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Which War Museums should you visit in Vietnam?

Vietnam’s history has been marked by thousands of years of struggle to gain independence. From the early Chinese domination, through French Indochina and the lastly tragic Vietnam War, all have left an indelible mark on the country.

There are two major war museums in Vietnam. The first and most well-known is the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City which museum covers the US-Vietnam War (1955-1975).

The second war museum, the Vietnam Military History Museum in Hanoi, is a less-visited attraction. This museum also covers earlier conflicts in Vietnamese history.

If you don’t know which museum to visit, here are the main differences, and the key info you should know.

Ho Chi Minh War Remnants Museum

What Is The War Remnants Museum?

The War Remnants Museum is a fascinating museum located in central Ho Chi Minh that focuses on the Vietnam War (called the American War in Vietnam). The different exhibitions explain the context and history of the Vietnam War and its devastating impacts on the Vietnamese people.

Outside, you will see an impressive display of military vehicles and weapons from the era, many in remarkably pristine condition. There is also a special exhibit about jails and Vietnamese prison conditions (including torture equipment, and recreated versions of the old prisoner cells).

What Should You Know Before Visiting?

The photographs, artifacts, and testimonies of the war’s atrocities are undeniably heartbreaking. Many visitors are brought to tears at the harrowing pictures, particularly on the moving tribute to the victims of Agent Orange.

If visiting you should be prepared for the emotionally hard to read information and graphic imagery and tragic stories of those affected by the long war.

The museum presents a critical perspective towards the American military involvement and their responsibilities in the war, emphasizing how much the Vietnamese population has suffered and the consequences of U.S. actions.

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How Long Will It Take to Visit the War Remnants Museum?

Seeing all exhibits in this museum will take 2-3 hours, and longer if taking an audio-guided tour.

it is important to visit this museum while you are in Ho Chi Minh.

Opening Hours and Entrance Fee

  • Opening Hours: Daily from 7:30am – 5:30pm
  • Entrance Fee: 40,000 VND – $1.64 per person / 20,000 VND for kids

Hanoi Vietnam Military History Museum

What Is The War Remnants Museum?

The Vietnam Military History Museum is located in the government district in central Hanoi, near the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. The Flag Tower of Hanoi is located inside the museum grounds.

Compared to the War Remnants Museum, the Vietnam Military History Museum offers a broader view of Vietnamese military history. Different sections of the museum showcase the various eras of Vietnamese military history (wars against China, the Indochine Wars against the French, and of course the Vietnam War against the Americans). 

The museum also features Vietnam’s path to independence and the reunification of North and South Vietnam.

There are many interesting artifacts to see outside, including a presidential airplane used by Ho Chi Minh, fighter jets supplied by the Soviets, and an old destroyed French aircraft. This outside display is probably more impressive than in Ho Chi Minh.

What Should You Know Before Visiting?

The Hanoi museum does not always provide context or explanation surrounding exhibits. Therefore, having an understanding of some of the history before coming will help.

Even when translations were provided, they were difficult to understand. This is unlike the War Remnants Museum which has accurate translations across every exhibit.

In addition, there are no audio tours offered at the Hanoi Vietnam Military Museum and the layout is less logically structured.

The Vietnam Military History Museum’s perspective and tone are more nationalistic than the War Remnants Museum.

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How Long Will It Take to Visit the War Remnants Museum?

It’s not as big as the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Min, you can expect to spend 1-2 hours to see all of it.

Opening Hours and Entrance Fee

  • Opening Hours: 8:00AM – 11:30AM, 1:00PM – 4:30PM (closed Monday and Friday)
  • Entrance Fee: 40,000 VND – $1.64 per person + a camera fee if you want to take photos.

What is Our Recommendation? The Verdict Is…

Certainly, most people will prefer the War Remnants Museum in Saigon / Ho Chi Min because it is a more emotional experience with more opportunities to learn the history. This museum truly helps you understand how much suffering the Vietnamese people endured through the war.

The Hanoi museum is also interesting, however, the poor quality of the translations and the less structured layout detract from the experience.

If you have enough time you could see both museums. Both contribute to a deeper understanding of Vietnam’s history.

If you only want to see one, absolutely make it the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Min.

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