The War Remnants Museum is one of Saigon’s most famous historical attractions. Coming to the museum, you can learn a part of how the Vietnamese fought for their independence and the locals’ perspectives of the Vietnam War. The exhibits, such as weapons, documents, and photographs, are firm evidence of war crimes and speak for the heroic actions of the former Vietnamese generation.
How to Get to the Museum
Address: 28 Vo Van Tan, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
7:30 AM – 6 PM Daily
The museum opens throughout the year, including Vietnamese holidays
The entrance fee has been updated since Jan 2018. The new entrance fee is now VND 40,000/person.
Recommended visit: 1.5 – 2 hours
Dress code: casual
War Remnants Museum Establishment
War Remnants Museum is on the list of Saigon’s oldest museums. It was first opened to the public in 1975. At that time, the War Remnants Museum was known as the “Exhibition House for the United States and Puppet Crimes.” The initial purpose was to expose the raw truth about the Vietnam War and criticize the US and the Republic of Vietnam Army for their war crimes. Afterward, the museum underwent changes and a few renovations during the normalization of relations between Vietnam and the US. As a result, its name was changed to the War Remnants Museum in 1993.
War Remnants Museum Exhibitions and Galleries
There are outdoor exhibitions and three floors inside the building, with galleries of permanent and temporary exhibitions on each floor.
The display exposes a part about the Vietnam War and many of its painful and lasting consequences. Some materials may be disturbing and offensive, so you should consider them when bringing your kids to visit.
Upon entering the front gate, you will see many large weapons used by the US Army, like heavy helicopters and airplanes of the US Air Force and armored tanks. Besides, there are rockets, bombs, and mines that were active and have had their detonators removed before being exhibited.
In the backside, you will find a small entrance leading to the Tiger Cages, replicating the real Tiger Cages used in the Con Dao Island prison. Tiger Cages were barbed wire cages used as a form of torture, where the Government of South Vietnam secretly kept and tortured their political prisoners in Con Dao. This area only showcases a small part of the original exhibit with a tiger cage on gravel, statues of malnourished prisoners inside two dark cells, torturing tools, a guillotine of the French, and various black and white photographs of that time. This exhibit never fails to give an aggressive glimpse of such sinister acts and war crimes against humanity.
Ground Floor Exhibition
You will immediately notice an area to the left of the front door dedicated to Agent Orange victims, called Victims of Agent Orange Overcome Difficulties. They make and sell handicrafts like keychains, lamps, and sculptures and sometimes perform musical instruments here. It is a place where you can make small gestures to help the impacted victims.
Behind this is an area holding temporary exhibitions related to Vietnamese history and culture. The topic will change every once in a while, mostly covering stories during the Vietnam War.
Across the room, next to the staircase, is a permanent exhibition topic named ‘The World Supports Vietnam in its Resistance”. There are 100 pictures and 145 artifacts of people all over the world who support the Vietnamese and protest against the Vietnam War. American soldiers gift some remnants to show their regret for having taken part in this unjust war. While some people said that the museum’s theme is one-sided from a Vietnamese standpoint, this topic emphasizes the attitudes of people from all over the world at that time.
First Floor Exhibition
There are two galleries on this floor: the “Agent Orange Aftermath in the US Aggressive War in Vietnam” collection and the “Aggression War Crimes”.
In the first room, you will see the destruction of the toxic chemicals brought to the land and the people in Vietnam. During the Vietnam War, especially from 1961 to 1971, the US Army sprayed more than 100 million liters of chemical poison that contained 386 kilograms of Dioxin. As a result, almost all of Vietnam’s lands were poisoned. Nearly 4.8 million Vietnamese people and their next generations were affected directly and endangered by severe disability. Eventually, the effects of chemical poisoning still exist today.
Besides the pictures, there is a heart-wrenching exhibit that could be pretty disturbing, the Thorxo Abdermine Pagus. The display here is firm evidence of the war crimes against the elderly, adults, children, and unborn babies alike.
On the other side, the “Aggression War Crimes” gallery includes 125 pictures, 22 materials, and 243 remnants that show the crime of war and its extreme effects on Vietnam and the Vietnamese. The war ended with an estimated number of 3 million people dead, 2 million people injured, 200 thousand people going missing, and severe facility damage to the whole country.
Second Floor Exhibition
On the highest floor, visitors will have an overall look at the Vietnam War in galleries like “Vietnam War And Peace” and “Historic Truths”. The pictures of the forest destroyed by chemical poison, the weapons, and many other remnants here could shock and move many to tears as they could not imagine such devastating consequences even though they had heard about the Vietnam War before.
Conclusion on Saigon Attractions: War Remnants Museum
War Remnants Museum is the place to learn about the atrocities of war and war crimes during the Vietnam War. It is also a reminder of the invaluable peace many have exchanged their lives to earn and protect.
If you wish to understand more about the Vietnam War, you can also stop by the Cu Chi Tunnels and the Independence Palace. You would get to experience the living conditions of the people who fought in the war.