Looking for a great Hanoi museum? There are plenty! Here you’ll read about 10 great ones. The facts. Museums and galleries are the physical history books of a country.
If you want to add depth to your Hanoi itinerary or vacation, stepping into the capital’s numerous galleries and museums aside from the typical destinations would should be memorable, especially in Hanoi types of galleries and museum options. Amazingly, you can picture the capital’s artistry, struggles, and revolutionary success within a couple of miles away if you’re already in the city.
If you’re still looking for the best ones, let me help you with these ten galleries and museums you should prioritize.
- Vietnam Fine Arts Museum
This art museum is located at Nguyen Thai Hoc and housed on the French Ministry of Information. In its three-storey structure, you can see a rare collection of Vietnam’s sculptures, lacquer works, and paintings in chronological order. Some may not be the original piece since many artworks here are destroyed during the American War. About which one is original and not, the experts don’t know too. Nevertheless, it’s created by the same artists.
The ground floor houses the 1800s Vietnamese artistry with the large pieces of Bodhisattva and Guan Yin as the highlights. If you like visual arts, you should head to the upper floors and see the fusion of European and Asian art. On the top floor as well are applied arts that display costumes and ethnic artifacts.
If you’re interested to buy the reproduced copies of the pieces, you can inquire for a special arrangement on the small stalls inside. But if you’re just up for a visual treat, allow one to two hours to fully explore the place. Most of the stuff here has English descriptions, but hiring a guide for just US$6.6 will let you understand the exhibit better. It’s open from 8:30 am to 5 pm.
The word “Nguyen” means original, that’s why this place’s advocacy is to promote original and quality art from local artists. The paintings here are created using the traditional materials in Vietnam like lacquer, water color, and charcoal applied on “Do” paper. Aside from the paintings, you can also see sculptures inside.
Nguyen Art Museum has three gallery levels and even their stairwells and halls are also packed with artworks. Dozens of in-house artists fill the place with their varying artworks that you can also buy if you want. They can ship it anywhere in the world if you buy a piece worth more than US$1500.
Since many tourists make this part of their Hanoi itinerary, they’re organizing monthly exhibits with different art sets. The place is a bit smaller than other galleries, but the takeaway here is the free entrance. There are also brochures about the arts in the display.
Nguyen Art Gallery is located at Van Mieu Street and opens all week long from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm except during Sundays when it’s open from 9:30 pm to 5:30 pm only. Be mindful of the holidays because they’re close on those occasions.
This place isn’t your regular art gallery. Tadioto is a café and also serves as the art space of Vietnam’s acclaimed artist Nguyen Quy Duc. The intimate setting plus comfortable seats are just the perfect places to appreciate art as you sip one of their drinks.
It’s not a spacey art gallery, but Nguyen’s artworks are enough to invite tourists to stop by and check the place. The café had moved many times until it finally settled at the heart of the French Quarter. Its red painted doors are enough of an intrigue to know what lies inside this humble spot in the busy Hoan Kiem District.
The food here is mostly European in taste courtesy of Chef Hugo Barberis. There are also cocktails and milkshakes that you can enjoy as you go around the place or enjoy the live performance. If you’re planning to visit, the place is open between 8 am to midnight.
- Hanoi Grapevine
Since its start back in 2007, Grapevine became one of the most popular contemporary platforms for Vietnamese art and culture. The Hanoi itinerary hosts a wide variety of art from visuals to music, documentaries, films, photography, and charity events.
The place has an international mindset of reaching an audience to promote the local artistry. They host artists like Faust Munik, Dat Vu, Ly Hoang Ly, and more of the country’s promising ones. As you go through their exhibits, you’ll experience the perfect artsy vibe with their classical music performances or original songs that their “Songwriters Night” features.
They also organize music workshops, either local or western sound. From small groups of musicians, Grapevine also hosts powerhouse concerts and theater acts. If you like, you can book one of these if you arrived right in time for a concert.
I advise that you contact them ahead before visiting. Events might disrupt regular operations so it’s better to ask if they’re open for walk-in visitors.
- Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
As one of the historic landmarks in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh is a must-visit to pay your respect to Vietnam’s late revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh. Uncle Ho as locals call him, his body rests inside the mausoleum and preserved in a glass case. They allow viewing for the remains but you shouldn’t stop in the queue.
Another must-see here is the changing of guards posted in the remains. You’re lucky if you can catch this moment because even Swiss guards can be in awe. The interior of the mausoleum is an amazing marble spectacle.
Before you go in this Hanoi itinerary, remember that no cameras are allowed inside. They also discourage talking and putting your hands in your pocket because of security reasons. Obviously, you have to dress properly because they’ll not let you in if you’re wearing shorts, sleeveless top, and slippers. Vietnamese people highly respect Uncle Ho and as a tourist, you should also oblige.
