This palace is a project built by the French from the early day of its colonization. With unique architecture and once considered the most beautiful villa in Asia, it used to be home to the most powerful elites and is also a symbol of peace and territorial integrity of Vietnam. Thanks to the beauty and great historical significance, the palace is one of the attractions for tourists coming to Ho Chi Minh city.
I - Overview of the Independence Palace Saigon
1 - Location
This palace, designed by architect Ngo Viet Thu, was the residence and working place of the President of the Republic of Vietnam during the war time.
Location of Saigon unification palace (Source: Foox)
Today, Dinh Doc Lap or Independence Palace is located at 135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City in front, Huyen Tran Cong Chua street behind, the left side is Nguyen Thi Minh Khai street and the right side is Nguyen Du street. Over the past 100 years, it still stands there with ancient beauty and contains many secrets. It is impossible to mention Saigon without mentioning the palace.
With its location in the heart of the city, travelling here is relatively easy. You can go by car, motorbike, even bus. If you go by motorbike or car, you can park your vehicles at the opposite of the Palace (Huyen Tran Cong Chua Street) or Tao Dan Park. If you are not good at remembering the roads, go by bus in 1 of 5 following routes: 001, 002, 03, 04, 05.
2 - History
In 1867 - 1868, after occupying 6 provinces of Cochinchina, Governor Lagrandiere made the first stone laying ceremony to start the construction of Cochinchinense Governor's Palace in Saigon according to the plan sketched by the architect Hermite and was named Norodom Palace. From 1871 to 1887, the palace was for the governor of Cochinchina, hence was called the Governor's Palace. From 1887 to 1945, senior French colonial officials used this place to work and renamed it the Governor General.
French Independence Palace (Source: Cochinchine-saigon)
In 1945, Japan replaced France to be the new colonists of Vietnam. Afterwards, France handed over the Palace to the Ngo Dinh Diem government. In 1955 the Palace was renamed the Independence Palace. From there, it became a symbol of the South Vietnamese government which was also the residence of the President.
In 1962, the Palace was destroyed by bombs and could not be renovated, so Ngo Dinh Diem decided to rebuild it completely by architect Ngo Viet Thu and inaugurated it in 1966. In April 1975, this palace once again became the site of the attack and rebellion in the spring of 1975. And when the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam flag fluttered on the roof of the Palace, it put an end to the war for more than 20 years.
By 1976, the palace was recognized as a National Historic Site, and was honored as one of the 10 special national monuments of Vietnam (in 2009). The government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam later renamed it the Reunification Palace.
II - The impressive architecture of the palace
1 - Outdoor architecture
Independence Palace campus (Source: Nguoikesu)
Doc Lap Palace was built on an area of 120,000 m2, 26m high. This is considered an unique architecture, designed according to feng shui and Asian style but still modern. There, you will learn about the architecture and will also visit the exhibition areas and valuable objects inside.
2 - Indoor architecture
At the fixed area of the palace, there are more than 100 rooms decorated in different styles, including the offices of the President - Vice President, cabinet room, royal room, ceremonial room, proxy office, national mailroom, communications room, bedroom of the President's family, etc. and other parts like kitchen, covers, corridors.
The most prominent is the ballroom which can accommodate up to 500 people - the venue for meetings and receptions; Cabinet room - where important meetings took place; tactical advisory room - the studio which received news from 4 regions. And the most interesting area is the residence of the President's family.
The architecture inside Dinh Doc Lap (Source: Nguoikesu)
The exhibition area displays artifacts topically: Paris Agreement, Ho Chi Minh campaign through reserved documents; Ho Chi Minh Road through Saigon government documents; photo galleries, etc. If you are a historical enthusiast, do not forget to visit the exhibition area "from Norodom Palace to Independence Palace 1868 - 1966", which simulates the process of formation, construction, and important milestones having taken place at the Palace. Moreover, you will find the vivid photos from the past, get to know more about the history behind it that hasn’t been mentioned in books and newspapers.
The additional area: As the name implies, here is a gallery of images to be found and collected later. The photos are kept by people from the resistance war time to independence time. When visiting, you can feel the glorious resistance and joy of victory of Vietnamese people.
III - A guide to visit the Reunification Palace Saigon
Visiting the Independence Palace (Source: VnExpress)
1 - Opening hours
The palace is open for visitors to visit on all days of the week, including holidays, New Year (except for important occasions). Morning sightseeing time from 7h30 - 11h30, afternoon from 13h - 17h. If you intend to visit, arrange a reasonable time, but it's best to come on special days like Reunification Day or April 30, Tet holiday, etc. you can feel the exciting environment around.
2 - Independence Palace entrance fee
The palace has an admission fee through the form of selling tickets from 7:30 – 11:30 (morning) and from 13:00 – 16:00 (afternoon). The ticket price is divided into 3 parts, depending on the preferences and needs of you, specifically:
"From Norodom Palace to Independence Palace" Exhibit
3 - Historical artifacts
Historical artifacts at the Reunification Palace Mercedes Benz 200 W110 (Source: VnExpress)
Through many ups and downs, this palace still retains a lot of historical artifacts. On the roof of the Palace is a UH-1 helicopter of President Nguyen Van Thieu, beside it are two bombs bombarded by pilot Nguyen Thanh Trung. Along with that is the Mercedes Benz 200 W110 car bearing the VN-13-78 number plate, the Jeep M152A2 used to transport the last President of the Republic of Vietnam - Duong Van Minh to a Saigon radio station to read the statement of surrender (April 30, 1975) and other things such as 390 tanks, 843 tanks, F5E fighters.
4 - Notes when visiting the Reunification Palace Vietnam
As it is a place bearing the heroic history of a nation and a country, you need to comply with the regulations of the monument:
- Dress politely, do not wear too short, revealing clothes.
- Do not carry luggage, food, drinks, animals, weapons, and flammable substances inside
- You are responsible for any actions that cause damage to the site
5 - Tourism sites nearby
There are many other interesting places near the palace that you should not miss, such as:
Notre Dame Cathedral Saigon (Source: Internet)
Notre Dame Cathedral in Saigon
- Address: No.01 Cong xa Paris street, Ben Nghe ward, District 1
- About 400m away from the palace
Saigon Central Post Office
- Address: No.02 Cong xa Paris street, Ben Nghe ward, District 1
- About 550m away from the palace
War Remnants Museum
- Address: No 28, Vo Van Tan street, Ward 6, District 3
- About 650m walking and 1.2km driving from the palace
Ben Thanh market
- Address: Le Loi street, Ben Thanh ward, District 1
- About 850m walking and 1.8km driving from the palace
It can be said that the Independence Palace is not only a symbol of Saigon but also the pride of the Vietnamese people. Visiting the monument will definitely be a memorable experience during your visit to this bustling city.
Related keywords: Presidential Palace Saigon, Reunification Hall Saigon, Independence Hall Saigon, Independence Palace opening hours