
Ý nghĩa xúc động và biết ơn
베트남 독립을 위해 열심히 싸우신 투사님들에게 존경을 표합니다
photoreview-Sung Yong Sim-0
베트남의 역사를 짧게나마 느낄수 있고 알 수 있었네요.
photoreview-Green KIM-0
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Interesting but also Sombre feeling.
Một nơi đáng để tham quan và hiểu hơn về lịch sử
Very sobering experience, hire the audio guide if you don't have an actual guide as there is so much history here
Zeer indrukwekkend
베트남의 근대사를 배우기에 매우 적합한 장소다. 우리나라 항일운동과 서대문형무소와 비교해서 아이에게 설명해주니 아이가 좋아했다. 오디오 가이드를 들으면 천전히 베트남의 아픈 역사를 배울 수 있고 추모 공간이 있어 뜻깊은 시간이었다. 아이가 베트남이 통일이 되는 과정에 대해서 추가로 알게 되고 우리나라도 통일이 되었으면 좋겠다고 했다
"Hanoi Hilton", an important location to provide context to what their prisoners and American prisoners of war endured.
Well worth a visit. Quite interesting, with good displays. Was pretty busy when I was there on a Monday in late January.
Worth a visit. Interesting part of history
Trải nghiệm tuyệt vời khi có dịp nhìn lại bề dày lịch sử của dân tộc
photoreview-Tuấn Tường Trần-0
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Interesting historic place.
The "Hanoi Hilton" is a colloquial name for Hoa Lo Prison in Hanoi, Vietnam. Originally used by French colonists for political prisoners, it gained notoriety during the Vietnam War when American prisoners of war (POWs) were held there. The nickname "Hanoi Hilton" was a sarcastic reference by the American POWs. Today, part of the prison has been preserved as a museum, providing historical insights into Vietnam's past. Ticket Price: 50.000vnd Great place to visit
photoreview-Lee Ky-0
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photoreview-Lee Ky-17
베트남 아픈 역사를 볼 수 있는 곳입니다. 우리나라 서대문 형무소 같은 곳이지요. 우리와 비슷한 역사를 가진 나라, 또 한편으로 우리가 빚지고 있는 나라. 나라를 위해 고통받았던 분들께 묵념하고 오세요.
Tôi muốn quay ngược thời gian về lịch sử và nhốt người yêu cũ tồi tệ của mình vào đây để nó phải chịu những gì mà các tù nhân khi xưa đã phải trải qua. Người ấy tên K., sinh năm 99, cung Nhân Mã.
Ótimo pra refletir sobre quais os povos que se dizem civilizados e tentam impor à força sua forma de viver e pensar.
베트남의 근대사를 알수 있는 곳. 우리나라의 서대문 형무소와 비슷한 곳입니다.
베트남의 지난아픈역사를 조금더 깊이 알수있는곳이었어요 아이들과 함께 가셔도 좋을듯해요.
Best place in town. You have to come here
베트남의 아픈 역사른 볼 수 있는 곳
It was a good experience to learn about the history and stay in the real place. Recommended to come if you have time.
Must visit museum in Hanoi. Very touching history of the French occupation of Indochina and the military involvement of the US army. Stories told by Vietnamese, French and American prisoners reveal the truth about the conditions of being imprisoned by the enemy.
photoreview-Kuei Vilallonga-0
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It was a fantastic trip to Hoa Lo prison. I love the voice of the teller and the magnanimous atmosphere.
photoreview-Minh An Nguyen-0
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Interessant stukje geschiedenis
Very interesting visit. Audio guides excellent. Great history from French colonialism through to Vietnam imprisonment of American pilots. Well worth a visit. Allow about 1 1/2 hours using audio guide.
I felt it was a must visit whilst in Hanoi. It was well presented and I opted for the audible guide, well worth it, and it gave all the information the plaques did without the struggle of reading them. An insight into the inhumanity of man. Built within a few decades of St Joseph's Cathedral, but oh so different.
Very good museum depicting the history of the prison.
Sitio muy curioso de visitar y entender un poquito más de la historia y las vivencias del pais
A must in Hanoi to experience and learn about what life was like for prisoners. Lots of material to read, didn't feel the need for audio guide. Spent an hour here without rushing. Buy tickets at the door.
photoreview-Miles Tuley-0

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