War Remnants Museum stands out as one of must-visit attractions in Ho Chi Minh City for those who are curious about how Vietnamese people responded to the war. The museum leaves a strong impression on tourists by a wide range of exhibitions that are designed to reflect the effects of the war on the Vietnamese. Opening a few months after the end of the war, it was formerly considered the Museum of U.S. and Puppet War Crimes. Although most of the exhibits are likely to have an anti-American slant, the main purpose of the museum is still to show the horrors and scars of war.
Passing through the gate, visitors will find themselves in a large courtyard filled with a system of military vehicles and equipment (like planes, helicopters, giant bombs, jets, and a variety of tanks). Spend time exploring the entrance and grounds as well as taking photos in front of all these military vehicles. However, your experience inside may be a totally different story.
Inside, War Remnants Museum is divided into 3 levels with a number of exhibits. Actually, some of these exhibits are just temporarily closed with the aim of renovation. Thus, make sure that your walks are just limited to current exhibits, such as Historical Truths, Requiem, Vestiges of War Crimes, International Support for the Vietnamese People, Children’s Painting Collection, and U.S. State-of-the-Art Weaponry.
Special sections revolve around the hall of Historical Truths, which focuses on the press, news and propaganda denouncing the American government during the period of 1960s and 70s, as well as the room of International Support for the Vietnamese People, which contains offerings and posters from various world governments opposed to the entry of the Americans.
In general, “Requiem” exhibit is frequently visited by tourists. Coming here, some of them find it hard to hold their tears when seeing a collection of impressive photographs take by many foreign and Vietnamese journalists who were even perished during the battle. The exhibit contains the last shots that these journalists had taken before passing away.
Before arriving in the museum, you should keep in mind that captions on exhibits are displayed in Vietnamese and English that help tourists worldwide to easily enjoy their trip. It is not a big museum and you may move through it in a 1 or 2 hours. Thus, don’t forget to combine your trip with a journey to the Cu Chi Tunnels. Many travel agencies will partner a tour to the museum with a tour to the tunnels. You may access Cu Chi Tunnels – Ho Chi Minh City tour 1 day for more information. That’s why the best time to enter the museum is in the early morning. The reason is that you may avoid other tour groups that flock to the War Remnants Museum later in the day.
It is better to consult in advance some general reading about Vietnam’s history so that you are well informed to have your own perspective in a museum that is likely to be propagandistic. There is also one thing to remember! On balance, the museum is not always kid-friendly. Although children will probably get a kick out of the helicopters, planes, and tanks in the courtyard, the jail replica as well as the touching photos on the upper floors, which show the unexploded ordnance and the effects of Agent Orange, are very disturbing for them. Therefore, think carefully about whether to carry your kids to the museum or not!