June 2, 2011

VIETNAM DIARIES: War Remnants Museum

In an effort to normalize the relationship between Vietnam and US and to keep from offending American visitors, The House for Displaying War Crimes of American Imperialism and the Puppet Government (of South Vietnam), now holds a more subtle and tourist friendly name - The War Remnants Museum.

The museum at 28 Vo Van Tan in District 3 is a walled yard of series of structures containing war memorabilia. It carries a lot of vivid images of the war and its rather troubling effects. A few of the exhibits include images of the effect of the chemical dubbed as Agent Orange. This chemical has caused massive birth defects and photos of children with abnormalities and of fetuses with apparent deformities swimming on preservatives in a jar dominates one section. Some displays were horrid blood stained uniforms, guns and ammunitions.

The 2nd floor mainly consists of photographs and news clippings about the war while the courtyard was filled with American war vessels.

There is also a reconstruction of the Tiger Cages. History has it that the cages were used to hold political prisoners during the war where they were abused and tortured at the same time and standing prominently on the center, a guillotine for execution.

I have avoided this tourist site since we got to saigon because of its graphic displays and curiosities made worse with their short English descriptions as it is factually rather heavy and disheartening. True enough just minutes inside, the sad vibe that permeates the building got too oppressive that I felt claustrophobic. Had to rush back out gasping for air while Kim was left inside having a field day with the demonstrations.

WARNING: This museum is definitely not for the faint hearted.

HOW TO GET THERE: the museum is located in District 3, 28 Vo Van Tan Street, cab drivers shouldn't have any trouble finding it since its a pretty popular tourist destination in Saigon.

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  1. So sad :( But I'm really into war museums so I'm particularly interested with this post. Should bookmark this for future reference.

  2. The atmosphere is indeed sad:-( Magkakasundo kayo ni Kim sa mga war museums:-)

  3. I've been to this museum on my own. It was disheartening for me but at the same time an eye-opening experience as well.

  4. True that Claire, very well said. It is an accurate description of war, not only of Vietnam's struggle. Very moving.


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