Built on the site of Norodom Palace along Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, Reunification Hall in Ho Chi Minh City was previously known as Independence Palace.
A major landmark in the city, it was designed by an award-winning Paris-trained Vietnamese architect by the name of Ngô Viết Thụ in the 1960s.
Beyond its grand facade and floor-to-ceiling windows with elegant bamboo sections for good feng shui (geomancy) and adequate ventilation, some of the most important decisions of Vietnam’s dramatic past were made here during the war when the 100-room majestic building served as the headquarters of the authority in the Republic of Vietnam.
As the base of Vietnamese General Ngô Đình Diệm who survived an assassination attempt in 1962 when two rogue pilots dropped bombs on the building, Reunification Hall is best known as the point where Vietnam War was ended, as a military tank belonging to the North Vietnamese Communist Army crashed through its main gates on 30th April, 1975.
Thus, it is the symbol of Vietnam national independence. In fact, two of the original tanks that were used to capture the palace are still parked at the grounds.
The highlight of this building, which consists of three main floors, two mezzanines, and two basements, is possibly its bunker, equipped with state-of-the-art telecommunications technology of that era. Its war command room still has an original map hanging on the wall, almost frozen in time.
On the other hand, the two upper floors were for recreation. Besides a card room, grand piano and billiards table, there still exist a bar, private theatre, rooftop nightclub and also a casino.
Independence Palace / Reunification Hall is indeed a must-visit for new tourists to Ho Chi Minh City, and is open to visitors daily (7.30am – 11.30am & 1pm – 5pm), except during official receptions.
Entrance ticket is purchased from its east gate at VND 40,000 per person. Guided tours, as well as audio tours, are available in English, Japanese, French and Mandarin, among other foreign languages.
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