This three-storey museum is packed with more exhibits than you’ll be able to take in during one visit, and is a sensible excursion for museum lovers curious about Vietnam’s history, as told from the perspective of the current regime.
Outside the museum is a sizeable collection of tanks, guns and aircraft dating from the French colonial period through Vietnam’s conflict in Cambodia. There are some great specimens on display in good condition, including jets and prop planes from both sides of each conflict, many with grenade and missile launcher still attached. Sadly you can’t climb in and sit at the controls, but aviation nuts will still have a field day.
The museum’s displays flow from top to bottom, so after entering, climb the stairs to the left up to the top floor. The display commences with some of the actual wooden spikes used by Tran Hung Dao in the 11th century to swamp the Chinese fleet up in Ha Long Bay and continues somewhat chronologically from there through one conflict after another. Some of the displays are trivial, but in among them are some great historical photographs, and most of the legends are translated into reasonably comprehensible broken English.