Nicknamed the "Hanoi Hilton" by U.S. soldiers during the Vietnam War, Hoa Lo Prison has seen generations of Vietnamese revolutionaries who fought against French colonialists. The prison was built by the French in 1896. By the 1930s, nearly 2,000 political prisoners were incarcerated in the cells originally constructed to hold no more than 450 inmates--in fact, hundreds of prisoners broke away over the years through the sewage system. During the 1990s, most of the prison was torn down, leaving only the gatehouse for the museum. See the notorious French guillotine, a ghastly relic of French colonial presence in Indochina. The exhibits include U.S. Senator John McCain's flight suit, which he wore when he was shot down and rescued by locals in 1967. Find out how to plan Hanoi trip without stress by asking Inspirock to help create an itinerary.
Hoa Lo Prison Reviews
We decided to visit as part of our tour of the French and old quarter. We were really glad we stopped here. A well presented exhibition and museum which really allows you to appreciate the gravity of ... more »
An amazing experience, great to learn about some Vietnamese history. We took our time here and we really did learn a lot between the French liberation and the American war. Extremely worth a visit more »
Its a very good place to come and learn about the history of vietnam. Prisoners of war and how it was like being in the prison back then. The place is very well preserved and constructed for tourist and all to experience the place back then. Highly recommend that you get a guide!
In almost ten years traveling South East Asia and I had a bit of an education here at Hoa Lo. Caught a woman picking my wallet out of a low pocket in my cargo shorts. We were in the room with the guillotine. Felt a slight touch and looked down to see my wallet hanging over the side. I caught a big break! Went to security. We watched her try it on instant replay. Asian woman working with a guy. As soon as I stopped her she went up to the guillotine and pretended to pose for a picture by the man! it took me a second to figure out what went down. I didn’t even see what she did next until the replay. She was also posing for the security camera! When I left they were doing a search. Be careful!
Build a planTell us where and when you
want to go, we will build
the best sightseeing itinerary
Refine itYou have complete flexibility on your destinations and itinerary
Book as a packageUse our travel agents to get
package savings and hassle free booking
Enjoy your trip!Enjoy our 24x7
View all >
View all >
Hidden gems in Hanoi
Side trips from Hanoi
View all >
Nearby attractions in Hanoi
Plans to Hoa Lo Prison by other users
53 days in Australia, Vietnam & Hong Kong BY A USER FROM GERMANY December, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 13 days in Vietnam BY A USER FROM SPAIN November, fast-paced, popular sights PREFERENCES: November ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Fast-paced 16 days in Vietnam BY A USER FROM SWEDEN June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 32 days in Vietnam BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM January, popular sights PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 21 days in Vietnam BY A USER FROM INDIA December, popular sights PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 16 days in Vietnam & Cambodia BY A USER FROM GREECE April, culture, romantic, historic sites, wildlife, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, culture, romantic, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy