Are you interested in Vietnamese history? If you are visiting Ho Chi Minh, you will want to visit the Ho Chi Minh City Museum of History. It’s a pretty extensive collection of artifacts and is housed in a gorgeous French Colonial building.
Disclaimer: Some of our articles may contain affiliate links; when you click on these links you’ll have the option to purchase or register for a service at no extra cost to you, but doing so helps us run this blog. That’s awesome!
We love a good history museum, and we’ve done a few in Ho Chi Minh City. We’ve visited the Ho Chi Minh City Museum, the War Remnants Museum, the Ao Dai Museum, and of course, Independence Hall. All worthwhile and full of Vietnamese history, especially a more modern history.
The wonderful thing about this museum, the Ho Chi Minh City Museum of History, is that it spans a much longer time period, starting in prehistory and working its way forward. This is a great museum for the most comprehensive yet manageable presentation of Vietnam’s history.
Visiting Ho Chi Minh City Fast Links (TLDR)
These are our top recommendations while visiting HCMC.
- Caravelle Hotel – ($$$) Famous, or infamous, for their Vietnam Era rooftop bar.
- Orchids Saigon Hotel – ($$) Right downtown and has a pool.
- Singita Saigon Boutique Hotel – ($) – Comfortable, cute, friendly staff and right downtown.
- Ibis Saigon Airport – ($) Near the airport.
Best Tours in HCMC
- A O Show Ticket at Saigon Opera House – Folk Show with a Cirque du Soleil vibe.
- Street Food Evening Walking Tour – a must-do!
- Cu Chi Tunnels: Morning or Afternoon Guided Tour – most popular tour in the city!
Essentials To Pack for Vietnam
Visiting Ho Chi Minh City Museum of History
We didn’t set out to visit this museum. We actually were headed to the Saigon Zoo with our grandson and discovered it quite by accident. We knew it was near the zoo, but we were excited to see that one of the museum entrances is right there at the zoo entrance.
As we walked into the museum, we could tell it had a different vibe than some of the other history museums in HCMC. Many of the museums really focus on the war between the North and the South, and the American involvement in it. This museum did touch on it, but not nearly to the same degree as most of the others.
For us, we concentrated on the sections that were dating from prehistory, some of the ancient civilizations, and national treasures including Buddha statues and some gods and goddesses from past religions.
This museum has a very clear and logical organization with different rooms covering different time periods or cultures. There were plenty of easy-to-read placards but there weren’t so many that it overwhelms you.
We also enjoyed seeing artifacts and reading about the various cultures and dynasties to include the Dong Son, Sa Huynh, Oc Eo, Ty Son, and Nguyen dynasties.
Planning Your Visit
Operating Hours: 8:00 – 5:00 with a lunch break from 11:30 – 1:00. Closed Mondays.
There seemed to be no air-conditioning in the building. Instead, all the doors and windows are open and the fans are blowing. It’s still a bit hot but not too uncomfortable. I think the best time to go would be in the late afternoon. The winds start blowing in HCMC, and the building has had time to air out.
Things to do Nearby
- Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens
- Saigon Central Post Office
- AO Show at the Saigon Opera House
- Independence Palace
- Nguyen Hue Walking Street
- The Café Apartments
- Ben Thanh Market
- The Water Bus (boat taxi)
Final Thoughts on the Ho Chi Minh City Museum of History
This is truly one of our favorites. We loved the length and breadth of history that it covered. The artifacts were very interesting, and just the overall vibe was inviting and comfortable. I think a lot of people don’t really pay this museum much credence, but I think it would be regretful to miss it.
Author Bio: Corinne Vail is a travel photographer, food lover, and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 14 years. For many years she lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands teaching the children of the US. military. She’s visited over 90 countries, and she’s not stopping anytime soon.