Well worth a visit
Published/Last edited or updated: 30th September, 2018
Set in a classic two story yellow building with blue shutters and white detailing, the grand tree-filled grounds here are a favourite hangout for canoodling locals whiling away the slow hours in each other’s arms—the Ben Tre Museum is also well worth a look.
Unusually for Vietnamese provincial museums, the Ben Tre Revolutionary Museum is reasonably well captioned in both Vietnamese and English. You’ll still come across the occasional “Running dogs of capitalism” style jingoistic language, but that aside the captions are generally informative. So bravo for that.
The museum is split across two floors and each had some points of considerable interest to us, and while you could spin through the museum in just 30 minutes, if you have some interest in the Vietnam’s war period, there is plenty to keep your attention here and you could easily spend a couple of hours working your way through.
Downstairs, we enjoyed the maps that are displayed in a few spots on the ground floor. Look out for the map with Chinese characters which is dated to 1837 and two more recent French maps dated to 1882 and 1900—an interesting contrast in styles and what was important to the cartographers.
Upstairs the museum has a fascinating photographic display tracing Vietnam’s wartime period. Look for the photos of Ben Tre under aerial bombardment in 1968—note the hoarding and civilians standing in doorways watching as smoke rises in the distance. Another photo shows South Vietnamese troops seemingly waterboarding a detainee. There are also displays of some of the ghastly traps Viet Cong soldiers would hide hoping to main and kill their enemy. The captioning on some of the photos here is far from fairly–minded, but a walk through is sobering.
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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