7 War Museums in Vietnam To Witness the Turmoil of the Country

Museums are one of the best ways to explore the history and culture of a country. Who doesn't agree? Vietnam has lived through years of wars and the history is best depicted in its fascinating museums. From the Chinese takeover to the ultimate North and South Vietnam reunification in the 70s, the country's history can be traced back to 4000 years. All the history books and movies across the world fail to deliver to what extent the wars devastated the country, luckily, the many war museums of Vietnam are here help the tourists learn what they can never otherwise.

Here are the 7 best war museums in Vietnam so you know where exactly to go to find your answers about the rich history of this wonderful country:

1. War Remnants Museum, Ho Chi Minh City

Address: 28 Vo Van Tan, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Timings: 7:30 AM - 12:00 PM; 1:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Entrance fee: VND 15,000

War Remnants Museum, War Museums in Vietnam
War Remants Museum, one of Vietnam's Most Popular Museums (Source)

One of the most popular museums of Vietnam, the War Remnants Museum is extremely well curated and very interesting. It's popular for being home to some of the harshest and brutal collection of item retrieved from the Vietnam war. This Vietnamese war museum is divided into three floors. The ground floor has a collection of photos, posters and documents depicting the war brutality including American soldiers holding heads of Vietnamese soldiers after killing them, the My Lai massacre, and the most important 'tiger cage' which was an imprisonment method used by Americans to torture prisoners at the Con Dao prison. The first and second floors are devoted to helicopters like the UH-1 Helicopter, tanks like the M-48 Patton tank and weapons like A-37 dragonfly attack bomber, and other guns and artillery pieces. The War Remnants museum has many explicit displays of things and photos and is very fascinating for someone interested in the rich history of Vietnam.

2. Hoa Lo Museum, Hanoi

Address: 1 Pho Hoa Lo, Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam.
Timings: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Entrance fee: VND 20,000

Hoa Lo Museum, War Museums in Vietnam, Hanoi Hilton
The Hoa Lo Prison Museum, a war museum in Vietnam with the former nickname 'Hanoi Hilton'

The Hoa Lo Museum was originally a prison used by North Vietnamese officials to capture American P.O.W.s (prisoners of war) during the Vietnam war. Today, after being demolished as a prison in the 90s, the Hoa Lo has turned into a war museum in Vietnam that replicates the brutality faced by the prisoners while it was under operation. The propaganda on the walls and some initial documents suggested that the U.S. prisoners nicknamed the Hoa Lo as ?Hanoi Hilton?, as in the big hotel chain of Hilton. There were claims that the American prisoners were treated with the utmost care, just like in a hotel. However, documents later proved that this was just a rumor. In reality, this was one of the most notorious prison during the war where many terrifying and torturous activities were performed like guillotine. John McCain and General Charles G. Boyd were among the well known inmates of the prison who, according to the previous rumors, has a great time at the prison. While later it was found out that John McCain even tried to commit suicide inside. Today, many tourists visit this museum in Hanoi to understand the harsh conditions and history of the prisoners during the war.

3. Vietnamese Women's Museum, Hanoi

Address: 36, Ly Thuong Kiet, Hang Bai ward, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam,
Timings: Tuesday - Sunday: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Entrance fee: VND 30,000

Vietnamese Women's Museum, War Museums in Vietnam
Vietnamese Women's Museum, a unique museum in Vietnam showcasing the role of women in 
the wars in Vietnam (Source)

One of the most unique museums, the Vietnamese Women's Museum in Hanoi will not fail to impress you. The primary motive of this museum is to promote gender equality in the Vietnamese culture by showcasing the life of a woman and her contribution in the country. The place is divided into three sections: 1) Women in family, 2) Women in history, and 3) Women's fashion. The first section focuses on the woman's role in a family, as a mother and a child, thus providing a better understanding of how Vietnamese families depend on the maternity. The second section is the most important and hard-hitting one which portrays the woman's role during the Vietnam war. They were the known to be powerful and acted as aid to the injured soldiers. There are photographs displaying the tragedies of women losing their children during the war which are very emotionally moving. The third section exhibits many different types of traditional costumes that the Vietnamese women have changed over the years. This is a one-of-a-kind war museum talking specifically about the woman's role which the other war museums in Vietnam don't particularly explain, and therefore, definitely worth a visit.

