Museums and Galleries of Hanoi II, Hanoi

Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, offers a vast collection of fantastic museums. Here you can learn about the importance and development of the Vietnamese society. The extraordinary venues are like mirrors of history, prepared to take you through a walk of this amazing civilization.
You can follow this self-guided walking tour to explore the attractions listed below. How it works: download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Museums and Galleries of Hanoi II Map

Guide Name: Museums and Galleries of Hanoi II
Guide Location: Vietnam » Hanoi (See other walking tours in Hanoi)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km
Author: HelenF
Museum of Revolution

1) Museum of Revolution (must see)

One of the best museums in Vietnam, this repository of photographs and other exhibits showcases the long struggle by the Vietnamese people for independence and unity. It was established in 1959 in a French colonial building that previously belonged to the Trade Department of Vietnam.

The museum is dedicated to the struggle against the French colonial rulers and other foreign powers by the Vietnamese people under the leadership of the Communist party. The national liberation movements against the French before the establishment of the Communist party are also showcased at the museum. The struggle against the Americans in the Vietnam War is the topic of the exhibits presented on the first floor; the 2nd floor is devoted to struggle against the French colonial rulers. Photographs and memorabilia tell the story of Ho Chi Minh and there are oil paintings that show the struggles and torture suffered by the Vietnamese people in colonial prisons of Phu Coq Island in South Vietnam. Visitors can view the evolution of modern Vietnam, from the August revolution of 1945, that resulted in victory against the French in Dien Bien Phu, to the present.

The Museum of Revolution in Hanoi has 30 galleries and over 40.000 historical exhibits including a 1920s jar that stored revolutionary documents, a Japanese Buddhist drum that was played at communist rallies, and the first sewing machine in Vietnam.

Operation hours: Monday - Sunday: 8 am - 12 pm; 1 pm - 5 pm
National Museum of Vietnamese History

2) National Museum of Vietnamese History (must see)

The National Museum of Vietnamese History, located in the Hoan Kiem district of Hanoi is an exhaustive repository of objects from the different civilizations that flourished in Vietnam.

The National Museum of Vietnamese History was established by the French colonial rulers as the Far East Research Institute. The museum formed part of the institute at the time. The building was designed by French architect, Ernest Hebrard, and is considered one of the finest examples of Indochinese architecture. It combines French colonial and traditional Vietnamese styles. The structure, completed in 1932, is so designed that the interiors are protected from the sun yet plenty of fresh air is let in conforming to modern day eco friendly architectural norms.

Historical treasures among exhibits featured at the museum include drums from the Bronze Age Dong Son civilization. The Dong Son civilization flourished near present day Hanoi and was known for its advanced metal casting expertise. The Champa civilization extended from Central to South Vietnam and their religious stone carvings are preserved in the building and as outdoor sculptures. Exhibits, including costumes and objects from the many subsequent royal dynasties that ruled Vietnam, are showcased at the museum.

By hiring a guide, visitors can get a better insight into the glorious history of Vietnam reflected in the exhibits displayed at the museum.

Operation hours: Monday - Sunday: 8 am - 4:30 pm; except first Monday of the month
Geology Museum

3) Geology Museum

The Geological Museum located near the National Museum of Vietnamese History in Hanoi, is a unique storehouse of information regarding the rocks, fossils and gemstones found in Vietnam. Collections are arranged in sections that provide detailed information about the geological evolution and mineral wealth of the country.

In 1898, the Geological Survey of Indochina was established by the French colonial rulers. Two geologists, H. Lantenois and H. Mansuy, were given the task of building a museum to house many of the objects found during the survey. A stately French style structure was built in 1914 where the wealth of objects, rocks fossils and gemstones from around the country were stored. When the museum opened its doors, it had only one storey. Two more floors were added in 1915 to effectively showcase all the specimens collected during and after the first geological survey.

Today, the museum belongs to the Department of Geology and Minerals of Vietnam. Exhibits are arranged in three major sections and 12 subsections. The section showing the evolution of geology shows how many of the scenic natural wonders of Vietnam were created. There are also many geological publications that will interest visitors and students at the museum. Visitors can purchase rubies, the most commonly occurring gemstone in Vietnam at a nearby store.

Operation hours: Monday - Friday: 8 am - 12 pm; 1 pm - 5 pm; Saturday - Sunday: 1 pm - 5 pm
Dong Phong Gallery

4) Dong Phong Gallery

The Dong Phong Art Gallery is considered one of the finest art galleries in Hanoi. A small but impressive collection of art is available by some of the best known artists in Vietnam. Works by new artists are also showcased from time to time.

The Dong Phong art gallery is located in a quiet charming French quarter in Hanoi. The gallery specializes in showing and selling Vietnamese fine art. Art lovers Pho Hong Long and Mai Thi Thanh started the Dong Phong art gallery. Their goal was to not only showcase the works of Vietnamese artists but to nurture new talents in Hanoi. An impressive collection of local and regional paintings is on display. Older beaux art French influenced paintings are also available.

