Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower

Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower
The view from Amsterdam Tower

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I started to like museum only after I grew older. Is it a matter of getting wiser or because I know more interesting museums?  

Fine Arts Museum

I have not visited enough museums. Others would have visited many more than I have had. However, I am still keen to write this story in order to overcome my guilty feeling of not being able to visit more. 

There are two museum buildings in the museum area

Let me start from the last museums I went in Saigon, and going backward to the first one in Jakarta (please refer to MUSEUMS (part 2) – JAKARTA) – which is not a long list!).

When I visited the Fine Arts Museum by myself, I had to rely on the ticket girl to take my pic. Just a standard pose.


Location is very strategic i.e. within walking distance (< 10 minutes) from the Ben Thanh market.

Different parts of the museum

I visited this museum twice during my two month living in Saigon. The first time I went there, I was by myself. The second visit was when my two Indonesian girlfriends came to town and it was more fun! We took turns taking pics of the three of us -:). Thanks girls!

Prior to my first visit, I only knew that the museum occupies an old beautiful French style building. Indeed ‘she’ is beautiful. LOL… The building is so feminine “to me”. As it was built by the French, I give ‘her’ a female identity….

Main lobby, just right after the entrance

I walked around the museum building, did ‘sweeping’ from the ground to the third floor. I love the ground floor area where there are many lacquer paintings. It opened my eyes about Vietnamese lacquer paintings. I am not sure the right translation of ‘lacquer’ to Bahasa Indonesia, menurut internet terjemahan lacquer yaitu pernis atau lak tapi kita pakai kata lacquer aja yaa... Anyway, going back to lacquer paintings, there are many beautiful ones in this museum. I spent some time to stare at them. Paintings about people and the day to day life amazed me the most.

The building is very much French style. The stairs to second and third floor seem like stairs in Europe. There is a wooden lift that does not function anymore, but it is still fascinating to me.

Looking down at the stairs from 3rd floor (left). The old wooden lift (right).

The building corridors are beautiful... There is a corridor at the back building on second floor which was painted in lovely abstract green. My girlfriends took many shots at this area -:)

Museum corridors. Different area has different types of tiles. Voila!... Corridor looks nicer with someone there.

During the second visit, my girlfriends and I bumped into some young Koreans sailors in their white uniform...  We could not resist of not taking pics with them...! They were friendly and willing to take our pics as well-:) PS: taking pics in this Museum is allowed but no flash, that’s the info from the lady at the front door.

This is my favorite art work displayed at the museum yard

As value-added point after visiting this museum, it is worth to cross the street toward Le Cong Kieu. It is a small street, a joint Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street and Pho Duc Chinh Street. There are antique shops along this street offering an abundant choice of antique from colonial and pre-colonial times. Even Mrs. Hillary Clinton visited this street.  I could say to everyone now that I visited the same street in Saigon as Mrs. Clinton did!


Museum of History, Ho Chi Minh City


The first time I went to “Zoo and Botanical Garden” in Saigon, I noticed an old building on the left side right after the main entrance. It is where this museum is located. As additional note, right across the entrance of the museum, we can also see the beautiful Temple of King Hung Vuong which is dedicated to the ancestors of Hung Vuong, the founding king of Viet Nam.

Temple of King Hung Vuong

The museum building was opened in 1979, and occupies a building constructed by the French in 1927. It is a nice museum that starts with early stone tools and ends with the French period. It has everything from Roman coins to cannons, including items from the ethnic minorities.

It is interesting that there is a mummy room in this museum! It is the Xóm Cái mummy from Ho Chi Minh City. In 1994, at Xóm Cái, District 5 in Ho Chi Minh City, a mummy was discovered in a rather big 60 square meters.  The corpse was buried with the style of traditional Vietnam; in a coffin, on a sarcophagus, with full of shroud and grave goods, and soaked in red solution. If you see below pic, please guess why I could not take a closer one; because I am a chicken. I was frightened. Takut!

Xom Cai Mummy, Ho Chi Minh City

Museum admission ticket in Saigon is relatively inexpensive. Ticket to enter this museum costs 15,000 VND. They do allow photos, but we have to buy a 30,000 VND camera ticket in addition to the admission ticket.

Vietnamese Water Puppet at Museum of History, Ho Chi Minh City

There is a regular performance of Vietnamese Water Puppet. Additional ticket is required and can be purchased in front of the performance room. I watched one show in one afternoon, it just happened there was a group of college students – I think they are Malaysians – because I heard them talking Malay. 

People behind the scene of the Water Puppet

The show was held in a pool which I thought less than 10m x 10m and around 0.50 deep. Pool is surrounded with three rows of wooden chair for the audience. Be careful of sitting in the first row which is closer to the water, you might get splash… The show was performed by six persons. Each plays different type of puppet. The puppet is made from wood shaped in different character. It is a standard shape either human or animal.  I could not really tell the story, as even though there was some sound of the presenter but it was all in the local language. The Vietnamese music is used for background.

There is souvenir shop inside the museum sells Vietnamese handicraft and small place where we could have cold soft drinks.

Nice decoration on top of one of the doors

Leaving the museum, I noticed there’s a huge vase on the left side of main entrance door of the museum (i.e. it is at the right side before you get in). I love this vase which was made from 200,000 of coconut scoops! It is equivalent to eight tons of raw coconuts. H: 3.62m, D: 2.55m, W: 623kg. Four stories of the Hung King period and six modern figures were expressed on the vase.

"Huyen Su Doi Hung" Vase (left). Noticing the vase closer (right)

Like this corridor, left side of the main entrance

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