A large pink building a few kilometers from the city center, Dalat’s Lam Dong Museum is a hub of the province’s ethnic history, from displays of traditional housing to minority clothing and instruments, to dug up archeological sites. The total area around the museum grounds also houses a folk games area for kids, the queen’s palace, a Lingam-Yoni stone sculpture, a giant gong replica and full replicas of two ethnic stilt houses.
The museum is much more well kept than the Biological Institute of Dalat, and at VND 5,000 less it’s the best-valued paid attraction in the city. Of course it’s not as eerie or atmospheric, but it’s still the most well-maintained and comprehensive museum in the province. If you’re into archeological sites and wax figures, as well as the little-known minorities that are often neglected by the Vietnamese government and people, the Lam Dong Museum is packed with fun displays and some interactive elements that make the 1-2 romp through the floors worth it, educating you about their culture, traditions, garb, housing, instruments and rituals.
At the entrance is a lackluster gift shop, and the toilets throughout the facility are barely acceptable, but other than that, the museum is rather interesting. There are prehistoric items dug up from ancient sites, as well as war paraphernalia from Vietnam’s past two conflicts with America and France. The propaganda in the war rooms gives an often overlooked (in the West, at least) perspective of Vietnam’s struggles and outlook.
Upon entering you see a large golden-colored statue of Ho Chi Minh. To the left of Uncle Ho is a section with some documents from Alexandre Yersin on display, along his historic photographs that show life before colonization. Like the Biological Institute, the Lam Dong Museum has taxidermy, just here it’s much more preserved and normal - and thus somewhat less interesting than the shoddily stuffed game mulling about in the Institute.
Placards are written in both English and Vietnamese, and there are interactive exhibits like ethnic musical instruments you can play as well as a short educational video on the history of Dalat. Overall, it’s a fun time, especially if you’re heading to the province during rainy periods.