Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology in Hanoi offers an insight into the 54 different ethnic groups of Vietnam in an effort to preserve cultural heritage and promote socio-cultural diversity within the country. Nowadays, the Museum is one of the most fascinating museums in Vietnam and tourist attraction in Hanoi. Let Hai Phong Tours tell you more!

  • Address: 1st Nguyen Van Huyen Street, Cau Giay District, Hanoi city
  • Opening time: 8:30~17:30
  • Closing time: Every Monday and Lunar Tet Holiday
  • Entrance fee:

+ Adults: VND40.000/ticket

+ Students: VND10.000~15.000/ticket

+ Free tickets for children under 6 years old, people with disabilities, journalists, sponsors and some other special cases.

  • Transportation: within Hanoi, the best way is to take a taxi and go directly to the museum. And other way is to go by bus. (No.7,12,13,14,38,39)

History and function of Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

Vietnam is a multi-ethnic and multi-culture country which consists of 54 ethnic groups. So preserving the distinct and unique cultures of these groups is an important task. For this reason, Vietnam government decided to establish an ethnographic museum with the total budget of over 27 billion VND ($1.9 million). In 1987, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology was started its construction in 3.27 acres of land (13,200 m2) on Nguyen Van Huyen Street, Cau Giay District. The construction lasted in 8 years (from 1987 to 1995) and was launched on November 12, 1997. The exhibition building was designed by the architect Ha Duc Linh, a member of the Tày ethnic group, in the shape of a Dong Son Drum; the interior architecture was designed by the French architect Véronique Dollfus. Since its inception, the museum has attracted the attention of many tourists and ethnographic and cultural researchers.

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Trong Dong Building Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
Trong Dong Building Vietnam Museum of Ethnology


The main functions of the museum: Scientific research on the people of Vietnam, collection, classification, evaluation, preservation, restoration, display, exploitation, introduction of the historical and cultural values of the nation, while providing ethnographic materials. Currently, the museum is preserving 25.000 objects of all kinds, 42.000 movies, hundreds of cassettes and other objects reflect all aspects of the 54 ethnics groups living on Vietnam soil. This fabulous collection relating to Vietnam’s ethnic minorities features well-presented tribal art, artifacts and everyday objects gathered from across the nation, and examples of traditional village houses. Displays have labels in Vietnamese, French and English.

Exploring Vietnam Ethnology Museum

Vietnam Ethnology Museum has three main display areas: Trong Dong building, outdoor exhibition area and Southeast Asia exhibition area. Looking at from outsides, visitors will be attracted by the presentations. Because from form to content are very scientific and logical, easily grasp the cultural colors of each nation.

Trong Dong Building

Trong Dong Building has two spaces, one with themed display space and is always refreshed on the second floor, while the first floor space introduces the identity of 54 ethnic groups. There are 15,000 artifacts, 42,000 footage and images depicting the daily life, costumes, clothing, farm tools and religious beliefs as well as the customs of ethnic minorities. For other sightseeing purposes, the artifacts use mainly 3 languages: Vietnamese, English, French and some other languages. The beautiful artifacts carefully displayed from clothes, tools to models of rituals, funerals, weddings … will make visitors surprised. All are reconstructed as a miniature corner of life as well as Traditional culture of ancient ethnic people.

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Outdoor display area

Visitors after visiting the Trong Dong building will see a large yard, which is an outdoor display area. Here, the unique architecture of the local people such as the stilt houses of the Tay people, stilt houses of the Ede people, stilt houses of the Tay people, and the ground floor of Pom’d planks of H’mong people. Located in the garden grounds there is mortar pounding rice with water power of the Dao people.

Southeast Asia display area

Visitors can visit the Southeast Asia display area inside the museum. From a distance, visitors will notice the exhibition area is in the shape of a kite – a traditional culture not only for Vietnam but also for the ASEAN region. Kite symbolizes dreams, ambitions, and freedom forever with time. It often displays Southeast Asian culture, Indonesian glass paintings, a glimpse of Asia and around the world. There are also educational activities, halls, movie theaters, multimedia rooms…Visitors can see cultural documents not only of Vietnam but also of ASEAN countries. This is the bridge of the friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and friends in Southeast Asia as well as many parts of the world.

Highlights activities at Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

Besides visiting the museum, on Saturdays and Sundays, the Museum of Ethnology also has many interesting activities. Visitors can watch water puppet performances, folk music activities, folk festivals bearing the Vietnamese national culture. In addition, visitors after visiting the museum can stop to buy lovely souvenirs as gifts for their family or friends.

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Water puppet show

Water puppetry has long been a unique art form in Vietnam. Also with content reflecting the material and spiritual life of the people, water puppetry is really an extremely attractive and special art. At the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, there are water puppet shows to serve visitors. The topics present relate to life’s stories. When watching water puppet shows, you will not be able to take your eyes off!

Water puppet show
Water puppet show Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

Ticket price is VND70.000/child ticket and VND90.000/adult ticket. In addition, if you go to the museum on some lucky mornings, you will be able to watch free screenings without buying tickets. Free screenings from 10am to 11pm so you should come early to catch up for free

Dan ca quan ho Bac Ninh show

This is inherently an art form – music that many people love. At the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, there are also music performances which liền anh (male singer) and liền chị (female singer) sing and interact with the audiences.

Dan ca quan ho Bac Ninh show at Museum Ethnology
Dan ca quan ho Bac Ninh show at Museum Ethnology

Folk games

There are many folk games on display at the museum. They are mainly games of the northern mountainous ethnic people. For example: throwing (ném còn), swinging (đánh đu), đi cầu kiều , balancing, etc.

The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is truly an attractive destination not only for its cultural elements but also for its fascinating historical and scientific values.

Outdoor display area
Outdoor display area Ethnology Museum Hanoi

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