4. Ho Chi Minh Museum, Hanoi

Address: 19 Ngoc Ha, Ba Dinh, Hanoi, Vietnam.
Tuesday - Thursday: 8:00 AM - 11:30 AM, 2:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Saturday - Sunday: 8:00 AM - 11:30 AM, 2:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Entrance fee: VND 10,000

Ho Chi Minh Museum, War Museums in Vietnam
The Ho Chi Minh Museum in Hanoi, Vietnam (Source)

One of the biggest and most popular museums in Vietnam, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi is an elaborate documentation of Ho Chi Minh's life. It is home to a huge collection of artifacts, sculptures, historical documents, photographs and  artworks, all exhibiting his upbringing, travels and military accomplishments. There is a 400-seat hall for meetings and playing documentaries about Ho Chi Minh. Every exhibit has a simple description in English, Vietnamese and French, and you can take a guided tour around the museum for a small fee too. The museum represents a chronological account of his life describing to the tourists how intriguing and fascinating his experiences were.

5. Con Dao Museum

Address: 10, Nguyen Hue Street, Vung Tau, Vietnam.
Timings: 7:30 AM - 11:30 AM; 1:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Entrance fee: VND 20,000

Con Dao Museum, War Museums in Vietnam
Con Dao Museum, a former prison turned into a war museum in Vietnam (Source)

From 1862 to 1975, Con Dao was a brutal prison used initially by the French colonialists and then by the American imperialists to imprison political convicts, communists, Viet Cong, students protests and any other person who went against the government. The prison was a harsh place where extremely horrific treatment and torture was given to the prisoners. Opened in 2013, this war museum in Vietnam is home to many artifacts, restored documents, collection of photographs that show what suffering the prisoners went through. The exhibition hall depicts four different topics: nature and people, prison life, the battle and revolutionary school of patriots and Vietnamese communists, and Con Dao today. There is another seperate area in the museum that showcase artifacts depicting the deaths of many communist soldiers and heroic martyrs, including the famous and brave, Vo Thi Sau. Locals and tourists visit this museum to learn about the atrocities caused to the prisoners, the history of this town, and the heroic sacrifice of more than 20,000 Vietnamese people.

6. B-52 Victory Museum, Hanoi

Address: 157 Doi Can Street, Ba Dinh district, Hanoi, Vietnam.
Timings: Tuesday to Thursday and Saturday to Sunday, 8:00 AM - 11:30 AM; 1:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Entrance fee: VND 30,000

B-52 Victory Museum, War Museums in Vietnam
MiG 21 displayed at the B-52 Victory Museum in Hanoi, Vietnam (Source)

During the 12 days of the 1972 campaign 'Hanoi-Dien Bien Phu in the Air', the Vietnamese Air Defense Force shot down 81 aircrafts, including the 34 B52, which ultimately forced the US government to sit for the negotiation at the Paris Agreement in 1973 and pull out of Vietnam. The B-52 Victory museum was inaugurated in 1986 and then upgraded in 2012 which marked the 40 years anniversary of the occasion. The important exhibits of this war museum in Vietnam are weapons, images, documents, artifacts, wreckage, and the most prominent one being a B-52 wreck among other aircraft debris. The Huu Tiep lake nearby, also known as the B52 lake by Hanoi locals, shows you the exact spot where the B-52 fell in 1972. If you're a history buff, fascinated by seeing war wreckage that is preserved for years, or just a person who would like to learn about the tragic war, you should definitely pay a visit to this unique and interesting museum that the Vietnamese take pride in.

7. Cu Chi Tunnels, Ho Chi Minh City

Address: TL 15, Phu Hiep, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Timings: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Entrance fee: VND 90,000

Cu Chi Tunnels, War Museums in Vietnam
The Cu Chi Tunnels are underground tunnel complexes used by Viet Cong soldier during war (Source)

Covering over 120 kilometers of underground tunnels, including living areas, kitchens, storage rooms and hospitals, the Cu Chi tunnels give you a vivid picture of how the Vietnamese soldiers lived back in the days of war in 1948. The tunnels consisting of trenches, bunkers, bomb shelters, air ventilation systems and many other impressive structures were home to thousands of Viet Cong guerrillas. These were used mainly during the war against French, and then the system was expanded during the war against Americans. Today, visitors can explore the traps, watch a documentary, eat food prepared by the local restaurant which the soldiers used to eat during the war, and also shoot M16 rifles at the shooting range hosted by the tunnels. Many tour companies usually take half day tours from Ho Chi Minh City center to the Cu Chi tunnels.

If you ever plan to visit Vietnam, these war museums should definitely be on your list. The Vietnamese people have lived through years of tragic wars and you will never find all the information about these years in your school textbooks. Hence, to know the history, culture and traditions of a country, visiting its museums is the best way.

This post was published by Meha Dedhia

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