May 29, 2017 – Hỏa Lò Prison


A Piece of the Sewer that Prisoners used to Escape

See more photos here.

Luckily, Grace, Alexus, and I are all big foodies! Therefore, we had no problem trying matcha soft-serve ice cream at Yamamoto Matcha Café for breakfast. It was delicious! Later on, we also got some wonderful bingsu!

In the afternoon, we explored Hỏa Lò Prison, which was constructed from 1886 to 1901. It held Vietnamese political prisoners and later U.S. Prisoners of war (POW) during the Vietnam War. In the 1990s, the prison was largely demolished except for the gatehouse which remains as a museum.

I was surprised that the French still used two guillotines to execute approximately 7 prisoners. Additionally, I was surprised that anyone was able to escape, however several people actually did.

It seemed almost laughable that when the Vietnamese captured American pilots and held them captive that the prison was sarcastically known as the Hanoi Hilton”. Accordingly, the Americans were treated like “kings”. Pictures show them making Christmas dinner and playing badminton. However, when researching more into the POWs treatment, this was propaganda.

In the evening, the three of us boarded a night bus with just our day packs and slept on the way to Sapa.


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