Belief in spirits and the afterlife is ingrained into the Vietnamese psyche, so Vietnam abounds in stories of ghosts and haunted places. These places are not in isolated, remote areas; they can be found in the heart of the most modern cities.
Now that Halloween season is around the corner, a visit is warranted to three of the most famous haunted locations in Vietnam.
Are they really haunted? Many, if not most, will tell you they are true. To paraphrase a famous saying about beauty, reality lies in the mind of the believer.
In Vietnam, people believe that the spirits should be respected and left in peace, and not provoked. You have to be respectful. The locations mentioned below might not allow entry, it is good to ensure official permission to check them out. Do not trespass.
Abandoned building – 300 Kim Ma Street, Hanoi
Photo acquired by VnExpress
This is one of the most famous haunted buildings in Hanoi. Located at 300 Kim Ma Street, Hanoi, this grand building, which was supposed to be used as an embassy, has been abandoned since the 90s.
According to many locals in the vicinity, a hospital once used the premises. But too many patients died there, and it became a graveyard.
Later on, a building was built on this land. For some unknown reasons, it was never used. There is a lot of speculation about why the building was abandoned. It has been said that the people who built the place did not pay tribute to the spirits there, so the spirits wouldn’t leave people be.
Others blame it on bad Feng shui. They say the front of the house looks like a coffin; the house design is too air tight and the porch roof points inward. The design of the house allows the negative and bad energy from the road to come in and accumulate.
People walking by the building at night have reported hearing weird noises like footsteps, echoes of doors being opened, things being moved around and seeing wisps.
In February 2009, a murder happened in front of the building. A man was found with his throat slit in his Lexus car. He was killed by his young girlfriend a day before Valentine’s Day after an altercation.
Abandoned villas – Prenn Pass, Da Lat
Photo acquired by VnExpress
Anyone who goes through Prenn Pass in the Central Highlands city of Da Lat can easily spot these two old, abandoned French villas peeking from behind the trees. The locals call them “Ghost villas”.
From the outside, the villas seem intact. However, the inside is empty: there are no doors, no furniture; the walls are covered with moss outside and drawings left behind by visitors inside. There are also a few incense bowls (used to pray to spirits) and flowers. About 10 meters to the left of the villa is a small shrine.
The second villa is about 300m away and in the same condition as the first one. There’s also an altar in this villa, and it looks pretty new.
There are many eerie stories attached to this place. One of it is about a girl who was raped and killed by the French owner. Her body was thrown into a well in the yard. Another version of this story says the girl is a girlfriend of the villa’s owner, who got shot after he found out she was pregnant with his child. Another one is about a girl who committed suicide by hanging herself. Others have reported seeing ghosts of children running around the premises.
Then there is one story narrated by drivers that goes: “At midnight, a girl is seen trying to catch the bus, or get a ride, but as soon as a vehicle stops to let her in, the girl disappears.”
One of the rumors about the villas has been debunked. Three mysterious graves on the premises were found to be fake, built by a former guard as a scheme to get some cash.
Despite this, the villas remain to be the spookiest places in Da Lat.
The ghost of Hua’s family – District 1, HCMC
The front of the Museum of Fine Arts in HCMC. Photo by Shutterstock
Located at 97 Pho Suc Chinh Street, District 1, this fancy villa with 99 doors is now the Museum of Fine Arts. One of the most infamous urban legends in Saigon is attached to this place.
The villa was built by Hua Bon Hoa (1845-1901), one of the richest businessmen in Indochina. It belonged to a complex with 3 villas. It is said that the place is now haunted by Hoa’s daughter.
The story goes: Hoa had many sons but just one daughter. She was beautiful and loved by many around her. However, suddenly, she just disappeared. Not long after her disappearance, Hoa announced that his daughter had passed away. However, when some thieves tried to rob her grave, they said there was no body inside the coffin. It has been said since that she was still alive. People have said that they’ve heard sounds of a woman crying or screaming coming from one of the rooms. The speculation is that the daughter was alive, but had an incurable disease like schizophrenia or leprosy that prompted her father to lock her up, and thus, the once beautiful girl spent her last days on earth disfigured and captive.
There were also rumours that the grief-stricken father couldn’t bear to bury his daughter, so he kept her body inside, and her bedroom became her mausoleum.
Another story is told about an event that happened on her first death anniversary. For the occasion, Hoa bought a white dress and a doll for her. He ordered a maid to put them, along with a bowl of rice, into her room. The maid returned later to the room and discovered the bowl of rice was half eaten and it seemed like there was a girl, wearing the white dress, sitting on the coffin playing with the doll.
From then to now, there have been several reports of people seeing a girl wearing white dress walking along the corridors or standing by the windows.
Although most stories indicate that she stayed in the biggest of the three villas, some believe it was actually the third one, the smallest, where she was locked up.
Till today, the villas send chills down people’s spine and make the hairs in the back of their neck stand up.
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