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Hoa Lo Prison – entrance fee/history/architecture

The war was over for more than half a century, but the evidence of its cruelty remains.

At the end of the 19th century, in order to intensify the suppression of the people’s struggle movement, the French colonialists added a police system and a prison, including the Hoa Lo prison, which was dubbed the “Hell land of Hell ”. This is the largest colonial prison in Indochina, a testament to the history of a time full of hardships, symbols of resilience and indomitableness against the invaders of the nation.

Hoa Lo Prison

Entrance fee

Entrance Tickets: Ticket price: 30.000đ/person

Discount 50% for:

– Pupil and student (with a pupil or student card).
– Disability
– Orders (Vietnamese and over 60 years old).
– People with social policies

Free for:

– Children under 15 years old.
– Special disability 
– People who contributed to the revolution


In the craft pottery village of Vinh Khanh village, Vinh Xuong, Tho Xuong, Hanoi is where French colonists chose to build Hoa Lo prison in 1896. Hoa Lo prison was been the French named “Maison Centrale”, also known as” Hanoi Prison “. This is where the French colonists imprisoned and tortured both the spirit and the body of patriotic soldiers and revolutionaries. Many Party and State leaders have been detained here.

Hoa Lo Prison


Today, Hoa Lo Prison is located at No. 1, Hoa Lo Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. This is the central area so it is quite easy to move. If you use the bus, there are stops near Hoa Lo Prison such as 02, 32, 34, 38. You can look up the bus to the location via Website http://timbus.vn/


Under the French domination, Hanoi Hilton was built with the construction including stone walls of 4-meter height, 0.5-meter thickness and even electric steel wires as a reinforcer. Surrounded in the prison, four corners of four directions were arranged with watchtowers for the wardens to follow and observe closely and carefully every single action.

Hoa Lo Prison

Stone walls surrounded Hoa Lo Prison

The guards here were carefully trained from other prisons, who were notorious for their cruelty. All metal and glass equipment such as locks and hinges were imported from France and checked before construction.

Initially, this design only allowed Hoa Lo prison to own the container of about 500 prisoners. However, gradually, the area of Hoa Lo prison was getting bigger and bigger. As a result, the number of prisoners kept in this place was increased.

“Nobody in, nobody out”

According to the Vice Head of Hoa Lo Hanoi Relic Management, at the period of 1950-1953, 2000 prisoners could be kept at this place. At that time, Hoa Lo prison could be described “Nobody in, nobody out”, and even “an ant could not get through it”

All the prison complex is divided into 4 parts: A, B, C, D with the below separations:

  • A, B area: This is the part for prisoners in the investigation process, unimportant ones or violators toward the policies of the prison
  • C area: This is the part for French or foreign prisoners
  • D area: This is the part for prisoners waiting for execution of the death sentence

The Hanoi Hoa Lo Prison area in total of the entire prison complex at the old-time reached over 12.000 square meters. On the other hand, today, only 2.434 square meters of the area is kept and remained to turn into the historical relic mainly served for the purpose of visiting of those who would like to come and in their own eyes observe the surroundings in a colonial prison.

To get a tour which includes Hoa Lo Prison on the itinerary, please visit Hanoi tours of Go Vietnam Travel to get the best price.

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