One of the places of interest in Ho Chi Minh City I have visited was the Reunification Palace. Formerly the presidential palace of South Vietnam which turned into a museum. The museum has been kept largely as it was. It was also here where the official handover of power during the fall of Saigon was held. The museum is open for a fee, I cant recall how much did I pay for the entry ticket.
Actually I had difficulty locating the place, because I was coming from behind the complex so I really can't pinpoint the building itself though I am within the vicinity. When I noticed a massive fence and assumed to be the one I was locating, I walk alongside and when I reached the corner of the frontage did I spot the building. Approaching the main gate a coconut vendor walk along with me and offer me one for free! I was astounded by his offering because by looking at him he cannot afford to sell his ware for free, though glad for the offer I refused his offer and said thank you with accompanying touristy smile. I sensed something fishy as he was very insistent so I double pace walking and only until I reached the gate that he stop pestering me.
I came in past two in the afternoon so I have ample time to check the place as the visiting hour ends at 4:00 in the afternoon. After paying for the ticket I preceded and while walking I started taking pictures. From the lobby I headed to the side access stair as the main stair is off limit. Instead of going up I went down to the basement first and it was eerily quiet, The basement contains the communication equipment with old maps pasted on the wall, later I learned it was here where the war has been plotted and controlled. Too bad I was able to take some pictures as I thought it is off limit as I was all alone when I was there. I did not get to see the tunnels this building has. I hurriedly goes up to the second floor and check one by one the rooms of the palace and its functions, pictures chronicled below.
the entrance lobby
the Main stair
View of the front lawn from the main entrance
the Cabinet Meeting Room
the State Room
the room where the President receive his visitors
the room where Diplomats present their credential held here
the Game Room
the Office of the President
the open garden at the private residential wing of the palace
the private dining room
one of the private rooms
At the rooftop, the helicopter used by the pilot who throw two bombs that destroyed the original building at the spot marked red. Insightful read here.
I stayed awhile at the top of the building and admired the view of the outside. By looking at the main road and seeing the bikes alongside the cars, it always resembled to a vip car being escorted by traffic police.
After my visit, I leisurely sit in one of the bench at the park just outside the complex. I spotted the coconut vendor having an argument with a white tourist holding a young coconut. By seeing their hands movement and how they are talking I sensed trouble, minutes later the white tourist was handing money to the vendor and left mad.
Then I stand up and move on to my next destination, the Notre Dame Cathedral and the General Post Office just with in a walking distance.