Are you planning a visit to Vietnam? If so, there are plenty of enriching and exciting things to see and do while you’re there.
One of the best ways to absorb the local culture and learn more about the fascinating country you’re in? Visit a museum, of course!
Arguably nowhere can you catch a better glimpse of what drives a place forward – and what makes up its rich foundation – than within the walls of a museum.
Today, we’re taking a look at five of the top museums in Vietnam. These are sure to ignite your curiosity, pique your interest, and encourage you to delve deeper into the country’s rich history and exciting future.
Ready to get started? Let’s explore!
1. War Remnants Museum: Ho Chi Minh City
For those interested in learning more about Vietnam’s storied wartime past, the War Remnants Museum is sure to deliver.
Formerly known as the Museum of American War Crimes, this museum features exhibits and propaganda depicting how military conflict, specifically the Vietnam War and the first Indochina War, affected the country and its citizens.
From period equipment such as aircraft and armor to photojournalism displays, visitors are offered a firsthand look at what life was like on the front lines.
The reason why this one tops our list as one of the best museums in Vietnam? It cuts no corners when it comes to providing a realistic view of how these events shaped the region.
Visitors can view the “tiger cages” in which political prisoners were kept. They can also get a glimpse of some of the oversized weapons that defined an era, such as an M48 Patton tank and F-5A fighter jet.
Overall, this is one museum you can’t afford to miss. It’s a highly interesting, albeit sobering, must-see.
Hours: 7:30 AM – 6:00 PM
Entrance fee: VND 15,000 ~ $0.66
Address: 28 Vo Van Tan, Ward 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
2. Vietnam Museum of Ethnology: Hanoi
Put simply, “ethnology” means the study of various groups of people, and how their interactions are shaped.
This is the textbook definition. Yet, the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology makes the concept come alive.
It brings to life the different ethnic groups and cultures that make up its core. There are 54 groups, and the museum seeks to pay homage to them all.
From textile exhibits to performing arts, the museum explores the elements that make each group unique. It does so by offering creative, hands-on, educational activities and displays that allow visitors to immerse themselves into the fabric of the country.
One part not to miss? Be sure to check out the Indonesian glass paintings for a colorful peek into how much of Vietnam’s culture came to be.
Hours: 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM
Entrance fee: VND 40,000 ~ $2
Address: Nguyen Van Huyen Street, Nghia Do Ward, Cau Giay District, Hanoi
3. The Museum of Cham Sculpture: Da Nang
Cham art originated with the Indic civilization of Champa, which flourished between 500 and 1500 A.D. in the region that comprises the present-day regions of Central and South Vietnam.
The Champa are known for their sandstone sculptures. These were created both “in the round,” meaning standalone figures not attached to a background, as well as in “relief” style, in which solid figures emerge from a background of the same substance.
The pieces were designed for both decorative use, and to express elements of the Champa religion, notably Hinduism.
Time and neglect, coupled with wartime abuse, caused many of these structures to become lost or deteriorated. Now, a majority of those that remain are housed here.
Of all the museums in Vietnam and around the world, this museum is home to the world’s largest collection of these structures. In fact, it boasts more than 300 of them.
Visit here to be inspired and learn more about the culture of the communities that helped build this dynamic country.
Hours: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Entrance fee: VND 40,000 ~ $2
Address: Number 02, 2 Thang 9 Street, Hai Chau Ward, Da Nang
4. Vietnam Fine Arts Museum: Hanoi
While you’re in Hanoi, be sure to stop at the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum.
The Vietnam government established this museum to maintain and pay homage to the unique artwork produced by the country’s many prolific artists.
Housed in a building that used to serve as a boarding school for French girls, even the structure itself is a work of art, featuring touches of old French-style architecture.
Besides what’s traditionally known as “fine art,” such as paintings, the museum also gives visitors an up-close look at some of the traditional arts that define the greater region.
These works, which include ceramics and folk art, depict the vast array of artistry across the country, and the different groups that create it.
Though traditional art pieces don’t originally spring to mind when you consider “fine art” they are indeed rich and important pieces of the country’s artistic heritage and make for an excellent addition to the museum.
Take your time as you wind around the exhibits, absorbing the artistic offerings of Vietnam’s culturally rich communities.
Hours: 8:30 AM – 5 PM (except Mondays)
Entrance fee: VND 20,000 ~ $1
Address: 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Dien Bien, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
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5. Artinus 3D Art Museum: Ho Chi Minh City
If you’re on the hunt for one of the most fascinating museums in Vietnam, you can’t miss the Artinus 3D Art Museum.
This modern museum, which just opened in 2015, is a creative departure from the more traditional museums that feature historic and prodigious paintings and sculptures.
The first 3D museum in Ho Chi Minh City, this museum offers visitors a viewing experience like none other.
Spread out over two floors, it features three-dimensional artwork grouped into interactive themes. The mind-bending pieces are sure to tilt your head and make you smile. They’re different, exciting, and offer just the right amount of kitsch.
Be sure to pack a camera for the multiple photo-snapping opportunities you’ll undoubtedly encounter! Some of the coolest ones? The giant fishbowl you can “sit” inside, and the giant palm of King Kong, on which you can strike a pose!
Hours: 9 AM – 6 PM
Entrance fee: VND 260,000 ~ $11.50 (Weekdays) and VND 300,000 ~ $13.50 (Weekends)
Address: Number 2, Street 9, Tan Hung Ward, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City
Visit These Museums in Vietnam: Book Your Tour Today
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Have you visited any fascinating museums in Vietnam and would like to share them with our readers? Please leave a comment below.