Built on the foundation of love and passion for medicine, the Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine showcases and preserves the invaluable artifacts of the long-standing practice. This impressive and museum is a destination not to be missed for any trip to Ho Chi Minh city. There is something for everyone at the museum, from insights into herbal medicine to Instagram-worthy photos.
1. An overview of Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine in Ho Chi Minh City
The Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine, also known as Fito Museum, is home to numerous unique and well-preserved exhibits of herbal medicine. With English-speaking staff and well-organized exhibition rooms, Fito Museum solidifies itself as one of the best museums in Ho Chi Minh City.
Though situated in one of the busiest districts of Saigon, the Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine is a bit of a hidden gem as it is located in an alley.
However, it should not be difficult to find your way to the museum with a map or tour guide.
Address: 41 Hoang Du Khuong street, Ward 12, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City
- Opening hours: Monday to Sunday: 8:30 AM to 5 PM.
Fito Museum opens throughout the week from morning to late afternoon, which makes it easy for tourists to fit it into their schedules.
- Entrance fee
Adults: 120.000 VND/person
Children under 1.2m: 60.000 VND/person
Parking is free of charge
At first glance, the most captivating aspect of the Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine is its architectural style. Inspired by ancient buildings, the museum is mainly built from wood, giving it a distinctive atmosphere from the metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City.
A visit to Fito Museum is an educational experience, as you can learn about and marvel at the achievements of Vietnam’s herbal medicine displayed in 18 exhibition rooms.
Not only is the museum a time capsule of traditional medicine, but it also has a shrine to commemorate the founding fathers of the practice: Tue Tinh and Le Huu Trac.
Above all, what makes the Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine so impressive is how well it has stood the test of time.
2. The origin of Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine
The Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine was built in 2003 and first opened its doors to visitors in 2007.
Mr. Le Khac Tam is the founder of the museum. An avid enthusiast of traditional medicine, he wanted to show everyone that this practice is more than just healthcare.
Vietnam is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. By introducing the development of herbal medicine, Mr. Tam wants to display both the natural and traditional legacies of the country.
Same as in other medical fields, traditional medicine has significant humane and ethical values. Tourists will get to experience firsthand the spirit and essence of this time-honored practice.
3. The structure of Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine
As soon as you set foot in the grounds of the Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine, you will be greeted by an iconic Vietnamese image: bamboo.
For Vietnamese visitors, stepping into the front yard of the museum is an incredibly nostalgic experience. For foreigners, visiting the museum can offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of Saigon.
The building has 6 floors, each with its own distinctive style and decorations, and houses 18 different exhibition rooms.
You can choose to take the tour on your own or with a guide. Nonetheless, the experience will not be drastically different, as information is written in Vietnamese, English, and French.
Here are what you can see and do during your 1-hour visit.
3.1. The first floor
Start your journey in the cinema room, where you will get to watch a 15-minute documentary about Vietnamese traditional medicine. The film introduces visitors to the cultural values of the practice as well as two prominent practitioners.
The other room will await you at the end of the visit, where you can try or buy herbal products like medicine, wine, tea, etc.
3.2. The second floor
This is the most special floor in the entire museum because it has only one room, and it is arguably the most grand-looking one.
It is a replica of the Royal Medicinal Academy, which is the equivalent of the royal clinic. This room will give you a glimpse into the splendor and luxurious lifestyle of the royal family.
3.3. The third floor
This is where you can feast your eyes on the intricate details of more medicine instruments like tea pots (both metal and ceramic), scales, mortars, and tincture jugs.
Much like the exhibits on the fourth floor, they are collected and kept in mint condition by Mr. Tam and the museum staff.
3.4. The fourth floor
This floor will let you see the full package of ingredients and tools for herbal medicine. There are four rooms, and they host four different types of exhibits: ingredients, tools, herbal wine jars, and a replica of a 19th-century pharmacy.
Additionally, the pharmacy is where you can try your first interactive activity. With proper instructions provided, you can choose from the 81 herbs available to make your own remedies.
3.5. The fifth floor
After watching the documentary in the cinema room, you will take an elevator to this floor, where you will first see the journal room.
The documents here will tell you all about the remarkable history of Vietnamese traditional medicine, with detailed recollections of important events and individuals.
Afterwards, you will move on to the altar of Tue Tinh and Le Huu Trac to pay respects to two legendary practitioners of Vietnamese traditional medicine.
The following room displays multiple traditional medicine tools from the Stone and Bronze ages.
The last exhibit on this floor is a gorgeous handcrafted masterpiece that showcases the names of 100 significant people in the history of Vietnamese traditional medicine.
3.6. The sixth floor
The top floor has three rooms that aren’t any less magnificent than the rest of the museum.
One is a room with 15 handcrafted paintings of notable practitioners and authors. Another is where you can learn about the general history of herbal medicine all around the world, namely China, Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam.
Lastly, the Cham Tower stands out in a medicine museum and that is the main appeal of the unique architectural style.
The Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine is unlike any other museum in Ho Chi Minh City, offering a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors.
4. Other well-known museums in Ho Chi Minh City
Aside from the traditional medicine museum, Ho Chi Minh City always has more to offer. Here are three popular museums for your viewing pleasure.
- War Remnants Museum: If you’re interested in learning more about the valiant and heroic history of Vietnam, this museum is the one for you. Here, you can witness the efforts and sacrifices of the Vietnamese people to win the war against a Western giant and declare independence.
- History Museum of Ho Chi Minh City: Similar to the Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine, this museum is also an architectural marvel. Built by the French almost a decade ago, this place is home to 43,000 artifacts that document thousands of years of Vietnamese history.
- Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts: For art enthusiasts, Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts is the place to be. This Art Deco building possesses 21.000 exhibits and countless picturesque photo ops, perfect for anyone with a keen eye for beauty.
Museums aren’t the only thing Ho Chi Minh City has to offer. While visiting the Pearl of the Far East, do not hesitate to stop by the iconic Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, the magnificent Independence Palace, the skyscraping Landmark 81 Vietnam, the historic Jade Emperor Pagoda, etc.
Also, why stop at Ho Chi Minh City when there are other cities in Vietnam, each with their own unique appeal? Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, and Da Nang are some of the most sought-after destinations. Be sure to book your accommodations before starting your journey in this gorgeous country.
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The Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine is a one-of-a-kind attraction in Ho Chi Minh City. Beautifully constructed and meticulously organized, this museum is sure to impress even the toughest of visitors. Add it to your bucket list of destinations and go through a journey full of historical, cultural, and humane values.