Admit it, when you hear the word Vietnam, the very first thing that comes to your mind is the Second World War. Do not worry, you are not alone. To be completely honest, that was also what I had in mind before I was finally able to visit the country back in 2018. But while we all know this part of their history, it is also important to note that things have changed. The Vietnam of today has evolved into such a beautiful and peaceful country and it is very hard to see any more traces of the Second World War which greatly affected the country more than seventy years ago.
Today, Vietnam keeps a record of their past in several museums found all over the country. One of these national museums is the Vietnam Military History Museum which is located in central Hanoi. Let us take a look at what’s inside this amazing tourist destination in Hanoi, Vietnam.
The museum has many different sections. One of them is the tall tower which holds the national flag of Vietnam called the Hanoi Flag Tower. Consisting of three tiers, the tower is considered one of the symbols of the city of Ha Noi. The tower was part of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long (another historical structure next door) until the museum was eventually set up in the 50s.
The flag tower was built more than two hundred years ago. Despite several wars, the tower still stands to this day.
A row of cannons from different eras are lined up below the first tier. These age-old cannons are just some of the many proofs of just how old the structure is.
On one of the sides of the structure, a wide staircase takes visitors to the second tier. Here, they can enter a small passageway underneath the tower.
The passageways are quite small and are quite tricky to navigate. To get to the next set of stairs, you have to crouch so you don’t hurt yourself.
Here is what the second tier looks like. There is plenty of space to roam around and enjoy the amazing views of the surrounding buildings and tourist attractions.
To get to the third tier, you have to enter another passageway and climb another flight of stairs.
Entry to the actual flag tower is prohibited (the steel gates are locked) so you will have to reward yourself with a few shots at the base. Just like what I did here.
The third tier offers an even more amazing view of the entire museum complex including the different museum buildings as well as the ‘Garden of Toys’ below.
The ‘Garden of Toys‘ is a term used to describe an area within the museum grounds where a collection of some of the decommissioned, destroyed, and captured military vehicles during the war are displayed. At the very center of the garden is a monument made out of scraps and pieces from various airplanes, tanks, helicopters, and other military vehicles collected during the Second World War.
Some of the most striking pieces in the ‘military garden’ include this C-492 Vietnam Airline aircraft.
The Garden of Toys also features captured military aircraft owned by the United States Air Force.
Also displayed in the garden are some of the military vehicles used by the Vietnamese during the war.
The Vietnam Military History Museum also has an indoor complex which features a vast collection of artifacts from the Second World War. Some of the items on display include un-detonated bombs and other explosive devices.
The display also shows how local forces and civilians lived during the war. A lot of them lived in the jungle and maintained living quarters deep in the forest.
The locals performed their daily tasks under the shade of the trees. And to minimize the amount of smoke created when they’re cooking, they also constructed indigenous cooking methods and devices.
This simple diorama shows the very intricate tunnel network the Vietnamese forces used during the war. Deep below the surface, they created passageways which stretched for miles. These passageways had stock rooms, living quarters, traps, training rooms, meeting rooms, and dining areas.
What do you think of Vietnam’s Military History Museum? Let me know in the comment section below!