Ho Chi Minh City is the business, financial and arts hub of Vietnam. Formerly known as Saigon (and still referred to often as) the city is full to the brim with a diverse and exciting arts and culture scene. Just from walking around the town you will see the contrast of impressive French inspired buildings, statuesque modern skyscrapers, and delicate traditional Vietnamese architecture. Within this stunning mix of old and new is a combination of world-class modern and contemporary museums. We’ve compiled a list of the six must-see Saigon Museums to feature on your Saigon tour.
An art gallery in Ho Chi Minh City formerly known as Saigon (Source: Internet)
The War Remnant Museum
The War Remnant Museum, previously known as the Museum of American war crimes, is a compelling and disturbing insight into the impact that Western militaries have had on the residents of Vietnam. A rare chance to hear harrowing accounts of war from the victims themselves through a range of artifacts, featuring the French guillotine and the famous torture instrument, the tiger cages.
It’s important to consider that this exhibition is a one-sided account of the war. However, photographs can’t lie, and many of the most harrowing illustrations of US war crimes are from US sources. Not for the faint-hearted, many photos convey horrific scenes of bloodshed due to US bombing and napalming. The ground floor provides a slight emotional relief from the horrors above, pro-peace posters and photographs are displayed from all around the globe, helping to restore some faith in humanity.
Although the museums subject matter is tough to swallow, it expresses an essential depiction of the brutality of war; it’s important to educate ourselves on past atrocities, to if nothing else serve as a reminder to future generations, to avoid the same perilous mistakes.
- Address: 28 Vo Van Tan St, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- Price: 40,000 VND
The War Remnants Museum (Source: Internet)
Southern Women’s Museum
The Southern Women’s Museum is a celebration of the accomplishments of Vietnamese Women. The Museum was established in 1990 and is home to 16,000 artifacts, documents, books, and pictures depicting the role of women throughout history in Vietnam and during the war. See the traditional arts and crafts that are on display including weaving tools still used today by Southern Women, on your Saigon tour. Traditional clothes and accessories are displayed such as the famous Ao Dai, a beautiful flowing long-sleeved high-necked dress, with large slits up to the hip down both sides, which are accompanied by long loose fitted trousers.
- Address: 202 Vo Thi Sau street, Precinct 7, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- Price: Free
Outside the Southern Women’s Museum (Source: Internet)
Artinus 3D Art Museum
This contemporary and unusual art gallery is a great tourist attraction for families! The first of its kind in Vietnam, tourists can become actors in front of the colorful paintings, morphing into a part of the optical illusion. You could ride a flying carpet, fight a tiger, climb across a magical floating bridge, or shrink down to the size of an ant. Children and the young at heart will have hours of amusement here. Over 100 talented artists created the fun and interactive artworks.
Walking around and getting involved with the artwork is the perfect way to spend a rainy day! Remember to bring your camera; most of the optical illusions are only visible through a lens. The weird yet wonderful experience will leave you with hilarious memories and pictures to treasure for years.
- Address: 02-04 Road 9, Him Lam Residence, Tan Hung Thuan Ward, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- Price: 260,000 VND
Artinus 3D Art Museum (Source: Internet)
Ao Dai Museum
The Ao Dai is a traditional Vietnamese tunic dress that is accompanied by trousers underneath; often women wear them for formal occasions. Commonly floor-length with long-selves, the modest yet bold garment has become an iconic symbol of Vietnamese feminine beauty.
A short trip to this underrated museum will enlighten you to the fascinating history of the quintessential Vietnamese garment. A little way out of Ho Chi Minh City, amidst the luscious lotus fields and idyllic surrounds you’ll find this charming hidden gem. The museum is perfect for those interested in fashion and design or just intrigued by popular culture. Steeped in historical significance, the oldest Ao Dai’s here dates back to the 1700’s. When planning a visit on you Saigon tour, it would be beneficial to call in advance to request an English speaking tour guide to appreciate the exhibition best.
- Address: 206/19/30 Long Thuan, Thuan, Long Phuoc ward, District 9, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- Price: 100,000 VND
Inside the Ao Dai Museum (Source: Internet)
Fine Arts Museum
The typical colonial-era building is bursting with a wide selection of modern and contemporary art masterpieces, some dating as far back as the 4th century. Even the building is a work of art in its own right with stunning period details, exquisite marble flooring, and faded stained glass windows.
War is unsurprisingly a recurring influence in some of the artwork here; the scars of combat are engrained in Vietnamese heritage. Art is a positive and productive way to express emotions or opinions, whatever they might be.
Infuse your Saigon tour with a splash of culture at this delightful gallery. The first floor features work of domestic and international artists; the second floor is where you’ll find both stimulating painting and striking sculptures. Sculptures which pay homage to cherished iconic such as Buddha are on display to the public.
- Address: 97a Ð Pho Duc Chinh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- Price: 10,000 VND
Vietnam Museum of Fine Art (Source: Internet)
Described as ‘the little museum of herbal spirit and tea’ this tiny museum explores the wonderful homeopathic elements of tea and other herbal remedies. Discover the health benefits from each type of tea and traditional medical herbs, widely used by the locals. The healing teas that are made from herbs, roots, flowers, bark, and fruit can be used as a preventive measure from illness or to aid a speedy recovery.
You can’t do a Saigon tour without trying the famous Vietnamese coffee and what better place than in a drinks museum!
- Address: 6/15 Cach Mang Thang Tam, Ben Thanh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- Price: Free
A shelf of herbal remedies in Drink Vietnam (Source: Internet)