Located in a beautiful building in District 10 (41 Hoang Du Khuong), the Traditional Vietnamese Medicine Museum (Fito Museum) is a hidden gem in Ho Chi Minh City. If your muscles are tired after a tough ride or if you feel sick for any reason, maybe you can learn about the traditional remedies displayed in Fito. But before discovering all these ancient techniques, let’s have a look at the building, which combines traditional and modern architecture, wood and traditional bricks, and is surrounded by all sorts of plants. No matter how bad the traffic is outside or how stressed you are, as you get inside you will feel very relaxed, in the middle of nature. As some of the members of Sunday Bike Ride could recently see during a visit, the building combines the architecture of different parts of Vietnam and even if you have no interest in traditional medicine it’s worth to get in just to admire the fine and creative work. The upper-most floor recreates a temple mixing the Northern and the Cham styles.
As soon as you get in, before boarding the elegant wooden elevator, a guide (English available) will give a general explanation yo your group and lead you into the 18 exhibition rooms located in the five floors of the building. One of the highlights are the carved wooden pictures that illustrate different types of traditional medicine, which were created by 50 engravers after nearly 3 years of hard work. The guide’s explanations and the objects displayed will help you understand the history of traditional medicine in Vietnam, which started as early as the second century BC. The museum features several experts in this art through Vietnamese history, but the two most important are Tue Tinh (14th century) and Hai Thuong Lang Ong Le Huu Trac (18th century), considered as founders of Vietnam’s Traditional Medicine. Vietnamese relied almost exclusively ion this remedies until the French colonization in the late Nineteenth century, and since then, traditional medicine has been combined with Western medicines. Fito displays some ancient tools used to make the medicines and explains the benefits of dozens of herbs and mixtures that have been used for centuries.
Those who have a greater interest can watch a documentary about this art before getting into the last part of the visit, a relaxing cup of mushroom tea.