I do not like museums, galleries, and all this things much, but it is a must visit places. Especially in a foreign country. Keep calm and visit museums! Develop yourself culturally or die.
This museum is called Bảo tàng Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh in Vietnamese and Ho Chi Minh City Museum in English. Sounds simple, but it makes things hard. Hard to deal with taxi drivers or passers by. But there is also an old name, just in case. Vietnamese Dinh Gia Long or Gia Long Palace in english.
The palace was build at 1890 by design of french architect Alfred Foulhoux who use classical Baroque architecture with European and Oriental influences. The flooring, staircases and halls were European-styled, while the roof was Oriental-inspired. Surrounding the palace is a trapezoid-shaped flower garden, with 4 pathways. Maybe that’s why my vietnamese girlfriend doesn’t like it much. But I have no idea. I copy-paste from wikipedia.
This building is supposed to be a museum of trade and production, offers exhibitions of southern Vietnam goods. But it wasn’t a museum all the time. The palace became the residence of various political and military forces during the tough history of Vietnam. But today it is a museum and part of it has kept the original purpose. If you think that Vietnam produce only a coffee, tiger balm and easy going women, then this is your first destination.
Most of museums in Vietnam welcome visitors with military equipment. Outside we have a helicopter, war plane, war plane, old car, cannon, cannon, tank, and, as expected, a three.
One thing I don’t like about museums is a glass. All of exhibits are hidden in glass boxes. It is kinda normal and makes sense, but the trouble is that the glass reflect someone’s fat belly on a pictures. Actually that belly is slowly disappearing, so I do not really shy.
I did like this museum. It is interesting. The thing is that it does not follows a specific theme, but rather covers a lot of things.
It is surprising how different money was in Vietnam and how many are kept in the museum. I’m not a fan of coins and somehow did not even think to explore this field, did not think that there is so much varieties. But I have finally realized what those holes in a center of a conis are for.
I recommend to visit it. Especially if you don’t plan to visit many museums, but cultural growth is still important for you. And this one should be visited first if you do plan to visit many of them. It is kinda heading to the rest of museums.
10 point to this museum for being free from tourists! Maybe it didn’t get into must see lists, or maybe tourists just can’t reach palace after war and art museum. Anyway, the museum has not a soul! And it is so quiet.
Address: 65 Lý Tự Trọng, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Phone: +84 8 3829 9741
Opening hours: 8am – 5pm without breaks and days off
Links: Site, Foursquare, Trip Advisor, Google maps
Coordinates: 10.7760, 106.6997
Tickets: 15.000₫, and 20.000₫ extra for photography.