Founded in 1987 and home to a collection of around 25,000 pieces, the Vietnamese Women’s Museum pays tribute to the role of women in Vietnamese society. Besides costumes and crafts from the nation’s 54 ethnic groups, the museum honors the role local women played in the Vietnam War. Most signs are in Vietnamese, English, and French.
A short stroll from the Lake of the Restored Sword (Hoan Kiem Lake) in the heart of Hanoi, the Vietnamese Women’s Museum is easy enough to visit independently, and many travelers do just that. You’ll likely get more out of the experience if you explore with a guide, though, who can introduce the historical and cultural context of women’s oppression in historic Vietnam. If you can, opt for a tour led by a female guide, ideally with a women’s history focus.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Vietnamese Women’s Museum is a must for feminists of every gender.
- Families will love the Discovery Room, with books, toys, videos, and interactive exhibits promoting gender equality in English and Vietnamese.
- Travelers who use wheelchairs can access the Vietnamese Women’s Museum by elevator.
How to Get There
The Vietnamese Women’s Museum is about 0.3 miles (500 meters) south of Hoan Kiem Lake in the heart of downtown Hanoi. If you’re staying in the Old Quarter, it’s a pleasant walk or cyclo ride. Alternatively, helpful buses include the 31, from West Lake, and the 8A, from the eastern edge of the Old Quarter.
When to Get There
The Vietnamese Women’s Museum is open from morning to late afternoon seven days a week. As with any Hanoi attraction, expect crowds around the Tet lunar new year celebrations (which generally fall between mid-January and mid-February). Families with kids will stand a better chance of meeting local children when visiting on weekends.
Women’s Days in Vietnam
As the Vietnamese Women’s Museum shows, Vietnam takes the role of women in society very seriously. The nation celebrates not one but two women’s days: International Women’s Day (Vietnam’s answer to Mother’s Day) on March 8 and Vietnamese Women’s Day on October 20. On Vietnamese Women’s Day, husbands or partners are expected to buy flowers, cook dinner or take the family out to eat, and look after the kids.