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Reunification Palace
By Thea Easterby
3 December 2011





If buildings could talk, the Reunification Palace in Ho Chi Minh would have a lot to say. This building simply reeks of history.

If this palace looks familiar, it’s because of the iconic moment on April 30th 1975 when North Vietnamese tanks stormed through the Palace gates, putting an end to the Vietnam War.

My understanding of events is the original building on this site was built by the French in 1873 and named Norodom Palace. During the Second World War, the French lost control and the building is used as a Japanese headquarters. After the war the French returned but were defeated by the Vietnamese in 1954.

Once Ngo Dinh Diem came to power the name of the building was changed to the Independence Palace. In 1962 the building was bombed and the decision made to rebuild, though Ngo Dinh Diem never got to see the finished building due to his assassination in 1963. It wasn’t until 1975 at the end of the Vietnam War that the building was then renamed the Reunification Palace.

I can only imagine some of the discussions that went on in the cabinet meeting room (the room with the microphones on the table) or perhaps more importantly the discussions that would have taken place in the large wet bar area.

Make sure you don’t miss exploring the basement. While the dining rooms are interesting, I get the feeling the basement is where the action took place.

The basement is where you will find the war room of the President along with a combat day bedroom of the President, the fixed transmitting and fixed receiving rooms, lots of offices with a variety of different phones (I wonder if they called different people?), a control room, map room, even a small firing range as well as many other areas. 

The basement is a labyrinth of thick concrete walls. There are lower sections cordoned off, where tourists are not allowed. The mind boggles at what has gone on in the lower levels of this building and where some of these concrete hallways go. I can’t help but wonder if there are any tunnels under this building.

Make sure you watch the film in the video room on the lower level. They have the video showing in a variety of languages. The video gives you a timeline of events in this fascinating building.

Similar to the War Remnants Museum, the Reunification Palace is shut from 12am to 1.30 pm daily which gives you the perfect opportunity to pop off somewhere great for lunch.

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