Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts

An exquisite French colonial villa is home to a collection of fine art that explores the interesting history of this diverse country.

Experience the emotions of a nation through a display of paintings inspired by war-torn Vietnam at the excellent Museum of Fine Arts. Marvel at stone statues from as early as the 7th century and see some of the most beautiful Vietnamese landscapes captured on canvas.

The museum is set in a superb mansion that dates back to 1929 and was inspired by a combination of Chinese and French architectural styles. Although the stained-glass windows have faded slightly, the wide marble staircases and bright tiled walls are as stunning as when the mansion was first built.

Start on the ground level, where you can browse several exhibits of paintings by local artists. The majority of the paintings depict Vietnamese landscapes, with pictures of pagodas and the coastal regions of southern Vietnam among the most popular subjects.

Make your way up the grand staircase to the second floor. Here you can view works by some of Vietnam’s leading artists of the 20th century, such as Trinh Cung, Do Quang Em and Diep Minh Chau. Taking center stage is a display of vivid paintings created to honor participants in the wars against the U.S. and France.

On the third floor of the museum you will find a range of rare historic artifacts. Don’t miss several stone and wood carvings of Buddha and Vishnu from the Kingdom of Funan. Stroll around and you will come across stone figures and carvings recovered from the Mekong Delta in the southwestern part of the country.

Before you leave the museum, be sure to take a ride in one of the oldest working elevators in Ho Chi Minh City. If you would rather take the stairs, stand back and watch as the elevator glides quietly between floors.

Find the Museum of Fine Arts in the center of Ho Chi Minh City. The museum is closed on Mondays and there is a small admission fee.