A pleasing, pagoda-style roof crowns the city’s History Museum, next to the Botanical Gardens. It houses fifteen galleries illuminating Vietnam’s past from primitive times to the end of French rule by means of a decent if unastonishing array of artefacts and pictures. Dioramas of defining moments in Vietnamese military history lend the collection some cohesion – included are Ngo Quyen’s 938 AD victory at Bach Dang, and the sinking of the Esperance. Should you tire of Vietnamese history, you might explore halls focusing on such disparate subjects as Buddha images from around Asia; seventh- and eighth-century Champa art; and the customs and crafts of the ethnic minorities of Vietnam. There’s also a room jam-packed with exquisite ceramics from Japan, Thailand and Vietnam, and you could round off your visit at the water-puppetry theatre.
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