A Complete Guide to Visiting the Reunification Palace, Ho Chi Minh

If you want to learn more about Vietnam’s history on your trip to the country, then you should visit the Reunification Palace in Ho Chi Minh, also known as the Independence Palace. This magnificent building is located right in the middle of the city so you’ll easily come across it when exploring Ho Chi Minh. It used to be the home of the President of the South of Vietnam and plays an important role in the history of the country.

Apply for your Vietnam Visa Online

Before you embark on your trip to Vietnam, you have to make sure that you have all the paperwork needed to enter the country, most especially your visa. Most visitors to Vietnam would require a visa and if you belong to the country that needs a visa to Vietnam, then you better apply for your visa online at vietnamvisa.cheap. This is a more convenient option than having to apply for a visa at a Vietnam embassy near you. When you visit the website, you’ll be prompted to choose your country then you’ll be taken to the page where you can start applying for a visa. The process is very straightforward and in a few days, you will receive a pre-approval letter in your email, which is what you need to present at the airport.

Once you have your visa, you can start planning your visit to the Reunification Palace, where you can learn a lot about Vietnam’s interesting history.

History of the Reunification Palace

Built around 1868 – 1873, the Reunification Palace used to be the office of the General Governor of French Indochina. The building has seen several invasions throughout history. First was in March 1945 when the Japanese troops invaded Vietnam and the palace was transformed into a headquarters that house the Imperial troops.

In September 1945, France took the palace back and handed it over to Ngo Dinh Diem, who, during that time, was the prime minister of the State of Vietnam. He soon defeated Bao Dai, who was the last emperor of Vietnam and this has made him become the president of the Republic of South Vietnam.

The Reunification Palace was the residence of President Diem until February 1962 when an A-1 Skyraider attacked it, piloted by the lieutenants of the Vietnamese army who rebelled against the government. They bombed the palace to assassinate President Diem but they were not successful. Yet, this has caused great destruction to the palace and the president ordered for it to be demolished and to build a new one. Unfortunately, president Ngo Dinh Diem never saw the new building as he was assassinated during a coup d’etat in 1963.

Architectural Features of the Reunification Palace

The design of the Reunification Palace was based on the symbolism of Eastern philosophy. Its plan is based on an ancient ideogram that means “good fortune”. The other features in the palace, such as the placing of the flagstaff and the three horizontal strokes at the roofing signify wisdom and unswerving fidelity.

Inside the palace, there are wide and bright corridors that will take visitors throughout the entire building, giving a glimpse into the numerous rooms where the president used to live. Visitors will have the opportunity to see the president’s bedrooms, the first lady’s rooms, receiving area, meeting rooms, bunkers, and more. There’s also a room designed for meditation purposes and this is said to be the place where the president would often go to think or plan for the country’s future. At the rooftop, you’ll find a helicopter, which memorializes the time when the communists dropped bombs to the palace during the war.

Visiting the Reunification Palace

The Reunification Palace is a popular landmark in Ho Chi Minh. It’s located at the Ben Thanh area in District 1. You can hire a taxi to get here or ask a map from your hotel and walk towards the place. In fact, it’s only a walking distance away from the other attractions in the city, such as the War Remnants Museum and the Notre Dame Cathedral.  It’s open daily from 8 AM until 4 PM, but it’s close between 11 AM to 12 PM for lunch break. Entrance to the palace is 20,000 VND or around $1.

The Reunification Palace is no doubt one of the most interesting places to visit during your trip to Vietnam. It’s a great place to learn about the country’s interesting history and discover things that you cannot read from the pages of any travel guidebook.