The humble abode of one of the most important political figures in Vietnamese history, President Ho Chi Minh's Stilt house is a must-visit while visiting Hanoi. The two-bedroom house is surrounded by a carp pond, and still contains his personal typewriter and armchair. Its sparse furnishings are an ode to the simplicity of the man who lived there.
Ho Chi Minh's Stilt House is built over stilts and mere wooden planks, where the founding father of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, popularly known to the people of Vietnam as 'Uncle Ho' resided from 1958 until his death till 1969. Uncle Ho rejected the grandeur of the Presidential Palace and instead decided to settle in a small, wooden, stilt house behind the palace. The house is built in a niche of the presidential palace and is surrounded by a beautiful carp pond, filled with freshwater life since the time of Uncle Ho. There is also a radiant garden full of Uncle Ho's favourite flowers and fruits like hibiscus, willows, flame tree and frangipani. One can reach the garden through a low gate covered with climbing plants.
The place has been well-maintained, matching the same conditions as Uncle Ho left it. The stilt house provides wonderful views through its airy doors and windows. The 'Mango Alley' is a 300-foot long road that takes you to the stilt house from the Presidential Palace visitors' ground in Hung Vuong Street. The alley is lined by numerous mango trees, giving it its name.
Ho Chi Minh's Stilt House consists of two small rooms, of which one was Ho Chi Minh's study and another was his bedroom. The rooms are barred; thus, you cannot enter but can be observed from the exterior walkway. They contain some of his artefacts and gifts from foreign leaders. A path leads to the back of the house, where the two rooms can be reached using stairs. Both the rooms are small, with an area of hardly about a hundred square feet each, and contain minimum personal belongings of Ho Chi Minh. The study is furnished with Ho Chi Minh's typewriter, newspapers of that time, books, and an electric fan donated by Japanese communists. The bedroom contains a bed, an antique telephone, electric clock, and a radio donated by expatriate Vietnamese in Thailand.
There is an empty space beneath the Ho Chi Minh's Stilt House which Uncle Ho used for parties and entertaining foreign delegates. Party officials, Generals and Foreign dignitaries would visit Ho Chi Minh in this area and sit on simple bamboo and wooden chairs. One corner of this space has a rattan armchair, which was the President's favourite resting spot where he would read and relax.