The Vietnam Fine Arts Museum in Hanoi is the country’s premier art museum. A well-curated and exhibited permanent collection of over 2,000 items, including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, lacquerwork, and temporary exhibits, trace the development of Vietnamese art from prehistoric times to the 21st century.
There are two branches to the museum. The main branch is spread over two buildings, including a stunning French Colonial building renovated to include elements of traditional Vietnamese communal houses. Within an exhibition space of 32,292 square feet (3,000 square meters), the exhibits are arranged into six themes (prehistoric arts, art from the 11th to 19th centuries, art from the 20th century to present, traditional art, folk art, and ceramics), and chronologically from bottom to top. There’s also a Creative Space for Children. The second branch, located at Hoang Cau Street, focuses more on storage, conservation, and restoration.
A number of sightseeing tours feature a stop at the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum. Other stops may include the Temple of Literature, Hoan Kiem Lake, or the Ho Chi Minh Complex, depending on the option chosen. If you want to see Hanoi like a local, take a motorbike tour of the city.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The museum is a must-visit for art lovers.
- Guided tours are available in Vietnamese, English, Chinese, and French.
- Educational programs at the Creative Space for Children require a separate ticket.
- The museum shop offers original paintings by local artists.
- There is a cafe on-site, with both indoor and outdoor seating.
How to Get There
The museum is located in the Ba Dinh District, across the street from the Temple of Literature. It’s about 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) west of Hoan Kiem Lake, and will take about 15 minutes to walk from there.
When to Get There
The museum is open year-round, except for the Tet holidays. The museum rarely gets crowded, making it an ideal alternative when other attractions are busy. The Temple of Literature is across the street and many visitors visit both sites.
Highlights of the Museum
Highlights of the museum include ancient Champa stone carvings, ceramics excavated from five ancient boats, extraordinary effigies of Guan Yin (the 1,000-armed and 1,000-eyed goddess of compassion), lacquered statues of Buddhist monks from the Tay Son dynasty, and its collection of contemporary paintings.