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Vietnam Military History Museum

Tanks, planes, helicopters and torpedo launchers – come and clamber over salvaged military wreckage and learn about Vietnam's past from its own point of view.

The Vietnam Military History Museum provides a comprehensive insight into the nation's turbulent years from a Vietnamese viewpoint, making it an interesting place for visitors from abroad. The collections here exhibit information and materials relating to Vietnam's various battles for independence against the Chinese, French, Japanese and Americans. You can also learn about the history of the communist army and guerrilla fighters, and about the history of today's Vietnam People's Army.

The main area, opened in 1959, looks at conflicts that have taken place up to Ho Chi Minh's declaration of Independence in 1945 – this includes the days of Vietnam as a Chinese colony, as a French colony, and under Japanese occupation. It also examines the rise of the Viet Minh.

However, more visitors tend to be drawn by the newer building which concentrates on what is known here as the “American War” and in the US as the "Vietnam War": the violent conflict that raged through the 60s and 70s, and that has been the topic of so much debate. This is perhaps where it is most interesting to see events from a Vietnamese standpoint.

The new building has a good collection of photos, as well as a good collection of military paraphernalia from the frontline: these include homemade weapons such as bamboo spears and firearms. There is also much to be learnt about the Viet Cong guerrilla army, and the inventiveness and cunning tactics that they have become known for.

The museum has an outdoor area where you can walk amongst armoured tanks, aeroplanes and other military vehicles.

If your legs are feeling strong you should climb up the Hanoi Flag Tower: this is an old observation post from the days of French Indochina, and it gives you great panoramic views out over the city.

The museum is located in the city centre, opposite Lenin Park and close to the Ho Chi Minh complex; a visit to all three makes for a full day of Vietnamese history. The Military History Museum is closed on Sundays and Mondays, and also closes for lunch every day. There is a small entrance fee, with an added charge if you want to take pictures or shoot films.


Guide to Exploring Hanoi War Museum


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