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Hoa Lo Prison Tours

Hoa Lo Prison
Built by the French in 1896 to hold Vietnamese political prisoners and known originally as Maison Centrale, Hoa Lo Prison was taken over by the Vietnamese in 1954. During the American War (Vietnam War), it housed American POWs, who referred to it as the “Hanoi Hilton.” Today, parts of the original prison have been turned into a museum.
 
The Basics
Most of the original prison has been demolished, but a small corner has been preserved as a museum and memorial. Visitors can tour prison cells and see exhibits showing the conditions under which prisoners lived, including life-size models of shackled prisoners in stockades. Most of the exhibits focus on the prison’s use through the mid-1950s and the Vietnamese struggle for independence, though there are some displays relating to American soldiers incarcerated there. Original relics include a French guillotine and tunnels used by prisoners to escape.
 
Combine a tour of the museum with a sightseeing tour of other top war attractions, including the Vietnam Military History Museum and Ngoc Ha Village, where part of a downed B-52 has been preserved. The museum can also be combined with visits to other top Hanoi attractions, such as the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, or the Temple of Literature.
 
Things to Know Before You Go
  • Hoa Lo Prison is a must-visit for war and history buffs.
  • There are gruesome displays here that are not suitable for children.
  • A visit to the prison can be an emotionally difficult experience.
  • Most of the displays have English translations.
  • Expect some of the displays to reflect propaganda.
 
How to Get There
Hoa Lo Prison is located near the French Quarter in Hanoi, about a 15-minute walk from Hoan Kiem Lake. Buses 2, 9, 40, and 49 stop nearby. Look for a bright yellow building with the sign “Maison Centrale.”
 
When to Get There
Hoa Lo Prison is open daily, year-round, with a break for lunch. Most visitors spend between 60 and 90 minutes here. Hoa Lo Prison is located near Ambassador’s Pagoda, which makes for an easy sightseeing pairing.
 
American POWs
Hoa Lo Prison was one of the main areas where American pilots shot down over Vietnam were held. Famous former inmates include Admiral James Stockdale, Brigadier General Robinson Risner, Pete Peterson (the first US ambassador to a unified Vietnam), and Senator John McCain. McCain’s flight suit is displayed, along with a photo of his capture from Truc Bach Lake after he was shot down.
Address: Hoa Lo, Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam
Admission: Varies
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74 Tours and Activities to Experience Hoa Lo Prison

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Highlight- Hanoi city tour and Cycle around old quarter

Highlight- Hanoi city tour and Cycle around old quarter

star-4
Discover the best that Hanoi has to offer on this small-group city tour. Visit key landmarks such as the Ho Chi Minh Complex dedicated to the former leader, the Confucian Temple of Literature, Tran Quoc Pagoda in the middle of the lake, and the Hoa Lo Prison also known as the Hanoi Hilton. Learn about the history of Vietnam from your guide and discover Hanoi’s Old Quarter by bicycle.
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  • 6 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$32.83
From
US$32.83

Withlocals Highlights & Hidden Gems: Best of Hanoi Private Tour

Withlocals Highlights & Hidden Gems: Best of Hanoi Private Tour

star-5
The narrow streets and alleyways of old Hanoi can be hard to navigate. Forget guidebooks and itinerary planning, and immerse in this ancient city’s rich culture with a dedicated private guide. Enjoy the sorts of insights only a local can provide as you explore markets, temples, alleyways, historic homes, the French Quarter, the Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake, and even Hoa Lo Prison.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$37.42
Price varies by group size
From
US$37.42
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Hanoi War Sites Walking Tour

Hanoi War Sites Walking Tour

Hanoi war sites walking tour will lead you to Military history museum (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday) or French Quarter (Monday and Friday) and Hoa Lo prison to help you to discover the history of Vietnam’s modern wars.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$5.13
From
US$5.13

Half-Day Morning Tour of the Highlights in Hanoi with Lunch

Half-Day Morning Tour of the Highlights in Hanoi with Lunch

star-4.5
Follow in the footsteps of one of Vietnam’s most famous men as you explore the streets of Hanoi on this small-group adventure tour. Pay a visit to the Temple of Literature and the notorious Hanoi Hilton prison. Follow your expert guide on a walking tour of the Old-Quarter and enjoy the expertise and knowledge that comes from being led by a local.
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  • 4 hours to 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$39.00
From
US$39.00
Taking safety measures

