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Hoa Lo Prison Museum

  • Sight: Hoa Lo Prison Museum
  • Type: Historic
  • Location:Hanoi - Vietnam
  • Address: Hoả Lò, Trần Hưng Đạo, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Việt Nam
  • Telephone: +84 4 3824 6358
  • Opening hours: 8am-5pm

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 pilots 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.

Tips And Reviews

54 Tips and reviews
- May, 23, 2016 -

Simple Discoveries

An interesting part of Hanoi's history. You will learn of brutal treatment by the French during occupation and how they opted to take care of captured US servicemen here. Entry runs 30,000VND.

- Mar, 07, 2013 -

5 Beo

First,build by French & detained Communist & Normal prisoner.Second,Hanoi used it to detained USA's pilot was shot down when Vietnam-US wartime.Now,this is a historic site for tourism

- Feb, 28, 2012 -


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.

- Sep, 09, 2014 -

Phat Buoy

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

- Aug, 23, 2017 -


Nice place to visit. You can learn about the wars versus France and USA. Short visit but interesting.

- Mar, 21, 2018 -

Max Wenneker

Worth going as an American for the history seen from the other viewpoint. Relatively quick tour. A ticket is $1, and you can get a quick guidebook for another $1.

- Nov, 01, 2016 -

Russell Hirschorn

Very well put together museum of sorts. Very sad story of the France occupation of Vietnam, but highly recommended.

- Jan, 25, 2014 -

Marieke 00

Impressive museum, buy the small book to get more information about what you see at the desk (20.000 dong) .

- Sep, 02, 2016 -

Martina Brusatore

Interesting point of you about vietnamise history against French domination. Probably there should be more English explainations to real understand everything

- Oct, 22, 2016 -

Rishi Dua

Takes about an hour to visit. Good historical place to stop by if you're in the area.

- Recommended Hanoi Day Trips -

Hanoi City Day Tour


Trang An Eco – Hoa Lu 1 Day Tour


Hanoi Fabulous Food Day Tour

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