The War Remnants Museum has been the most visited museum for many years in Ho Chi Minh City. To learn about the Vietnam War - a war of great political significance in modern world history - many visitors, especially those from the West, have traveled to the museum to find out about how Vietnam could win a resounding victory over the US and the aftermath.
1. War Remnants Museum's historical significance
The War Remnants Museum holds immense historical significance as a testament to the brutal realities of the Second Indochina War and its profound impact on the Vietnamese people. While primarily focusing on the Second Indochina War, the museum also documents the French-colonial period and conflicts with China, providing a broader historical context. Its exhibits, including disturbing photographs of war atrocities, present a vivid portrayal of the suffering endured by the Vietnamese population, with many images coming from US sources.
The ground floor's collection of posters and photographs showcasing international antiwar support offers a counterbalance to the horrors depicted upstairs. With exhibits featuring widespread destruction caused by napalm bombs and the devastating effects of Agent Orange, the museum confronts visitors with the harsh realities of war. The inclusion of experimental weapons and the Requiem Exhibition, which pays tribute to photographers who lost their lives during the conflict, further contribute to the museum's historical significance.
2. Opening hours and entrance fee of Saigon War Remnants Museum
- Opening Hours: 7:30 AM - 6 PM
The museum opens daily and year-round, even on Vietnamese holidays.
- Entrance fee:
- For adults: VND 40,000/person
- For children under 6: Free
3. War Remnants Museum Ho Chi Minh City with historical events
The War Remnants Museum is one of the oldest museums in Saigon. It was first opened to the public in 1975, established to show the real and brutal truth about the Vietnam War. Since then, the museum has undergone several changes and renovations in the process of normalizing relations between Vietnam and the United States.
For many years, the War Remnants Museum has been one of the most visited attractions in Ho Chi Minh City and the whole country. Through 45 years of establishment and development (1975 - 2020), it has welcomed more than 23 million visitors, including more than 11 million foreigners. Currently, the museum receives over 1 million visits each year.
4. Location of War Remnants Museum Vietnam
- Address: 28 Vo Van Tan, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
The War Remnants Museum is located on the corner of Vo Van Tan and Le Quy Don streets, close to the city center and other tourist attractions of Saigon. It takes 5 minutes to walk from the Independence Palace and about 10 minutes from Notre Dame Cathedral or Saigon Central Post Office.
- How to get there?
The easiest way to reach the museum is by taxi, which is available in all touristy areas. The trip will cost under VND 50,000 (about $2) from District 1.
If you want to save some money and feel adventurous, the bus would be a great option. Choose bus number 14 if you depart from Mien Dong bus station, bus number 28 if departing from Ben Thanh market, and bus number 06 if departing from Cho Lon bus station.
Getting a car or motorbike ride via the Grab and Uber apps is also a great option.
You may also like:
- Vietnam capital: Things to know before your departure
- Northern Vietnam: 12 top-rated destinations to add to your 2023 bucket list
- Vietnamese Reunification Day: Date, History & Celebration Activities
5. Must-see things in Saigon War Remnants Museum
The War Remnants Museum has outdoor exhibitions and a main 3-storey exhibition building with a total floor area of 4,522 square meters. The museum currently holds 20,000 documents, artifacts, and films.
The museum has partially exposed the brutal truth about the Vietnam War and its long-lasting traumatic consequences. Some materials can be disturbing, which is why you should carefully consider when bringing your children to visit.
5.1. Explore military equipments in the outdoor exhibition
As you pass through the front gate of the War Remnants Museum Saigon, you will see various heavy weapons used by the US Army, such as US Air Force helicopters, aircraft, and armored tanks on display in the courtyard. In addition, there are many types of weapons such as missiles, bombs, and mines that used to be active and had their detonators disarmed before being displayed here.
At the back, you will find a small pathway leading to the Tiger Cages, replicas of the real Tiger Cages used in the prison in Con Dao. Tiger Cages are barbed-wire cages used as a tool of torture, where the South Vietnamese government secretly detained and tortured political prisoners in Con Dao. This area displays only a small portion of the original exhibition, with a tiger cage on cobblestones, statues of malnourished prisoners inside two darkened cells, torture devices, a guillotine, and numerous black and white photos of the time.
5.2. Ground floor exhibition - Learn how the world supports Vietnam in the war
If you enter the museum via the front door, you will immediately notice that to your left, there is an area dedicated to the victims of Agent Orange (a chemical weapon), called Difficulty Overcoming Victims of Agent Orange.
They make and sell their crafts such as keychains, lamps, and sculptures, and sometimes perform with musical instruments here. Not only is this a place where you can learn about the constant pain of the people in the Vietnam War, but it is also a place where you can make small contributions to help these people have a better life.
