Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

museum entrance
Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is one of the most interesting museum to visit in Hanoi and in Vietnam which is exhibit around 54 ethnic group who live in Vietnam and also show about Southeast Asia. It is located in Nguyen Van Huyen Road, Cau Giay Distric, Hanoi or about 8km from the Hanoi city centre. It’s easy to get there by public transport (bus) or take a taxi ride. The museum has opening hour from 08.30 – 17.30 and closed on Mondays and during the Tet Holiday. The entrance fee for this museum is 40.000 vnd (about 2 USD).

This museum is divided into 3 sections, 2 indoors and 1 outdoor section. The main area indoor section is about
ethnic groups in Vietnam. The 2nd indoor area is about Southeast Asia culture. And in the outdoor section, there is the open air-exhibition which is displayed some houses from different ethnic groups in Vietnam.  In the left side of the main entrance, there is museum shop which offers a wide variety of craft items, souvenirs etc. Book store also could be found in this museum, it’s located in the right side of the main entrance which offers books, exhibit catalogues, posters and some publications of the museum to explore more about the culture, history of Vietnam especially about the ethnic group. There is organized regularly craft performance and or show, such us water puppet show. Other services provided in this museum are multimedia documentation centre, auditorium and conference centre, Hoa Sua restaurant and Helio café. The Museum is disadvantaged friendly because has handicap access. This museum offers the guided tours as well and it’s available with English, French and Vietnamese speaking guides so it helps to explain more about the museum subjects.

Started with the main area indoor section, it has 2 floors level. 
Muong Funeral
In the lower level, next to the main door where is the information provide the brochure about the museum exhibition could be found. Walk around in the lower level (1st floor) to the left is welcoming and introduction, display photos of some Vietnamese from different ethnic group (54 ethnic group, the viet (Kinh)  and 53 minority groups) which is diverse into 5 linguistic families. The next area is displaying the daily life in agriculture and fishing, show the bike which carrying loads of the fish traps. The children traditional games has many different variant as well, its divided for boy and girl games. the religion of four world which is popular in north Vietnam exhibit here, explain the spiritual possession of ceremony. The displays also showing the rich culture of handicraft, art and tradition of Viet such us the performance art “water puppet”, woodblock picture, lacquer work, wood carving and engraving, ceramic craft, bronze work also culture to put altar to ancestors in every house. The most fascinating for me in this section is the Muong funeral, the role of the ritual master is consoling the dead, guiding them to come towards their ancestors and officiating a great number of rites. The funeral traditionally lasted for twelve days, however nowadays its held for maximum of two days which is several ritual are shortened but the important rituals are still observed.

In the upper level, straight go to the right and found the miniature of
Tay house.
Museum display in the upper level
Then next following is stilt house from the black Thai ethnic, its recognized by the turtle shell shape roof, inside of this stilt house also shown some stuffs and daily life from
The Nung, The White Thai, The Lao and Lu, The Sanchay, Giay and Bo Y ethnic group. Out of the stilt house, displayed ritual tree of the Thai. Its interesting subject when Thai gravely ill people who have been treated by ritual specialist (me mot or mother mot) are regarded their adopted children and the sprouts of their protective spirits. Every 2 or 3 year after the first thunderclaps signal the onset of the rains, the me mot organize a xen lau no ritual festival. They prepare and decorate the ritual tree then the villagers sing, dance and play music, it represent thunder and other natural phenomena and the hopes of villagers for rain and an abundant harvest. The exhibition in this floor also display many different garment, costume for different occasion, textile production, ornament and art, ritual stuffs, daily life tools and utensils such us hunting and fishing, architecture, musical instrument, tradition from each ethnic group Thai, Kadai, Hmong, Yao, Sino, Khmer etc.

The next section is social life culture around Southeast Asia, how the rich culture of each ethnic group shown when they have tradition and ritual such us marriage and funeral (burial and cremation) including costume, ritual and the tradition itself. Performance art also take important place in culture diversity, in this section shown many kind entertainment from each culture such us the shadow puppet from Indonesia, the string puppet of Myanmar, Pin peat orchestra from Cambodia etc. The last section is religion where in this area display many different believe which follow and influence to the daily life of each culture. 

Batik display including tools
Ankle Ring, Malaysia

The last section is the open-air exhibition which is displaying the houses sample from different ethnic group in Vietnam. It’s shown how the house looks like from interior and exterior, the material used, construction, architecture and style. Hani house, Yao house, Hmong house, Tay house, Viet house and many other houses are exhibit in this section. One of the spectacular is the Bahnar communal house with a height of 19 metres which is the symbol of skill, strength of the villagers especially the power of men. The other interesting house is Giarai tomb. The large wooden figures encircling the tomb are intended to accompany the dead into the afterlife. Sexually explicit carvings and those of pregnant women are symbols of fertility.
Giarai Tomb

This museum is a place worth to visit while in Hanoi. It build the feeling that the visitor has been get through whole Vietnam from the north to south to see all the different ethnic group and culture. The visitor could enjoy the atmosphere of the culture and exhibition which is informative as there is the text which is explain about the display. Make sure that we spent time to watch the multimedia documentation as well to get more information.

Outside View and Ticket

Main Area Section

The South East Asia Section



Open-air Exhibition


1.         Asemus. (05.02. 2017). Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
2.         Blue, Yang. Vietnam Honeymoon (05.02.2017). Museum of Ethnology in Hanoi
3.         Brochure. Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
4.         Brown, Nancy D. What A Trip (05.02.2017). Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is a Hanoi Must See
5.         Cat. Travel.snap.Stories.(05.02.2017). Vietnam Hanoi: Cultural Time in Museum of Ethnology
6.         Cheapest Destination (05.02.2017). One Must-See in Hanoi: Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
7.         Lonely Planet (05. 02. 2017). Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
8.         Rough Guides (05. 02. 2017). Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
9.         Shore Excursions (05. 02. 2017). Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
10.      Sullivan, Mary Ann. Bluffton. (05.02. 2017). Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
11.      Vietnam (05. 02. 2017). Vietnam Museum of Ethnology in Hanoi
12.      Vietnam Online (05.02. 2017). Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
13.      Vietnam-Beauty. (05.02.2017). Vietnam Ethnology Museum

15.      Wikipedia (05. 02. 2017). Vietnam Museum of Ethnology


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