Hoa Lo Prison

Attraction Hoa Lo Prison Hoả Lò Trần Hưng Đạo, Hoàn Kiếm Hà Nội Published on: 28-04-2017

1 hour
08:00 AM - 05:00 PM
03:00 PM
04:00 PM
First-time visit
Must see
1.34 USD

Hoa Lo Prison is good for

Good for family with kids Family with kids No
Good for senior Senior Good
Good for couple Couple Good
Good for solo Solo Good
Good for group Group Good
  • Highly recommended by fellow travellers.
The Hoa Lo Prison, later known to American prisoners of war as the "Hanoi Hilton", was a prison used by the French colonists in Vietnam for political prisoners and later by North Vietnam for prisoners of war during the Vietnam War.

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Why Hoa Lo Prison is special ?

In 1993, on the ground of Mars Lo tower Hanoi - a trade center was built, the rest became a historic revolutionary special capital, which is evidence of the crime area of France. Here preserved many documents and records of the indomitable example, combat sacrifice of generations of Communist soldiers arrested from here. Areas cauliflowers are also pretty much intact with your documentation, the exhibition of science, is interesting attractions, attracting many domestic and foreign tourists every opportunity to Hanoi.

What to explore at Hoa Lo Prison?

This thought-provoking site is all that remains of the former Hoa Lo Prison, ironically nicknamed the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ by US POWs during the American War. Most exhibits relate to the prison’s use up to the mid-1950s, focusing on the Vietnamese struggle for independence from France. A gruesome relic is the ominous French guillotine, used to behead Vietnamese revolutionaries. There are also displays focusing on the American pilots who were incarcerated at Hoa Lo during the American War.

These include Pete Peterson (the first US ambassador to a unified Vietnam in 1995), and Senator John McCain (the Republican nominee for the US presidency in 2008). McCain’s flight suit is displayed, along with a photograph of Hanoi locals rescuing him from Truc Bach Lake after being shot down in 1967.

The vast prison complex was built by the French in 1896. Originally intended to house around 450 inmates, records indicate that by the 1930s there were close to 2000 prisoners. Hoa Lo was never a very successful prison, and hundreds escaped its walls over the years – many squeezing out through sewer grates.

How to get to Hoa Lo Prison?

Hoa Lo Prison is most easily accessible by taxi; 1 Pho Hoa Lo is right at the corner of Pho Ha Ba Trung, south of Hoan Kiem Lakeon the lip of the French Quarter. Read abouttransportation in Hanoi.

The Prison occupies the length of Pho Hoa Lo, which runs from Pho Hai Ba Trung to Pho Tho Nhuom. Only its southern end remains - the rest was swallowed up by the Hanoi Towers complex in the 1990s.

Selling points

  • The past at the center of the present.
  • Patriotic progaganda
  • Good for a few hours
  • Interesting and Insightful place
  • Nice Historic Museum
9 Days in Hanoi, Sapa & Halong Bay

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9.0 days
238.81 USD
Total travel distance
Number of places
32 places




Hoa Lo Prison Hoả Lò Trần Hưng Đạo, Hoàn Kiếm Hà Nội

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Tips for you

  • There is a lunch break from 11:30am to 1:30pm.
  • You are not allowed to take photo.


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The bunkbed wasn't very comfy. and no wifi!!!

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Well worth the visit! Quite eerie as this was the place where Vietnamese independence fighters & later US pilots were imprisoned. Even US senator John McCain was confined here.

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I love how the say the GI's had a great time here.....

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For 10.000 dong this is a must, filter out the patriotic 'internal struggles' and the 'American imperialists' and it makes for a very interesting visit.

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Don't believe everything you read in here - propaganda machine is alive and well. Interesting visit but not a lot of the original prison remains

TripAdvisor View more

To be able to understand the Nationalism of the country, a visit to this site is a must. Built by the French to jail Vietnamese Nationals, it shows what it took to drive out the French, and the United States. It was truly inspiring. I entered into Hoa Lo Prison during a violent monsoon downpour and actually had to remove my shoes due to the depth of the water at the entrance. When seeing me standing without shoes, a wonderful generous employee actually gave me his sandals, as he saw me walking gingerly in my bare feet. After a comfortable walk throughout the prison, on leaving I tried to tip that staff member, but he smiled and refused my money.

FourSquare View more

Well worth the visit! Quite eerie as this was the place where Vietnamese independence fighters & later US pilots were imprisoned. Even US senator John McCain was confined here.

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