Behind, there is an area that often holds temporary exhibitions related to the history and culture of Vietnam. Although the themes will change from time to time, they mainly cover stories in the Vietnam War.
Across the room, next to the stairs, you can see an exhibition titled "The world supports Vietnam in the resistance war", which has 100 photos and 145 artifacts showing how people around the world supported the Vietnamese in the resistance war against the US and protested against the Vietnam War. The museum also displays a number of remnants that American soldiers gave to the museum to express their regret for participating in the senseless war in Vietnam. While some argue that the theme of the museum is subjective and one-sided from the Vietnamese point of view, this exhibition shows and emphasizes the attitudes and views of people around the world at that time.
5.3. First floor exhibition - See the extreme effects of Agent Orange
On this floor there are two galleries, the collection "Aftermath of Agent Orange in the devastating war in Vietnam" and the collection "Aggressive war crimes".
In the first room, you will see the devastation that toxic chemicals brought to Vietnamese lands and people. During the War, especially in the years 1961-1971, the US sprayed more than 100 million liters of toxic chemicals, including 386 kilograms of Dioxin. As a result, most of Vietnamese lands were contaminated; nearly 4.8 million Vietnamese people of that time and their subsequent generations were directly affected and at risk of severe disability. The effects of the toxic chemicals persist even to this day.
Besides the photos, there is a heartbreaking exhibition that can make you quite disturbed and haunted for a long time - the Thorxo Abdermine Pagus. On display here is solid evidence of the war crimes against the elderly, adults, children and infants of Vietnam.
On the other hand, the "Aggressive war crimes" exhibition includes 125 photos, 22 documents, and 243 remnants showing the war crimes and their extreme impacts on the country and people of Vietnam. The war ended with an estimated 3 million dead, 2 million injured, 200,000 missing, and heavy damage to facilities across the country.
5.4. Have a look at the Vietnam War in the second floor exhibition
On the top floor of the War Museum Saigon, visitors will have an overview of the Second Indochina War in exhibitions such as "Vietnam War and Peace" and "Historical Truth". Here, the photos of forests ravaged by toxic chemicals, weapons and many other remnants can make many people shocked and moved to tears, for they could hardly imagine such devastating consequences even though they have heard about the war.
Articles for you:
- Ho Thi Ky Flower Market: A paradise of fresh flowers in Ho Chi Minh City
- Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden: A thorough guide for your upcoming visit
- Sai Gon cuisine: Plenty of mouthwatering foods await you to enjoy
6. Other not-to-be-missed destinations in Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City offers a captivating blend of history and culture,making it an exciting destination beyond the War Remnants Museum. Here are some noteworthy destinations to explore:
Independence Palace: The palace is a prominent historical site in Ho Chi Minh City. It served as the presidential palace during the Vietnam War and is now open to the public, providing insights into Vietnam's history and political developments.
Cu Chi Tunnels: Located outside of Ho Chi Minh City, the Cu Chi Tunnels provide a unique opportunity to delve into the intricate underground network utilized by the Vietnamese during the war. Visitors can crawl through the narrow passages, learn about guerrilla warfare tactics, and gain insight into the resilience of the Vietnamese people.
Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts: Art enthusiasts can immerse themselves in Vietnam's vibrant art scene by visiting the Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts. The museum showcases an extensive collection of Vietnamese art, including paintings, sculptures, and ceramics, spanning various periods and styles.
Ho Chi Minh City Opera House: A grand architectural masterpiece, the Ho Chi Minh City Opera House offers a glimpse into the city's cultural heritage. Visitors can enjoy performances ranging from traditional Vietnamese opera to contemporary dance and music, or simply admire the stunning façade of the building.
History Museum of Ho Chi Minh City: The History Museum provides a comprehensive overview of Ho Chi Minh City's past, from its ancient origins to its colonial and wartime periods. Exhibits include artifacts, photographs, and documents that shed light on the city's rich history and cultural heritage.
Ranked among the most attractive destinations in Asia, Vietnam offers numerous beautiful natural wonders, unique architectural works, and detectable cuisine. Don't forget to visit Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, and Ha Long to explore the best that Vietnam has to offer.
While visiting these destinations, you can enhance your experience by staying at Vinpearl properties, which are known for their luxurious accommodations and top-notch amenities. Additionally, make sure to visit VinWonders, a chain of world-class entertainment complexes under Vinpearl.
Above is the necessary information for anyone who will be paying a visit to the historical War Remnants Museum. If you are fond of history, this attraction will surely be a worthy destination in your marvelous trip to Vietnam. Get your backpack ready and make sure not to miss out on this memorable place!