Hanoi Military tour for Half day city

Hanoi Military tour for Half day city

star-5
Half day Military tour to explore Hanoi city is idea for tourist, who's interesting in Vietnam's History and War. The tour will bring tourist an overview of Vietnam country, people, and the answer what made Vietnamese people could be successed with 2 big enemy: French and American.
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  • 3 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$76.93
Price varies by group size
From
US$76.93
Price varies by group size

Top thing to do in Hanoi - Hanoi city tour with water puppet show

Top thing to do in Hanoi - Hanoi city tour with water puppet show

star-4.5
Explore the capital city of Hanoi on this small-group guided tour. The itinerary includes top attractions such as the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Hoa Lo Prison, and the popular Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre where a pool of water serves as the stage for puppets. Plus, you’ll have the chance to bike around Hanoi’s old quarter.
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  • 6 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$26.67
From
US$26.67

Hanoi City Small Group Tour and Water Puppet Show

Hanoi City Small Group Tour and Water Puppet Show

star-5
This city tour and cooking class is ideal for traveler who want to both see the sights of Hanoi and have a delicious foodie experience. Visit temples, museums, and other must-see attractions on a convenient introductory tour. Learn to cook Vietnamese food from a professional chef, so you can eat authentic food even after you’ve returned home. This is a fun-filled and varied day tour.
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  • 8 to 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$25.65
From
US$25.65

Hanoi French Quarter Walking Tour: The Present and the Past

Hanoi French Quarter Walking Tour: The Present and the Past

star-5
During this 3-hour walking tour, travelers will be able to explore the spectacular cultural and historical beauty of celebrated landscapes such as St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Hanoi Opera House, Hoa Lo Prison, Hoan Kiem Lake, so on. This tour will definitely bring you an amazing experience through the intriguing stories told by our guide, who are super enthusiastic, informative and good at English as well. If you are really into French architecture, or just merely want to see a different vision of this bustling capital, a tour around Hanoi French Quarter is a perfect pick. Let’s take a tour and enjoy the wonderful adventure!
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$16.00
From
US$16.00

Hanoi Walking War Sites Tour

Hanoi Walking War Sites Tour

star-5
Vietnam is famously known as the nation with a lengthy history of resistance wars against oversea invaders. If you are a history lover, Hanoi War Sites Tour should be on your must-see checklist. This scenic tour will provide you an insight right into the period of the Vietnamese Battles and its consequences. Our visiting sites will certainly be the Hoa Lo Prison and Vietnam Military History Museum. Let's dive in! Can't wait to see you.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$15.00
From
US$15.00

Ha Noi City Tour And Cooking Class

Ha Noi City Tour And Cooking Class

star-5
Discover Ha Noi’s rich cultural heritage with this city tour and cooking class package. Spend your morning ticking off top landmarks, including the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex and Vietnam Museum Of Ethnology, then immerse yourself in the city’s culinary scene with a traditional cooking class led by a professional chef. Round-trip transportation by air-conditioned bus ensures a hassle-free full-day experience.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$38.15
From
US$38.15

Private Hanoi city tour and water puppet show

Private Hanoi city tour and water puppet show

star-5
Enjoy personalized attention from your guide on this comprehensive tour of Hanoi. You’ll make good time hitting all the top highlights—Hoa Lo Prison, the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, the Ho Chi Minh Complex, and others—since you don’t have to wait for a large tour group. Your guide will tailor their commentary to your interests. Finish up with a water puppet show or a cycle around the Old Quarter.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$69.75
From
US$69.75

Private Hanoi Classic City Tour

Private Hanoi Classic City Tour

star-5
Explore the fascinating history and rich culture of Vietnam’s capital city on this all-day tour. After a convenient hotel pickup, travel by private vehicle to important sites like Ba Dinh Square, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Hanoi Opera House, the Temple of Literature, and the notorious prison where United States Senator John McCain was held. Enjoy a rickshaw ride and a delicious lunch before returning to your hotel.
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  • 7 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$85.13
Price varies by group size
From
US$85.13
Price varies by group size

Half Day Hanoi military themed tour by Jeep

Half Day Hanoi military themed tour by Jeep

star-5
Explore Vietnam’s military history on this half-day guided excursion by Jeep. After a convenient hotel pickup, visit the “Hanoi Hilton,” a former French prison-turned-museum that housed Vietnamese revolutionaries in the Indochina War and American fighter pilots during the Vietnam War. Then head to the Vietnam Military History Museum to see war time artifacts, and stop by Huu Tiep Pond to see a shot-down Bomber 52.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$125.65
From
US$125.65

