After the unforgettable experience visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Kristi and I found ourselves with other visitors on walkway behind the mausoleum building that led to another part of the Ho Chi Minh Complex. We had the option of exiting, or purchasing tickets to tour the rest of the complex.
There were many people there, and it was somewhat chaotic. The majority of the visitors looked like local Vietnamese. It was very different compared to our visit to Angkor Wat in Cambodia that was dominated by foreigners. We saw quite a diverse groups of people too; we could see some people came as a family with kids and elderly grandparents, some others came with their friends. We even saw a couple that was dressed up quite nicely accompanied by a photographer. It looked like they were doing engagement or wedding photo shoots there — a peculiar place for doing such photo shoots.
The first building that we passed was the Presidential Palace. This building was built by the colonial French government as the palace for the Governor of Indochina. After the Vietnamese took over, they wanted to turn it into the palace for the President. However, Ho Chi Minh refused such luxury and chose to stay at a more modest house nearby. That house was also part of the display at the complex. You could see the garage where Ho Chi Minh cars were housed (they were quite ordinary French Peugeot sedans), and you could see through glass windows the settings of the living room and dining room of Ho Chi Minh’s home that also looked quite ordinary. I think the point that they wanted to make was that Ho Chi Minh decided to live a humble and simple lifestyle rather than taking advantage of his power as the leader of the country.
There was also another house on stilts that was Ho Chi Minh’s residence at a different point during his rule. You could walk also and see the interior of the house. It actually looked like a nice, cozy place to retreat, again, quite a simple lifestyle. There was a sizeable koi pond in between the buildings, adding more peaceful ambience to the whole place (despite of the multitude of visitors roaming around the complex).
The photo below was taken just before we started our tour around the residence. You could see the couple getting their picture taken with the Presidential Palace as the background.