No visit to Vinh should be complete without making the 20 minute journey from the city to Kim Lien. The historic birthplace of Bac Ho (Uncle Ho) or Ho Chi Minh. Here you will see the rustic village and rural setting that Ho Chi Minh grew up in.

Who Was Ho Chi Minh?

 

Ho Chi Minh, 1946

Ho Chi Minh, 1946

 

Ho Chi Minh was the first leader and founder of the Vietnamese communist party. He also served as president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam from 1945 until his death in 1969. He spent his life fighting for Vietnamese independence against the French and the United States.

Born in 1890 in the village of Kim Lien, Ho Chi Minh spent his early life in this village in the Nghe An province. Ho Chi Minh’s father, Nguyen Sinh Huy, was a scholar and civil servant who introduced Ho Chi Minh to many revolutionaries who opposed French colonial rule. Ho Chi Minh got his own start as a revolutionary at the age of 9 when he worked as a messenger for an anti colonial organization.

At 14, Ho Chi Minh left Kim Lien to attend the National Academy in Hue until his dismissal a few years later for taking part in anti French protests. In 1911 Ho Chi Minh worked as a cook on a French steam vessel which allowed him to travel to Europe, Africa and the United States, developing his language skills along the way.

Activism

The 1920’s and 1930’s were marked by scholarly activities and activism. In 1920 Ho Chi Minh founded the French Communist Party in Paris. From 1920 to 1923 he was a leader of the Vietnamese community in Paris and published several anti colonial journals. In 1925 he went to China to organize communist movements there.

In 1940 Ho Chi Minh returned to Vietnam for the first time in 30 years. There he met with members of the Indochinese Communist Party. It was at this time that Ho Chi Minh founded the Viet Minh, the organization which would fight for independence from French rule and Japanese military occupation. During World War II, Ho Chi Minh sought support for the Viet Minh, building relationships with diplomats and security officers. In 1945 as president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam to be a “free and independent country”.

War would later break out between Vietnam and France and then later between North Vietnam and South Vietnam supported by the United States.

Kim Lien

Kim Lien, the birthplace of Ho Chi Minh consists of 3 historic sites. The first is the reconstructed village where Ho Chi Minh was born and grew up. Here you will see several humble cottages. You are free to roam between them and see how the people here would’ve lived over a hundred years ago.

Birthplace of Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh’s Birthplace, flickr photo by David Brewer shared under (CC BY-SA 2.0)

 

In addition to the village, there is also a museum dedicated to the life of Ho Chi Minh. Here you can learn everything about his early years, to his escapades as a young man and finally his fight for Vietnam and communism. Most of the texts in Vietnamese are accompanied by English translations so it will be easy to get by.

Finally about 10 km from the site is a memorial to Ho Chi Minh’s mother. A beautiful site on a hill overlooking the Kim Lien village. Purchase flowers for 10.000 VND and lay them at the base of the memorial as a sign of respect.

If you’re on motorbike it will take you about 20 minutes to get to the village. Simply head west on QL46A and after about 12 km you’ll see the turn off to head into the village. Also be sure to visit the website to stay up to date. Events are often held in Kim Lien and if you know roughly when you will be in Vinh or Nghe An, you can plan around it.

Shrine To Ho Chi Minh

Nghe An

Nghe An and Vinh have plenty to offer. Kim Lien is just one of many historic sites the surrounding province has to offer. Be sure to check out our guide on Nghe An and Vinh city to find out what other things there are to do and see in this amazing area of Vietnam!