Vietnamese history is far from straightforward. There have been many legends, many invasions, and many shifts, that’s why it’s helpful to have a hand in deciphering it all. Vietnam’s museums are the perfect starting point for any traveller looking to understand the destination better. Go deeper to understand a specific chapter of the country’s history, or to get to know a singular aspect of its colourful culture. Here is a list of excellent museums dedicated to the Vietnamese and their way of life.
Vietnamese Women’s Museum
Just a few minutes south of Hanoi’s Sword Lake, the Vietnamese Women’s Museum is a testament to the vital role women play in local history and culture. Vietnamese women have long held their ground in society and the museum celebrates this with themed exhibitions and interactive displays. Highlights include a floor of traditional attire from ethnic minority groups and another detailing stories of the women who fought for Vietnam on and off the battlefield.
Admission: 30,000 VND Hours: 8:00am to 5:00pm daily, closed Mondays Address: 36 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Museum of Ethnology
The Museum of Ethnology offers a fresh and comprehensive exploration of Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups. The main hall showcases each ethnicity’s traditional clothing, households, musical instruments, tools, and treasured artefacts. The outdoor exhibits contain replicas of full-scale ethnic minority houses, and the second wing is dedicated exclusively to the artwork of Southeast Asian cultures.
TIP: Curious about Vietnamese water puppet shows? At the Museum of Ethnology, you can enjoy free performances twice daily in the garden.
Admission: 40,000 VND Hours: 8:30am to 5:30pm daily, closed Mondays Address: Nguyen Van Huyen, Cau Giay, Hanoi
National Fine Arts Museum
Originally a school for the daughters of Indochinese officials in the 1930s, this pale pink building has been transformed into the National Fine Arts Museum. Home to over 2,000 works in multiple mediums, the museum is a chronological look at the techniques and imaginings of Vietnamese artists before and throughout the 20th century. Located across the street from the Temple of Literature, and another 10-minute walk to the Thang Long Citadel, this museum is an excellent stop on a Hanoi excursion.
Admission: 40,000VND Hours: 8:30am to 5:00pm daily, closed Mondays Address: 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
Ho Chi Minh Museum
Located behind national hero Ho Chi Minh’s final resting place, this impressive museum is dedicated to the life of ‘Uncle Ho’. The museum’s main exhibition hall was developed by students of the University of Fine Arts in Hanoi, and takes visitors on a journey through Ho Chi Minh’s life. Surreal installations and elaborate artwork depict his legacy, from rural Vietnam to revolution.
Admission: 40,000VND Hours: 8:00am to noon daily, 2:00pm to 4.30pm Tuesday to Thursday, Saturday and Sunday Address: 19 Ngoc Ha, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
Cham Museum of Sculpture
Built in 1915 by the French School of the Far East, the Cham Museum of Sculpture in Da Nang houses the largest collection of Cham artefacts in the world. The school’s archaeology department collaborated with two French architects to design a building inspired by this once-mighty empire in Vietnam. Statues and carvings of sacred deities are everywhere, with sections in sandstone, terracotta, and bronze.
Admission: 40,000VND Hours: 7:00am to 5:00pm daily Address: 1 Trung Nu Vuong, Hai Chau, Da Nang
Just outside of Nha Trang city, an old colonial manor has been refurbished to preserve an extensive national collection of marine life. The first floor of the Oceanographic Museum teems with aquariums full of incredible critters and upstairs is the preserved collection featuring specimens and skeletons. You’ll also find exhibitions on the development of marine research technology, natural coastal disasters, as well as fishing culture in Vietnam.
Admission: 30,000VND Hours: 6:00am to 6:00pm daily Address: 1 Cau Da, Nha Trang
World Coffee Museum
Coffee fiends can get their morning buzz with a bit of history at the new World Coffee Museum in Buon Ma Thuot City. The capital of Dak Lak Province is also the largest coffee grower and exporter in the country. Founded one of Vietnam’s leading coffee producers, the museum’s design was inspired by the Nha Dai homes of the Ede ethnic group. The collection features over 10,000 coffee artefacts from around the world.
Admission: 75,000VND Hours: 8:00am to 5:00pm, closed Mondays Address: Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Tan Loi, Buon Ma Thuot
Dak Lak Museum of Ethnology
The Dak Lak Museum of Ethnology is a must-visit stop if you find yourself in Vietnam’s Central Highlands. Featuring impressive exhibits on the Ede, M’Nong and Jarai people, including scale models of traditional architecture, this museum is an excellent primer on nature, culture, and history of Buon Ma Thuot. Showcasing thousands of artefacts and images, the museum stands on the grounds of one of Emperor Bao Dai’s palaces.
Admission: 30,000VND Hours: 7:30am to 4:30pm daily, closed Mondays Address: 12 Le Duan, Tu An, Buon Ma Thuot
Ho Chi Minh Museum of Fine Arts
Located in the former home of a wealthy Chinese merchant family, the Ho Chi Minh Museum of Fine Arts is a stunning example of Indochine-era architecture, and is home to a wide range of valued works. The first floor features a rotating exhibition, while upstairs there are sections for statues, lacquerware, and traditional woodcut prints, and many rooms dedicated to traditional and contemporary Vietnamese art.
Admission: 10,000 VND Hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm daily, closed Mondays Address: 97A Duc Chinh, Nguyen Thai Binh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine
The Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine (FITO Museum) recreates an ancient apothecary, complete with medicinal herbs, roots and other products. Vietnamese traditional medicine has an extensive history and the museum’s collection includes over 3,000 artefacts, some dating as far back as the Stone Age. Come here to learn how herbal remedies have been actively used in Vietnam for millennia and how these traditions still feature in Vietnamese daily life.
Admission: 120,000 VND Hours: 8:30am to 5:00pm daily Address: 41 Hoang Du Khuong, Ward 12, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City
War Remnants Museum
The most-visited museum in Ho Chi Minh City, the War Remnants Museum tackles Vietnam’s most turbulent years with perspectives from both sides of the fighting. Insightful and emotional exhibitions illuminate the reality of Vietnam’s war-torn history and its consequences. This balance is achieved through modern interpretations, including photojournalism, and heart-wrenching artefacts.
Admission: 15,000VND Hours: 7:30am to noon, 1:30pm to 5:00pm daily Address: 28, Vo Van Tan Street, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
Please share and like if you like “Vietnam’s must-see museums”