The owners have 20 years experience in collecting and selling local paintings and a visit is both a visual delight and a learning experience. They have a long standing relationship with many of the country’s well known artists like the contemporary artist, Nguyen Tu Nghiem. They also help young and upcoming artists by introducing their work to visitors.

The Dong Phong gallery in Hanoi has a constant stream of visitors and art lovers from around the world looking for works by well known Vietnamese artists and for a good bargain on works by budding talents. Studio visits are also arranged with some of the artists.

Operation hours: Monday - Sunday: 9:30 am - 6 pm
Museum of Vietnamese Women

5) Museum of Vietnamese Women (must see)

The Museum of Vietnamese Women, located in a leafy courtyard in Ly Thuong Kiet Street in Hanoi is one of the few museums in the world dedicated solely to the life and achievements of women. The museum is a tribute to the sacrifices and contributions made by women to society and to the country of Vietnam.

The idea of establishing a museum dedicated to women was that of Vietnam Women’s Union president Nguyen Thi Dinh and the collections are the result of ten years of patient research. The building was designed by a lady architect, Tran Xuan Diem.

Visitors are welcomed in the first section of the museum by 3.6 meter high statue dedicated to the Vietnamese mother. The sculpture by Phu Cuong is cast in pure gold. Another section shows the contribution of women in the construction of modern Vietnam and their services in defending the nation. The walls are covered with photographs of women taking active part in all professional fields like education, industry, transport and healthcare in Vietnam. There is also a section devoted to the achievements of the Women’s workers union, a 65 year old institution that has taken an active part in the building of the nation.

A popular section is the collection of costumes worn by women from 54 nationalities that make up Vietnam. There is also a gift shop and café for the convenience of visitors.

Operation hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 8 am – 5 pm
Hanoi Hilton

6) Hanoi Hilton (must see)

The Hoa Lo prison in Hanoi, sarcastically referred to as the Hanoi Hilton by American POWs in the 2nd Indochina War, is a vast prison complex built by the French in the style of the Maison Centrales a euphemism used for prisons in France. At first it was used as a prison, detention and torture center for revolutionaries struggling for independence from France. During the Vietnam War, the prison was used to house several American pilots whose planes were shot down by Vietnamese forces.

The Hoa Lo prison was built by the French between 1886 and 1901. Hoa Lo means fiery furnace or stove in Vietnamese. The facility was built to house 450 inmates. During the freedom struggle, the prison had more than 2000 Vietnamese inmates living in sub human conditions. Several tools of torture used by the French are preserved including a Guillotine used to behead early Vietnamese freedom fighters. From 1964 to 1973, the prison was a major POW detention facility and earned its name, the Hanoi Hilton. Well known inmates included Senator John McCain, the 2008 Presidential nominee of the Republican Party and Pete Peterson, who later became ambassador to Vietnam.

A small part of the original facility is preserved. The other part has now become a modern office and residential complex called the Hanoi Towers. Hanoi Hilton is located near the French quarter.

Operation hours: Monday - Sunday: 8 am - 5 pm

Walking Tours in Hanoi, Vietnam

Create Your Own Walk in Hanoi

Create Your Own Walk in Hanoi

Creating your own self-guided walk in Hanoi is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
City Orientation Walk II

City Orientation Walk II

Among the crowded streets of the Vietnamese capital, tourists may discover hidden little gems of great spiritual, political, and cultural value. Take a walk through the heart of the city and stumble across the massive monuments, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the remains of French occupation, as well as many other prominent landmarks.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.2 km
Entertainment for Children in Hanoi

Entertainment for Children in Hanoi

There are a lot of tempting places to visit in Hanoi, which is especially true for children when everything seems a hundred times more attractive. Driving carts, boating, shopping for sweets, toys, and other gifts are just a few of the many things to do.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 km
Museums and Galleries of Hanoi I

Museums and Galleries of Hanoi I

Hanoi is the perfect travel destination for those interested in Vietnamese art. This crowded city, known to be one of the world’s top destinations, features a plethora of creative artists who strive to share their talents and express their feelings through art. Visitors will be amazed at the the number of outstanding galleries inside the city.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 km
Places of Worship in Hanoi

Places of Worship in Hanoi

For a thousand years Hanoi has been the capital of Vietnam as well as an important cultural center of the country. The city features amazing pagodas along with temples and churches. In spite of French domination, Hanoi preserved its amazing religious venues and to this day are a joy to see.

Tour Duration: 4 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 9.0 km
City Orientation Walk I

City Orientation Walk I

Among the crowded streets of the Vietnamese capital, tourists may discover hidden little gems of great spiritual, political, and cultural value. Take a walk through the heart of the city and stumble across the massive monuments, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the remains of French occupation, as well as many other prominent landmarks.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.9 km

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Hanoi for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Hanoi has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Hanoi, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.