Hanoi sightseeing tour with motorbike

Hanoi sightseeing tour with motorbike

We would like you to have the authentic and the unforgettable experience of travelling Vietnam. This private tour means every things private. You can customize all of this aspect and you can also tailor your tour. 8:30 AM: Our tour guides will pick you up at your hotel to start the tour, please be ready at lobby on time. We will explore the smallest and busiest street in Hanoi to see the real local people in here. We have the absolute best tour guides who are friendly, knowledgeable, outgoing and love to show you the real Vietnam. 9:20 AM: Keep exploring, we visit to The Opera house, Temple of Literature or Hoa Lo prison, Ho Chi Minh complex, Tran quoc pagoda, Hoan Kiem Lake, West Lake, the beautiful and romantic streets in Hanoi, Long Bien bridge (Long Bien railway to take picture) 11:30 AM: Have a lunch in Vietnam restaurant 12:15 AM: Drink the special coffee in Vietnam (egg coffee). Our tour guide will drop you off your hotel and thanks you for joining tour with us.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$56.42
From
US$56.42

Private sightseeing highlight Hanoi City Tour with car

Private sightseeing highlight Hanoi City Tour with car

We would like you to have the authentic and the unforgettable experience of travelling Vietnam. This private tour means every things private. You can customize all of this aspect and you can also tailor your tour. 8:30 AM: Our tour guides will pick you up at your hotel to start the tour, please be ready at lobby on time. We will explore the smallest and busiest street in Hanoi to see the real local people in here. We have the absolute best tour guides who are friendly, knowledgeable, outgoing and love to show you the real Vietnam. 9:20 AM: Keep exploring, we visit to The Opera house, Temple of Literature or Hoa Lo prison, Ho Chi Minh complex, Tran quoc pagoda, Hoan Kiem Lake, West Lake, the beautiful and romantic streets in Hanoi, Long Bien bridge (Long Bien railway to take picture) 11:30 AM: Have a lunch in Vietnam restaurant 12:15 AM: Drink the special coffee in Vietnam (egg coffee). Our tour guide and driver will drop you off your hotel and thanks you for joining tour with us.
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  • 4 hours 5 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$66.67
From
US$66.67

 Ha Noi private city tour full day and cyclo

Ha Noi private city tour full day and cyclo

star-5
Travel to the most iconic destinations in Hanoi, The Temple of Literature -The first university of Vietnam, the spiritual Tran Quoc pagoda with its Buddism features, The Youth street or the street of love, The historical Ba Dinh Square where Vietnam was officially born, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum where he lived and worked, Hoa Lo prison where the reality of the war still remains here. Join with our knowledgeable tour guide to know about the city, all the aspects, the story that only local people would understand, and of course, to try amazing local cuisine. Please 1 hour off cyclo ride around the Old Quater.
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  • 7 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$75.81
From
US$75.81

Private Tour: Hanoi Half a Day City Tour

Private Tour: Hanoi Half a Day City Tour

Join us for 4 hours in the morning or in the afternoon, This is Vietnam Tours will let you know about the most attractive places to visit. The tour guide will pick you up at your hotel in the Old Quarter and take you to visit the Ho Chi Minh Complex. Within the complex are Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House and the Presidential Palace and the One Pillar Pagoda. The next stop is the Temple of Literature, the first university of Vietnam.Then, at the Hoa Lo Prison. A cup of coffee will be served after. At the end, the car will drop you off at your hotel.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$71.80
From
US$71.80

Full-Day Hanoi City Private Car Charter

Full-Day Hanoi City Private Car Charter

star-5
Discover Hanoi at your own pace with a custom-made itinerary and a personal chauffeur on this full-day self-guided tour. Travel in the comfort of a private vehicle with hotel pickup and drop-off included, and hop out to explore sights such as the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Tran Quoc Pagoda, or Hoan Kiem Lake.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$85.13
per group
From
US$85.13
per group

French culture & Maison Centrale

French culture & Maison Centrale

Established in the late 19th century by the French Colonial administration, the building's faded yellow façade and opal green shutters mask the horrors of imprisonment that occurred behind the walls. View the small cells, 6 feet by 6 feet (1.8 meters by 1.8 meters), and see the bed frames and straw mats where prisoners slept. Window shutters were kept closed and the prison was usually overcrowded. A prison guard, say “it is easy to die but hard "
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$39.47
per group
From
US$39.47
per group

Hanoi One Day Tour - What's Still Hide In Vietnam Capital City?

