Tiger_cage_war_remnants_museum (4)

Tiger Cage

Tiger Cage, the place that recreates the scene of “hell on earth” in Saigon is the War Remnants Museum in District 3. It depicts scenes of torture and imprisonment in tiger cages at the Con Dao prison and some other prisons.

The specialized exhibition area on “The Prison System” in the War Remnants Museum on Vo Van Tan Street recreates a part of the Con Dao prison, which was once considered hell on earth. A nearly 4-meter-high stone wall with barbed wire and observation posts on top surrounds the tiger cages.

The Con Dao prison was built by the French in 1862 to incarcerate individuals considered dangerous to the colonial regime. Until 1975, it held 200,000 prisoners, and about 20,000 people died there. The most notorious place in the prison is the tiger cages, where high-ranking political prisoners were detained and torture
Adjacent to that is a display of images and artifacts from other prisons during the Vietnam War, exhibited in container houses built by the museum two years ago.

Inside the exhibition area is a two-story building, about 7 meters high, resembling the prisoner cells, reconstructed according to the architectural style of the Con Dao prison.

The exterior structure represents a solitary confinement room in a tiger cage. The rooms are all built tall, with sturdy iron doors and lacking in light. The staircase leading to the upper floor is for guards to ascend, observe the prisoners from the rooms, and carry out torture from above.

Inside a tiger cage in Con Dao, prisoners were shackled and lived in rooms less than 5 square meters in size. They had to lie on damp cement floors, with poor sanitary and eating conditions, and were frequently subjected to torture for interrogation. The confinement area was always dark, with only a small opening in the iron door for guards to look in.

The upper floor of the tiger cage is where guards monitor the prisoners. From the iron bars, guards would torment the inmates by throwing lime powder and dirty water.

The sunbathing room, also known as the exposed tiger cage, was built during the French era and consists of 60 rooms divided into 4 rows, covering an area of nearly 2,000 square meters. The rooms have no shelter and are where prisoners were held outdoors under scorching sun, pouring rain, or cold mist at night. Some sunbathing rooms also served as places to store feces and were used for torturing prisoners in a gang-like manner.

Another type of tiger cage is made of barbed wire. Prisoners would be stripped of their clothes and locked in here, deprived of food for many days. Each compartment of the tiger cage could accommodate 2 to 7 prisoners, depending on its size, and the inmates could only lie close to each other at an angle, with almost no room for movement.

The iron sheets used to pave airport runways were turned into torture tools by the prison. Prisoners would undress and repeatedly hit their heads on the iron sheets, causing severe injuries to their bodies.

Another room displays a guillotine from the French era. The guillotine is 4.5 meters high, with a 50 kg blade, and was brought by the French to Vietnam in the early 20th century to suppress revolutionary movements.

Various weapons used for torturing prisoners, such as batons, hammers, and flails, are on display.

The shackles used to secure prisoners’ feet to fixed iron bars in the prison, with a saw-toothed No. 8 shackle below.

Next to the tiger cages is an exhibition area about prisons in container boxes, covering an area of about 70 square meters. It showcases images and artifacts from major prisons in southern Vietnam, such as Chi Hoa (Ho Chi Minh City), Con Dao (Ba Ria – Vung Tau), Phu Quoc (Kien Giang), and Phu Loi (Binh Duong).

The War Remnants Museum was established in 1975, specializing in researching, collecting, preserving, and exhibiting evidence of crimes and the consequences of the invading wars in Vietnam. It currently preserves over 20,000 documents, artifacts, and photographs.

The museum was ranked 61st on the list of the 99 most attractive destinations in the world by Stasher, a luggage storage app with partners in 250 cities worldwide. The museum is open from 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM every day, without a lunch break. The ticket price is 40,000 Viet Nam Dong per person.

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Frequently asked questions

Some of the must-visit destinations in Vietnam include Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Long Bay, Hoi An, Hue, Nha Trang, Da Nang, Sapa, Mekong Delta, and Phu Quoc Island.

The number of days you should spend in Vietnam depends on the destinations you want to visit and the activities you plan to do. A minimum of 7-10 days is recommended to explore the major highlights of the country, but if you have more time, you can easily spend 2-3 weeks or even longer to fully experience all that Vietnam has to offer.

The best time to visit Vietnam is generally during the spring (February to April) and autumn (August to October) seasons when the weather is mild and pleasant. However, Vietnam is a diverse country with varying climates, so the best time to visit certain regions may differ. It's advisable to check the weather conditions for specific destinations before planning your trip.

Yes, most visitors to Vietnam require a visa. However, there are some exceptions for citizens of certain countries who can enjoy visa-free entry for a limited duration. It's recommended to check with the Vietnamese embassy or consulate in your country or consult a travel agent to determine the visa requirements based on your nationality.

When visiting Vietnam, it's important to respect the local customs and cultural norms. Some general etiquettes to keep in mind include dressing modestly, especially when visiting temples or religious sites, removing your shoes before entering someone's home or certain establishments, greeting locals with a smile and a slight bow, and avoiding public displays of affection. It's also polite to ask for permission before taking photos of individuals, especially in rural areas.

Vietnam is generally a safe country for tourists. However, like any travel destination, it's important to exercise common sense and take necessary precautions. Keep an eye on your belongings, be cautious of your surroundings, and use reputable transportation and accommodation services. It's also advisable to have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies and trip cancellations.

Vietnam has a well-developed transportation system that includes domestic flights, trains, buses, taxis, and motorbike rentals. Domestic flights are the fastest way to travel between major cities, while trains and buses offer more affordable options for long-distance travel. Taxis and ride-hailing services like Grab are popular for shorter journeys, and renting a motorbike is a common choice for exploring cities and rural areas.

The official currency of Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). While cash is widely used, credit cards are accepted in many hotels, restaurants, and larger establishments in major cities. It's advisable to carry some cash for smaller transactions and in more remote areas where credit card acceptance may be limited.

Vietnam offers a wide range of unique experiences and activities. Some recommendations include cruising through the stunning limestone formations of Ha Long Bay, exploring the ancient town of Hoi An with its lantern-lit streets, trekking through the terraced rice fields of Sapa, taking a boat tour in the Mekong Delta to experience the floating markets, learning to cook traditional Vietnamese dishes in a cooking class, and participating in a homestay to experience the local way of life.

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22 – 36 Nguyen Hue Boulevard & 57 – 69F Dong Khoi Street Ben Nghe Ward | District 1 | Ho Chi Minh City | Vietnam
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