The Reunification Palace befittingly takes its name from the reunion of the Northern and Southern fractions of the country after a hard fought war that ravaged not only Vietnam but also neighboring Laos. The Americans didn’t fare so well either. With regard to the war, the Northern Communists eventually won out and the Palace, once the symbol of the South Vietnamese government, now does much the same for the conquerors. It also remains one of Ho Chi Minh’s most interesting sights. For starters, you cannot help but notice the famed Communist tank that was shown in the media around the world crashing through the fence that some would say symbolized the free world.
The 1960’s architecture and well-appointed rooms befit a high ranking government official as was the case when the South’s leaders occupied the premises. Today, it emits a spooky silence that is broken only by the numerous tour groups passing through. An odd highlight is a film on Vietnamese history, laced with the usual propaganda that concludes with the playing of the national anthem. Americans may feel uneasy but it is visited by more by Vietnamese tourists and for them, the victory over America was what brought their country back together.
open: 7:30-11:00, 13:00-16:00 daily
admission: 15000 dong (a buck)
The first palace on the site of the Reunification Palace was the Norodom Palace built in 1871. It was the French Governor General’s headquarter and palace, but was destroyed by bombs in 1962. The current Reunification Palace (also known under its old name Independence Palace) was completed in 1966 after 3 years of construction, and is the former Presidential Palace of South Vietnam. It was here on April 30, 1975, tanks from the North Vietnamese Army crashed through the gate and ended the war, and a replica of one of the tanks is located on the lawn outside the Palace.
The visit to the Reunification Palace was very interesting and it was like a time travel back to the 1970s. Things were left largely untouched from the day before Saigon fell to North Vietnam, and you were free to walk around in the Palace. See the conference room, the recreation room, the receiving room, and more. In the basement you’ll find the war rooms - full of 1970s phones, radios, office equipment, and maps – and a shooting range. From the balcony is a nice view of the surrounding park. Tours are available (in English, French, Chinese and Japanese) and are free - but not necessary...
During the conflict between the North and South Vietnamese the Palace was used as a army command centre and an extensive control centre was established underground, protected by huge concrete fortification which gave protection from bombs.
A heliport was established on the top floor of the Palace and was constantly used by the President. The helicopter presently on display is the same model as that used during the conflict.
We found our visit to the Palace very interestering and gave us an excellent insight into the recent history of the South Vietnamese people over the last 60 years. Easy to get to from the City Centre, a pleasant 15 minute walk and we were soon at the front entrance, a small entrance fee of approximately US 50 cents and we were soon walking through the large grounds.
Upon entering the Palace we were approached by an official who took us to join a free tour, the guide spoke English and was easy to understand. The tour is the best way to see the palace and appreciate its importance to the Vietnamese people.
The original Palace was built by the French and inaugurated in 1871, however on 27th February 1962, two pilots of the coup d'etat group of the Saigon Army bombed and destroyed sections of the Palace. The Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem ordered the demolition of the Palace and the building of a new Palace on the site. This new Palace combines modern architecture with traditional oriental architecture.
The Palace was used by the South Vietnamese as a headquarters during the war with the North and you might recall the television news reports on 30th April, 1975 showing the final stage of the war as the North Vietnamese tanks crashed through the Palace gates and took control as the Generals desperately fled in their helicopter.
This was originally the Presidential Palace where Ngo Dinh Diem resided. It was bombed in an assassination attempt in 1962. The president and his family escaped but the palace had to be re-built in 1966 and was re-named Reunification Hall. You can see that historical photo inside of tanks crashing through the gates in the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975 - symbolizing the end of Sth Vietnam and it's government. The basement in particuar is interesting. There are operation rooms, military maps and old radios and communications equipment. Even old vehicles. The building and rooms have been left just as they were back in 1975. So you will see that 70's kitsch. Loved it.
Independence Palace- Reunification Palace was completed in 1966 after three years of construction . President Diem commissioned the building of the Palace but unfortunately was assassinated shortly after construction started.
The Palace became the home of then President of South Vietnam Nguyen Van Thieu until the fall of Saigon in 1975.
It is now called the Reunification Palace with all the original furnishings still kept intact
This is a very good museum. Its a good idea to buy the book with the admission fee, as it shows photos and info on everything in the museum, I think better than my own attempts of photos.
The total cost was 25,000 dong. (2008)
The entry fee is 15000dongs (~US$1). This used to be the Presidential Palace of the defunct South Vietnamese government and the Communists had virtually left the place intact as it was on that fateful day in 1975 when the tanks of the victorious Northern Vietnamese forces came crashing through the gates and the last bastion of American presence was scrambling away at the rooftop in their helicopters. See time frozen at that moment and walk through the opulence of the many stately rooms. See the many pictures capturing the work of the South Vietnamese government and its ultimate failure.
Our guided tour of the Palace took us to the fortified area (bomb shelter) beneath the Palace where the President and his Generals commanded the military activity during the last days of the conflict.
The command centre is extensive and included a communications centre, mobile radio section, a spare radio station, war room including maps, the President's bedroom and large kitchen. It is well worth the time to visit this section of the Reunification Palace.
Reunification Palace or Independence Palace plays an important role in Vietnam history. On 30 April 1975 the tanks broke the gate open and a new era started in Vietnam. The building was built in 1966 to be the presidential palace of South Vietnam. The building hasn't been renovated since the take over of communists in 1975. There are guided tours which take about an hour and you can visit most of the rooms and hear about their stories. An interesting point is the high technology used more than 3 decades ago in this building coming from Japan. Entrance fee is 15000 Vietnamese Dong or 1 USD. Palace is open between 7:30 am to noon and from 1 pm to 5 pm. It is worth a visit if you want to get more involved in Vietnam history.
On April 30, 1975, Communist tanks smashed through the gates of the Presidential Palace (now renamed as the Reunification Palace), symbol of the South Vietnamese government.
A soldier then ran to the fourth floor to unfurl a VC flag. General Minh, who had only become the head of state of South Vietnam 43 hours earlier, surrendered.
Guides now offer daily tours to visitors.
The Palace is also noted for its striking 1960s architecture, the creation of Paris-trained Vietnamese architect Ngo Viet Thu.
At the Reunification Palace complex you can visit to conference rooms, the Presidential Receiving Room, basement tunnels and war room, telecommunications center and the residential quarters, as well as a back terrace complete with heliport.
Opening Hours: 7.30am-11am; 1pm-4pm daily.
Park Hyatt Saigon Ho Chi Minh City
5 Reviews and 615 Opinions All rooms offer pool of City views with full luxury amenities. As true sense 5- Star hotel, it is...
Caravelle Hotel Ho Chi Minh City
10 Reviews and 772 Opinions The Caravelle was opened to the public on Christmas Eve 1959 originally as a ten storey hotel. ...
Bich Duyen Hotel Ho Chi Minh City
9 Reviews and 570 Opinions I liked the location of Bich Duyen because it was located along a quiet side street. It was also...