Reunification Palace and War Remnants Museum

Ho Chi Minh City Travel Blog

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The Reunification Palace.
As you'll notice, this entry has pictures. Yay! Furthermore, all previous entries have been updated with pictures. Feel free to reread some of these entries later to get a better feel of what we saw at certain moments of our trip. The bulk of our pictures will still be consolidated on the Picasa album. http://picasaweb.google.com/mbrannon/SoutheastAsiaRound2Hanoi02 should be working properly. If not, go to http://picasaweb.google.com/mbrannon/ and select the Southeast Asia album. As of this moment, the only pics uploaded are from my camera and they are up to the Cu Chi tunnels. We will probably arrange for separate albums for Orit's and Stephanie's pictures or just do some creative organizing.
One of the reception rooms.


Yesterday, I got back into sightseeing mode. First stop was the Reunification Palace. Located in central Saigon, this is the palace where the North Vietnamese tanks stormed into and where the South Vietnamese government surrendered effectively eradicating all foreign influence in the entire nation. It has huge open grounds and feels like how a palace for the head of state would feel. Many of the interior rooms have been untouched and preserved from that moment in April 1975. The top floors have official reception rooms for the President, Vice President and First Lady, along with other rooms like a library, dining rooms, cinema, and a helipad on the roof with a replica helicopter. The basement is a large network of concrete tunnels, acting as a bomb shelter with war rooms featuring maps and radio equipment.
Q: What is this a painting of? A: A tank, and a helicopter.
It was built by the order of the American appointed president, Diem, in 1962 who was so unpopular that his own air force bombed the palace in an attempt to assassinate him. The inside of the palace remains unused, but the large circular front lawn is still used for formal events or celebrations in which the entire palace is closed to visitors.

From there, I went to find the War Remnants Museum. It is pretty much a display of the war atrocities committed by the French and American occupiers. It was formerly named the American War Crimes Museum before the two nations normalized relations again. In the courtyard are several American military vehicles like a Huey helicopter, tanks, mobile artillery and fighter planes. A part of the courtyard houses examples of torture devices and cells called tiger cages used by the South Vietnamese prison of Phu Quoc.
A US Bomber.
It also includes pictures and testimonials of tortured Vietnamese, Viet Cong or not. Inside the actual museum complex are various sections depicting the war. There is the Historical Truths section which depicts a visual history of the occupation of Vietnam. There are also collections of photos with sections about specific massacres and atrocities. The pictures depicting victims of Agent Orange or dioxin poisoning was particularly brutal. I couldn't bear to take the picture of the preserved fetuses they had showing the deformities caused by chromosomal damage. Overall, the displays in this museum are some of the most depressing things I have ever seen in my life, but it is worth seeing to drive in the horrors of war and cruel weapons.

The rest of the evening was spent slowly making my way back to the hotel.
Some testimonials from Phu Quoc.
I passed into a huge park and it was quite incredible to see the amount of kids playing in the playground on Sunday night. I also happened to chance upon a rotating sushi bar and couldn't resist trying it out. 2 pieces of salmon sushi cost 35,000 dong or just under $2. Not too bad for prices. And it was popular enough too, the place got full by around 7 PM.

Fast forward to today, we got called in to the police station to pay the fine and Mike had to write a statement saying he wouldn't cause any more trouble in Vietnam or risk being deported. So as far as I can tell, he's in the clear with no restrictions on his visa. He's still feeling a bit uneasy so we're going to stay in today. Tomorrow, we'll go to the Mekong Delta for a day and night and then take a boat into the capitol of Cambodia, Phnom Penh on Wednesday. That will mark the end of 22 days in Vietnam.
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The Reunification Palace.
The Reunification Palace.
One of the reception rooms.
One of the reception rooms.
Q: What is this a painting of?
A:…
Q: What is this a painting of? A…
A US Bomber.
A US Bomber.
Some testimonials from Phu Quoc.
Some testimonials from Phu Quoc.