Hanoi Hilton, Hanoi

Hanoi Hilton, Hanoi (must see)

The Hoa Lo prison in Hanoi, sarcastically referred to as the Hanoi Hilton by American POWs in the 2nd Indochina War, is a vast prison complex built by the French in the style of the Maison Centrales a euphemism used for prisons in France. At first it was used as a prison, detention and torture center for revolutionaries struggling for independence from France. During the Vietnam War, the prison was used to house several American pilots whose planes were shot down by Vietnamese forces.

The Hoa Lo prison was built by the French between 1886 and 1901. Hoa Lo means fiery furnace or stove in Vietnamese. The facility was built to house 450 inmates. During the freedom struggle, the prison had more than 2000 Vietnamese inmates living in sub human conditions. Several tools of torture used by the French are preserved including a Guillotine used to behead early Vietnamese freedom fighters. From 1964 to 1973, the prison was a major POW detention facility and earned its name, the Hanoi Hilton. Well known inmates included Senator John McCain, the 2008 Presidential nominee of the Republican Party and Pete Peterson, who later became ambassador to Vietnam.

A small part of the original facility is preserved. The other part has now become a modern office and residential complex called the Hanoi Towers. Hanoi Hilton is located near the French quarter.

Operation hours: Monday - Sunday: 8 am - 5 pm

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Hanoi. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Hanoi Hilton on Map

Sight Name: Hanoi Hilton
Sight Location: Hanoi, Vietnam (See walking tours in Hanoi)
Sight Type: Museum/Gallery
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Hanoi, Vietnam

Create Your Own Walk in Hanoi

Create Your Own Walk in Hanoi

Creating your own self-guided walk in Hanoi is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Museums and Galleries

Museums and Galleries

Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, offers a vast collection of fantastic museums. Here you can learn about the importance and development of the Vietnamese society. The extraordinary venues are like mirrors of history, prepared to take you through a walk of this amazing civilization.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 Km or 3.4 Miles
Entertainment for Children in Hanoi

Entertainment for Children in Hanoi

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
Hanoi Introduction Walking Tour II

Hanoi Introduction Walking Tour II

Among the crowded streets of the Vietnamese capital, tourists may discover hidden little gems of great spiritual, political, and cultural value. Take a walk through the heart of the city and stumble across the massive monuments, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the remains of French occupation, as well as many other prominent landmarks.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.3 Km or 3.3 Miles
Top Religious Sites

Top Religious Sites

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Tour Duration: 4 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 9.0 Km or 5.6 Miles
Hanoi Introduction Walking Tour I

Hanoi Introduction Walking Tour I

Among the crowded streets of the Vietnamese capital, tourists may discover hidden little gems of great spiritual, political, and cultural value. Take a walk through the heart of the city and stumble across the massive monuments, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the remains of French occupation, as well as many other prominent landmarks.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.8 Km or 3 Miles