The mausoleum is open all week long except Mondays and the month of October when Uncle Ho’s remains are flown to Russia for maintenance. The entrance is free and you just have to follow admission process including depositing your bag on their counter.
- Vietnamese Women’s Museum
This museum in Ly Thong Kiet Street highlights the contributions of Vietnamese women during the war periods. From paintings, relics, and tribal costumes, they also have propaganda posters, fabric motifs, and basket wares.
The Women’s Union of Vietnam runs the place. They present narratives of women in different roles like street workers, farmers, business leaders, academicians, and mothers among others. These exhibits come in a story-telling format that speaks much about marriage, lifestyle, rituals, and everyday heroism of the country’s women.
You shouldn’t miss video documentaries about the lives of mothers during wartime and how moving their sacrifices are. Feast your eyes on over a thousand artifacts displayed in glass cases like batik, jewelry, and woven fabric.
The place is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 8 am to 4:30 pm. You can book the tickets online for just US$1.3.
- Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
Home to Vietnam’s ethnic knowledge, the Museum of Ethnology showcases the 54 ethnic minority groups in Vietnam as part of their efforts to promote awareness about sociocultural diversity. From informational materials to artifacts and symbolic rituals, your anthropologist side will enjoy this Hanoi itinerary.
Each ethnic group features the daily objects they use, a library, research center, and auditorium. Outside, you can see full replicas of ethnic houses in which artists gave painstaking attention to every detail to capture the exact look.
Overall, the exterior of the museum is a peaceful garden where you can also spend time to escape the city noise. You can kill time checking out the traditional water puppet theatre and calligraphy displays scattered all over the place.
With over 15,000 artifacts to see, entrance fee with concession is worth it at US$2.45. If you want to understand the displays further, you can pay for a guide worth US$4.4. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 8:30 am to 5:30 pm.
- Institut Français de Hanoi
Situated near the Hanoi Opera House, Institut Français de Hanoi or French Institute Hanoi serves as the meeting point between Vietnamese and French artistry. For 12 years, it’s been standing five-storey tall and houses the foreign affairs and international development project of France.
Here, they organize exhibits in their so-called L’Espace as well as hold scenic arts like music by inviting artists in different genres like jazz, classical, rock, chanson, and electro. The main events here are the master classes conducted upon the arrival of French professionals.
If you’re arriving in time, you can catch their “Europe meets Asia Contemporary Dance Festival” during September, music fest during the month of December, and the celebration of literature at the month of May. They also have film showings and debates here from time to time.
The institute is open almost every day of the week but I suggest that you call them ahead to check if they’re in regular operation.
- Hoa Loa Prison Museum
For a thought-provoking Hanoi itinerary, visit the Hoa Loa Prison or “Hanoi Hilton” to see exhibits depicting Vietnams struggle during the war era. There are life-size and realistic human figures here depicting the prisoners and soldiers.
There’s also a relic of a guillotine inside that was used to behead Vietnamese soldiers. The prison-cum-museum also has the presentations of American soldiers who shared the same plight. Based on history, Hoa Loa wasn’t a successful prison with many easily escaping its walls.
If you’re planning to visit, the place is open from 8 am to 5 pm where entrance fee costs US$1.3 both for children and adults. It’s located near the French Quarter with a façade saying “Maison Centrale” because it’s built by French people as a central prison.
- Vietnam Military History Museum
Also known to locals as the Army Museum, this place houses the weaponry and planes of Vietnam during their past wars. If you’re planning to go deep in history you’ll enjoy looking at the relics, accounts of French and American soldiers, and their weaponry.
The famous spot here for tourists here is where the remains of the American B-52 Bomber aircraft rests, a military tank, and a self-propelled gun. Inside it, you can find videos and dioramas of the Battle of Dien Bien Phu and a collection of improvised weapons.
At first glance, you can see three fighter planes mounted on a concrete platform. There are also a variety of military tanks on the ground and a well-kept exhibit inside the facility. They’re open Tuesday to Sunday in Ba Dinh District. Entrance fee costs around US$1.3 and a camera fee of 80 US cents.
Visiting Hanoi isn’t only about enjoying the offers of the present time. If you really want to immerse yourself in the beauty and life of Vietnam, you have to see its struggles, success, and rich artistry. Your Hanoi itinerary will not be complete without setting foot to at least one museum and gallery. Hanoians are creative souls and seeing their works will make you fall in love with them even more.
Have you been in any of these places? Share your experience with us!
More from Relax Mode / Spa / Quiet Times
Hanoi isn’t to be left out on pampering with its extensive roster of spas After a tiring flight and lingering jet …