Posted by: James Shannon | November 18, 2011

From Another Era: The Reunification Palace, Saigon’s Retro Gem!

After the depressing episode that was the War Remnants Museum, it was time to move on another major touristic sight in Saigon … the Reunification Palace, where the South Vietnamese president lived up until the fall of Saigon.  After being captured by the North, the Vietnam War effectively ended, and the presidental palace was re-named.

It is still used for diplomatic functions, but it largely serves as a major tourist attraction.  Much of the palace retains its opulent and retro charm, as you will see in the photos below…

Front shot of the Reunification Palace ... at the time that I visited, they were hosting government officials from Holland (The Netherlands), so certain areas of the place were blocked off 😦

The tank that ended the war ... it rolled through the front gates about 36 years ago, beginning a new chapter in Vietnamese history.

First on the agenda: the dining hall where many state dinners were likely held in days gone by...

Heading down a decidedly balla corridor...

... we arrive at the "Oval Office" of the former president of South Vietnam. Talk about inspiring surroundings!

... and what balla pad wouldn't be complete without your very own private screening room! This place is just dripping in retro charm!

View of downtown Saigon from a balcony on the 2nd/3rd floor of the Reunification Palace.

The large, flat roof atop the palace easily affords access for a helicopter landing pad ... can't you imagine the South Vietnamese president beating a hasty retreat when the North's tanks were breaching Saigon's defenses, and the writing was on the wall?

Rooftop view, Reunification Palace, Saigon, Vietnam.

Into the basement we go ... this is the command and control centre, or "map room". This is where developments in the war were tracked, and orders dispatched from the safety of a reinforced bunker.

Where the president slept when the air raid sirens were blaring...!

Radio room, where transmissions were sent and received.

A long, lonely walk/run to safety ... the exit passage in the basement of the Reunification Palace.

The president's ride ... a beaut that no longs carries around its dear leader.

Next picture post will focus on other miscellaneous sights around HCMC (Saigon), and then following that, one of my favourite beach towns in SE Asia, Nha Trang!  Stay tuned folks!

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