Silence reigns as visitors file by the preserved body of Vietnam's revered leader, Ho Chi Minh. The long lines and quick glimpse are worth it; how often do you get to meet a historical figure in the flesh, so to speak? Although the embalming was against the former leader's wishes, it still makes for an interesting yet gruesome morning tour. The line can be long so bring water.
The mausoleum itself is a brooding, bunker-like edifice in granite and concrete modelled on Lenin’s tomb in Moscow.
Another link to the Soviet Russian era is the slow, exaggerated, stiff-legged marching of the guards, which mirrors the style once used by the guards at Lenin’s tomb.
The Mausoleum is best understood as a hallowed place and should be treated accordingly. Solemn, silent processional movement is expected and enforced by numerous armed guards who are quick to ‘shush’ the slightest hint of a raised voice.
The official opening time for the Mausoleum is 8am, but visitors are recommended to get there at least half an hour before that. The crowds quickly build up and the slow shuffling queue can seem to take an immoderately long time.