Hanoi One Day Tour - What's Still Hide In Vietnam Capital City?

star-5
Venture through the capital of Vietnam with this comprehensive and informative experience.  Ask your guides about Vietnamese history and culture as you visit key historic and cultural sites like the Hồ Chí Minh Mausoleum Complex (where President Hồ Chí Minh declared the country’s independence), the One Pillar Pagoda (a historic wooden Buddhist temple), and Hoàn Kiếm Lake with lunch in the Hanoi’s Old Quarters.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$31.80
From
US$31.80

 Ha Noi Private city tour and water puppet private tour

Ha Noi Private city tour and water puppet private tour

star-5
-Travel to the most iconic destinations in Hanoi, learning about the rich and unique history of this city, with our knowledgable guides, every question of you will be answered, The Temple of Literature - The first university of Vietnam, the spiritual Tran Quoc pagoda with its Buddism features, The Street Of Love, , Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex , Hoa Lo prison where shreds of the evidence of the war still remain here. - Not only that, enjoy a water puppet show, an art form that dates back to the 11th century. The tradition of water puppet theatre stems from a time when rice paddy fields were flooded and villagers would make entertainment by standing in the waist-deep water with the puppets performing over the water.
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  • 7 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$98.66
From
US$98.66

Hanoi Street Food Tour & Old Quarter Walking Tour (Full Day)

Hanoi Street Food Tour & Old Quarter Walking Tour (Full Day)

A Walking Tour & Food Tour is made for you who want to explore Hanoi Old Quarter in a true local way! ----- ITINERARY ----- - Private - Hanoi Old Quarter Walking Tour By Volunteer Guide (3 hours) + Really understand the culture of Hanoi + Meet locals and have fun + Save Time (We show you where to go) * Duration: 3-4 hours * Transportation: Walking * Guide: University students (The future of Vietnam) * Group size: Private tour - Small Group - Street Food Tour (3 hours) + Enjoy the real local street foods with a local guide + Learn how to grab food, how to make food like a local + Relax and have fun with locals by sharing local tips + Reasonably customizing your tour * Duration: 3-4 hours * Transportation: Walking * Guide: Professional guide * Group size: From 1 to 8 persons
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$30.77
From
US$30.77

5 Hours Hanoi Motorbike Tour with Local Guide around City Center & Countryside

5 Hours Hanoi Motorbike Tour with Local Guide around City Center & Countryside

star-5
Welcome "5 Hours Hanoi Motorbike Tour with Local Guide around City Center & Countryside" providing adventures for travelers who want to see not only the famous landmarks, but get a glimpse of the hidden gems and authentic lifestyle of Hanoi’s locals. Our tours take you off the beaten path into the labyrinth of alleys and back streets that tour buses and cars simply can’t access. Tourists will seat on the back of our motorbike to discover Hanoi city with 5 hours. We will visit not only tourist sights like: Hồ Chí Minh Mausoleum, B52 Lake,Trấn Quốc Pagoda, Long Biên Bridge, Hanoi Opera House, Hoàn Kiếm Lake, Hanoi Church, but also lots of allies where you can see the real life of the local as Local House, Family ,Countryside... Our Local Tour Guides are knowledgeable, friendly, young.and speak English very fluently and drive motorbike well. We guarantee that you will have unique and fantastic experiences with our motorbike tours!
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$43.59
From
US$43.59

Hanoi French Quarter Tour (by AZ Local NPO)

Hanoi French Quarter Tour (by AZ Local NPO)

star-4.5
Choose this special walking tour and discover Hanoi like a local: with this tour run by a non-profit organisation. Support this local cause and enjoy a unique tour, with fun stories from your enthusiastic guide. Discover a town rich in history and culture: a fantastic introduction to Hanoi. Observe the Neo-Gothic style St Joseph’s Cathedral, the grand decor of the Opera House and visit the picturesque Hoan Liem Lake. Visit the historically significant Hoa Lo Prison: previously used for housing Vietnamese political campaigners.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$5.20
From
US$5.20

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What's the best way to experience Hoa Lo Prison?

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