The Ho Chi Minh City Museum is a historic exhibit in its own right. Once known as Gia Long Palace, this impressive 19th-century neo-classical building is adorned with a mix of Oriental design features. There is an abundance of sculptures both inside and out as well as elaborate ceramic tile flooring in the corridors and galleries.
The Ho Chi Minh City Museum charts the history of Saigon through archaeological exhibits, a comprehensive array of ceramics, and the traditional customs of various local ethnic communities. The struggle for independence and wartime conflict makes up a large part of the exhibition space, with most of the museum’s upper floor devoted to it.
Arguably the most unique part of the Ho Chi Minh City Museum lies beneath the main exhibit space. There is a secret air raid bunker and escape tunnel situated below ground, with a small section of it open for viewing.
While the museum is quite large, the displays are well spaced out, although most lack English descriptions. A look at the decorative art features of the building itself adds to the experience. Expect it to take around one to two hours to see everything at a relaxing pace.
Both the revolutionary struggle and Vietnam War from 1954 – 1975 are well detailed within the museum, with various pieces of military hardware and vintage cars displayed in the outdoor garden.
The museum is home to a range of artifacts, such as 2,000-year-old stone axes, personal effects, and jewelry, that were discovered at archaeological digs across the region. Furthermore, there is an impressive Vietnamese currency section showcasing different coins and banknotes used through the ages.
The immersive ‘Culture of Saigon’ exhibit space displays the diverse culture of the region through belief systems, marriage, and funeral customs as well as art and music. View the instruments, costumes, and various photos of famous performances of ‘Cai Luong’ folk opera, which has been a popular art form since the early 20th century.
The museum is located in the heart of District 1, close to the Fine Arts Museum, Reunification Palace, and Ben Thanh Market. Numerous downtown bus routes, including no 4, 18, 31, 36, 109, and 152, stop at the Ly Tu Trong Station, which is just a couple of minutes’ walk away from the museum entrance.
Make sure to add this museum to your itinerary on your next trip to Ho Chi Minh City. A great addition to any sightseeing you may have planned, spending a few hours at the Ho Chi Minh City Museum is sure to provide you with a better understanding of not only the city but the country.
Address: 65 Lý Tự Trọng, Bến Nghé, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Phone: +84 28 3829 9741
Season: Year-Round | Daily 8 AM – 5 PM