Ho Chi Mihn’s House in Thailand

Darkest Isan (where decent thais fear to tread), Part Nine

For the Americans reading is this blog, Ho Chi Minh is that damn pinko “grrr!” who as TV and Hollywood have proven on celluloid really didn’t kick the arse of the US army after all. For people in the rest of the world he was leader who fought to free his country from French, Japanese and US oppression. For we Londoners he’s a local boy done good. It’s not often a snow sweeper from Ealing goes on to found a country. This man lead a remarkable life , between 1923 and 1933 living in Hong Kong, Milan, Switzerland, Boston, New York, London, France, Russia and China, working as a cook’s assistant, waiter, pastry chef, co-founding the French Communist Party and writing for French magazines.

Ban Na Jok or the Thai Vietnam Friendship Village lies west of Meung Nakhon Phanong along the Sakhon Nakhon highway and was the residence of Ho Chi Mihn, or as the locals call him, Uncle Ho. Located a 30 minute bicycle ride from town centre, it’s an unmissable attraction, Uncle Ho himself walked from there to Sakhon Nakhon and then onto Udon Thani, so the so no excuses for not doing the short bike ride.

The Vietnamese and now Thai speaking as well village is a beautiful throwback into times of old, a devolved mixture of farmhouses, small freeholds and old wooden villas in their own grounds sprawling across erratic paddy fields, so different in style to Thai farmland you get a real sense of being in another country. Founded over 110 years ago with  most of the resident’s still today being Vietnamese,  it was an obvious place for Vietnamese migrants to settle in and Uncle Ho did for a time as he was building his movement to free Vietnam from colonialism back in ………. Well, there’s the first stumbling block. Exactly when Ho Chi Mihn lived in there is problematic, the high quality glossy brochure I got from the Ho Chi Mihn Museum tells us that Uncle Ho arrived at the house in 1923 and stayed for 7 years. However all biographies of Ho Chi Mihn I found say he only lived in the village between 1928 and 1929.

Whatever the real timing the house where Ho Chi Minh lived during the twenties gathering support for his campaign to free Vietnam is owned today by Mr Tiew and his energetic daughter Miss Kornkanok who speaks four languages and does her upmost to make you feel welcome, she lives in the house next to Uncle Ho’s and if your lucky may invite you in to chat to for ages.

While living in the house, Lung Ho(Thai) or Jin (Vietnamese) learnt Thai and supported himself by teaching  fishing to the locals, he also had a hand at forming the land around the village being a prolific gardener planting several coconut and areca tress that are still there today

The house has been changed little from when Uncle Ho lived there. I’ve seen a lot of old houses in Thailand preserved but they have been mansions and a lot of old peasant wooden houses not preserved, this is the first peasant house I’ve seen kept as it was in the early 20thcentury and apart from a collection of photos and memorabilia decorating the walls it gives a better experience at what a peasant’s life may have been like back then than anywhere else I have been in Thailand and is worth a visit for this alone. Also at the heart of the village is a new modern museum built with Vietnamese money celebrating the life of their former president. In the Communist spirit both Uncle Ho’s house and the museum are free to enter, donations appreciated.

4 responses to “Ho Chi Mihn’s House in Thailand

  1. Thanks Paul. A very interesting read. Certainly worth visiting if anyone finds themselves in that area. Are you able to mark this on a map?

  2. It’s on the Nakhon Pathom, Sakhon Nakhon Highway, setting out from Nakhon Pathon it’s about 5 km from the city then hang a left to the village (remember the name of the village). Then ride around the very devolved spread of houses and farmland cluelessly until eventually you stumble upon a sign saying (unamed) Place of Interest. Then its an unmarked house a few hundred metres down a small road from the sign, in the middle of all the other unmarked houses.

  3. Well, that sounds about as clear as mud but quite typical. At least there were some signs of sorts. Thanks.

  4. Ingolf Dierks


    “Paul Wilding on January 29, 2011 at 6:28 pm
    It’s on the Nakhon Pathom, Sakhon Nakhon Highway, setting out from Nakhon Pathon”

    Wrong! the town is Nakhon Phanom
    best regards Ingolf