Whether it’s a rainy, sunny or cloudy day, there’s not really a bad day to visit a museum. And if you’re in Vietnam, you’ll have a lot of opportunities to go to various museums. There’s especially many museums in the bigger cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Not only are museums incredibly important for preserving culture, traditions, art and history, it’s also a unique opportunity for you to learn more about Vietnam. Without museums, narratives would be lost. It preserves and protects our rich heritage from the past, and we often walk out feeling more educated and emotional. Museums bring out all sorts of feelings – whether it’s sad, happy, angry or frustrated feelings, you’ll definitely be touched in one way.
1. War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City
If you have to visit a museum in Vietnam, then make sure that you go to this one. Equally disturbing, educating and fascinating, this war remnants museum will definitely stir up some emotions. The museum first opened to the public in 1975 and welcomes thousands of visitors each year. There’s exhibitions which tells about the country’s tumultuous past wars, both the Indochina and the Vietnam war. Here you can see the inhumane ‘tiger cages’ where political prisoners were kept in confinement. Walk outside and you’ll see big US armoured vehicles, bombs, artillery pieces and infantry weapons. But it’s what’s on the inside of the museum that will leave you horrified. Enter the building and you’ll be met with some really graphic images of the war, especially of the ‘Agent Orange’ victims that suffered from the chemical spray. This is not for the faint hearted. But it’s so important to get a glimpse into what really happened during the war so that it can be prevented in the future.
- Opening Hours: Daily 07.30 – 12.00 & 13:30 – 17:00
- Entrance Fee: VND 15,000
- Address: 28 Vo Van Tan, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
2. Vietnam Fine Arts Museum, Hanoi
You don’t have to be an art fan to appreciate some of the works here. The national museum was established by the Vietnamese government. Inside the museum you can see contemporary art, traditional art, folk paintings, ceramics and religious sculptures. The building itself is also like a work of art – formerly a French boarding school for girls, the French architecture is evident, but has a traditional Vietnamese touch to it as well. It’s one of the most beautiful museums in Vietnam and one you must visit when you’re in Hanoi. About 3.000 permanent exhibits are on display so take your time here.
- Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 9:00 – 17:00
- Entrance Fee: VND 10,000
- Address: 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi, Vietnam
3. The Cham Museum
Located in Da Nang, this museum is dedicated to Vietnam’s indigenous people Cham, who lived an Indian way of life in both language and culture. It was in the coastal areas of Vietnam that the Champa existence began predominantly. Inside the museum you’ll see almost 300 terracotta and stone works of art that dates back as far as to the 7th to 15th centuries. This is one of Vietnam’s most interesting museums and is in fact, the only museum in the world dedicated to the Campa era.
- Opening Hours: Daily, from 7:00 – 17:00
- Entrance Fee: VND 60,000
- Address: đường 2/9, 02, Bình Hiên, 550000, Vietnam
4. Ho Chi Minh Museum
One of the most popular museums in Hanoi is the Ho Chi Minh Museum. Some people call it bizarre, some surreal and others fascinating. In other words – it’s definitely worth a visit. The museum was built in 1979 and is dedicated to the late president Ho Chi Minh. The exhibition highlights Ho’s life with photos and documents relating to overthrow the French. He was also buried here and his body is preserved in a glass case at the Mausoleum.
- Entrance Fee: VND 10,000
- Opening Hours: Tuesday – Thursday 07:30 – 10:30, Saturday & Sunday 07:30 – 11:00
- Address: 8 Hung Vuong, Dien Bien, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
There’s a ton more museums spread out in the country, but if you have limited time, make sure to visit at least one of these. They all offer a fascinating glimpse of Vietnam and its history. Make sure that you also apply for a Vietnam visa beforehand. A visa is required in order to enter the country. Some European and Asian countries can visit Vietnam up to 15 days visa free, but will need a visa if they wish to stay longer. You can apply online and get a Visa on Arrival or E-Visa, or you can go to your local or nearest Vietnam Embassy or Consulate.