Ho Chi Minh City Museums

(Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon, Vietnam)

Ho Chi Minh City boasts several excellent museums that will give you insight into the revolutionary movement headed by Vietnam's famous prime minister and president Ho Chi Minh (1890 to 1969), as well as the man himself. Saigon was once the heart of the Vietnamese War effort, and so history buffs will have plenty to absorb as this was ground zero for the Communist victory.

One of the most visited of these attractions is the War Remnants Museum, which seems to appeal greatly to Western tourists and is located in a building once used by the US Information Service. Housed in a grand 1890 French colonial behemoth, the Ho Chi Minh City Museum (Bao Tang Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh) contains a broad range of exhibits focusing on the history of Saigon and its establishment in the 1600s.

Ho Chi Minh City Museum

Address: 65 Ly Tu Trong Street, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, VN
Tel: +84 08 3829 8250
Of course, the Ho Chi Minh City Museum is home to a heavy showing of revolutionary displays, beginning with the 1945 August Revolution through to the fall of Saigon. The old photographs of Saigon are particularly interesting, as is the collection of captured artillery, tanks and fighter planes in the courtyard, which include a UH-1 Huey helicopter, a Russian tank and a F-5A fighter plane. There are also a number of artefacts showing the communist struggle and the anti-colonial activists who were executed. The building itself is especially grand and comes with ornate ballrooms and much gilding. Particularly interesting is the rowing boat with a false bottom, used for smuggling weapons, and the diorama of the famous Cu Chi Tunnels. Far beneath the building is a series of concrete bunkers and tunnels, which stretch as far as the Reunification Palace.
Open hours: daily - 08:30 to 16:30
Admission: charge

War Remnants Museum

Address: 28 Vo Van Tan Street, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, VN
Tel: +84 08 3930 6235
Both of Vietnam's modern wars with the French and the Americans are thoroughly explored in the rather provocative War Remnants Museum (Bao Tang Chung Tich Chien). Originally called the War Crimes Museum, exhibits show the country's blatant emphasis on peace and reconciliation, rather than fighting. A sizable collection of photos, weapons and machinery from both wars is on display alongside some sobering wartime figures. Explanations are detailed and in English, and visitors will hear real war stories from the US military.
Open hours: daily - 07:30 to 12:00, 13:30 to 17:00
Admission: charge

Ho Chi Minh Museum

Address: 1 Nguyen Tat Thanh Road, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, VN
Tel: +84 08 3940 1053
The best place to learn all about the life of the man who helped create modern Vietnam is at this large museum celebrating Ho Chi Minh. Known locally as the 'Khu Luu Niem Bac Ho', this cultural attraction is housed in a lovely 19th-century building called Dragon House Wharf (formerly the old Customs House), which is located at the exact spot along the Saigon River where this young man set sail to Europe. This self-made revolutionary left many relics behind, and the museum tells his story. Whilst the exhibits are labelled in Vietnamese, the photographs are easy to follow.
Open hours: Tuesday to Saturday - 08:00 to 11:30, 14:00 to 17:30, Sundays - 08:00 to 20:00
Admission: charge

Vietnam History Museum

Address: 2 D Nguyen Binh Khiem, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, VN
Tel: +84 08 3829 8146
Although the focus here is on the south of the country, this rambling history museum (Bao Tang Lich Su) presents the story of Vietnam as a whole. Its impressive collection of Cham pottery and sculptures is the best in Vietnam, and there are even a few prehistoric artefacts from Saigon on display. The weaponry room presents Vietnamese weapons from the 14th century to date, while another entire wing is devoted to the south's ethnic minority groups. There is also a respectable collection of items relating to the important Nguyen dynasty of 1700 to 1945. A research library is on hand and filled with books from the French-colonial era.
Open hours: Tuesday to Sunday - 08:00 to 11:00 and 13:30 to 16:30
Admission: charge

Ton Duc Thang Museum

Address: 5 D Ton Duc Thang, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, VN
Tel: +84 08 3829 7542
A small and often overlooked waterfront attraction, the Ton Duc Thang Museum (Bao Tang Ton Duc Thang) celebrates the life of North Vietnam's second and final president, Ton Duc Thang, who was born in Long Xuyen in 1888 and died in office in 1980, aged 91. The exhibition features a number of photographs illustrating the part the president played in the Vietnamese Revolution and the time he spent at Con Son Island's prison. Nearby, the Tran Hung Dao statue is a good point of reference.
Open hours: Tuesday to Friday - 07:30 to 11:30, 13:30 to 17:00
Admission: charge

Military Museum

Address: 2 DL Le Duan, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, VN
Tel: +84 08 3822 9387
The Military Museum (Bao Tang Quan Doi) is dedicated to the city's campaign for the liberation of southern Vietnam and inside is a selection of related information. Further exhibits are to be found just outside and include war memorabilia from China, Russia and the USA. There is also a Cessna A37 aircraft from the South Vietnamese Air Force, as well as an F-5E Tiger fighter plane and an old tank.
Open hours: Tuesday to Saturday - 09:00 to 11:30, 14:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge