Disturbing reminders of Vietnam's gory past await you at the War Remnants museum in District 3 of Ho Chi Minh City. The museum displays exhibits from the Vietnam war, including the french guillotine, the 'tiger cages' where prisoners were kept and photographs of 'Agent Orange', a chemical spray that led to widespread genetic defects. There are also fighter planes and tanks on display.
Opened to the public from 1975, the War Remnant Museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Vietnam, and is visited by millions of people every year. It came in on the 10th spot on the list of top international museums in 2018. The museum has over 20,000 artefacts and items on display, documenting Vietnam's gruelling, painful and heroic struggle for independence. Each of the carefully preserved war memorabilia serves as a reminder of the horrors of war, and stand for why we need to advocate for peace.
Exhibits at the War Remnants Museum
The War Remnants Museum has many interesting artefacts on display, each adding in chilling detail to complete the war story that the museum portrays. On the grounds outside one can find the infamous French guillotine, which was used both by the French and the Vietnamese to behead prisoners. The grotesque tiger cages, which was used by the South Vietnamese government to torture its victims, is also a prominent display.
In addition to these, the grounds outside house a large collection of military equipments and artilleries, most of them of US origin. These include the UH1-Huey helicopter, M48 Patton tank, an F5A fighter and many, many others.
The museum itself has a veritable collection of items, and many graphic photographs that reveal in heartbreaking detail the horrors of the war. These include those of the famous My Lai massacre, and also the effects of Agent Orange and other toxic chemical substances on the Vietnamese population. Some of the famous collection of photographs here include the ones by the Japanese photographer Ishikawa Bunyo, the works of Larry Burrow and Robert Capa, and Requiem collection by the famous war photographer Tim Page.
Some of the other interesting items in the museum include the experimental and once secret weapon the flechette - thousands of darts fitted into one artillery shell, and a bomb that weighs over 6000 kgs. There are also jars of preserved fetuses deformed by Agent Orange, which is believed to have resulted in birth defects in over 500,000 children. A tour of the museum is indeed very informative, though disturbing. One walks away pondering over the horrors that humans are capable of, and whether we have learnt anything that history is so desperately trying to teach us.
War Remnants Musuem Ticket Prices
Adults: VND 40,000, Children (6 - 15 years): VND 20,000, Senior Citizens: VND 20,000, Disabled Persons: VND 20,000 Persons Eligible for Government Benefits and Preferential Treatment: VND 20,000, Persons who served in the Vietnamese Revolution: VND 20,000, Children (under 6 years): No Entry Fee, Persons with Extreme Disability: No Entry Fee, Members from Poor Households: No Entry Fee
How to Reach War Remnants Museum
The most convenient way to get to the War Remnants Museum is through taxi, and the Vinasun (white with red and green trim) or Mai Linh (green) are available at reasonable prices. Taxis can also be availed through Uber and Grab service apps. A number of local buses also run from different districts and is a cheap option. Be careful to avoid other taxi services, as they can charge exorbitant rates to tourists.
War Remnants Museum Tips and Rules
The museum requires that all tourists be modestly and suitably dressed.
The museum is particular about not letting in certain banned items like flammable substances, toxins and other explosives.
Those wishing to take photographs and videos need to have their requests pre-approved by the museum.
Luggage can be left in the ticket office, and it is advisable to be careful of all other possessions.
The War Remnant Museum is one of the must visit places in Vietnam. It has something to offer to all its patrons and visitors, who apart from understanding the history and trauma of the Vietnamese war and its effects, also walk away with a lot of thoughts to introspect about.
Photos of War Remnants Museum
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