Surrounded by lush greenery and a host of beautiful architectural pieces scattered across its massive compound, the Independence Palace is a place that warrants a visit for first-time travellers to Ho Chi Minh City.
Besides being a place deeply associated with the fall of the city in 1975, there is a sense of charm about the place that makes walking through its desolate halls fill one with a sense of intrigue yet eeriness at the same time.
While the Reunification Palace or Independence Palace in HCMC holds historic significance, it may or may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Unless you’re a history buff that enjoys the history of politics and more specifically that of Vietnam, the palace itself might prove to be a tad underwhelming in terms of what’s in store. But here’s why it’s worth a visit anyway.
Entering the compound is as easy as walking up to the ticketing counter at the entrance and purchasing a ticket. We got the full pass which basically allowed us to enter every exhibit and it cost us 195,000 VND per person.
The Independence Palace, which was first opened to the public in 1990 has been the scene of many of the most important (and dramatic) events in Vietnam’s history.
Occupying the site of the former residence of the French colonial government general, the palace was home to several Vietnamese presidents and subsequently in 1975, was stormed by Liberation Forces which led to one of the most significant events in Vietnam’s history—the liberation of the South.
The entire palace is huge and is almost entirely free for visitors to roam. Strolling in and around the palace grounds, you will find a few prominent landmarks, eateries and even souvenir shops. The main palace has 5 levels filled with exhibits from war rooms to bunkers and even massive and extravagant dining halls.
On display outside, you will find the exact tank that was used by the Vietnamese liberation forces to break through the palace through the great palace gate back on 30 April 1975.
Why is it important? Because having crashed through its main gate, the North Vietnamese Army successfully managed to end the Vietnam War—that’s why.
Making your way into the palace, you are first greeted with two separate exhibits of the original Cabinet Room and State Banqueting Hall—both kept clean and as pristine as when they were used back then.
The Cabinet Room was where meetings among the president and his ministers were held and, as its name suggests, the State Banqueting Hall was where state banquets used to be held.
Receptions for as many as 500 guests were held at the Conference Hall, which was also used for the installation of each new cabinet. A room that boasts both stunning architectural and artistic prowess, every detail of this room is truly marvellous.
135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia,
Ben Thanh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Daily: 8am – 11am, 1pm – 4pm
For more recommendations, read our Ho Chi Minh City’s guides to discover the best places to visit in the city.