March 26, 2007Reunification Palace formerly known as Independence Palace or Norodom Palace is a historic landmark in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It was the workplace of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War and the site of the official handover of power during the Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975.
The front yard of the Palace is a grass carpet in oval shape with a diameter of 102m. Running along the whole width of the great hall is a half moon shaped pond.
Admission is VND 15,000 including with a descriptive brochure available in several languages and a guided tour of the palace. The guide explained about the architecture, decoration and historical contents. He showed us where the important meetings held during the war, as well as some of the private quarters of the president and his family. There is a lot of Vietnamese arts and also nicely decorated reception where International visitors received.
The Palace consists of 95 rooms, each decorated according to its function. It features two exhibition rooms, a 33-room guesthouse, bomb shelter, Catholic chapel, helipad, tanks and numerous entertainment facilities.
Luckily, I got a snapshot with our tour guide wearing a traditional dress called "Ao Dai", literally means, a "long dress". Pronounced "ao yai" in the south, but "ao zai" in the north, the color is indicative of the wearer's age and status.
Young girls wear pure white, fully lined outfits symbolizing their purity. It is also the uniform for female students in many Vietnamese high schools and universities (They looked cute with their long hair clipped back and riding their bicycles and motorcycles). As they grow older but are still unmarried they move into soft pastel shades. Only married women wear gowns in strong rich colors, usually over white or black pants. The Ao Dai is the traditional dress of Vietnamese women, consisting of a long flowing tunic that is slit on the sides and worn over loose trousers.
This was the first thing I noticed when I was in Vietnam. You can almost see everywhere women wearing ao dais. I would really love to wear this elegant, demure yet sexy traditional dress. It gives a certain dignified look to women. :)
Oops! Ok, let's get back to the most interesting section of the Reunification Palace, which is the basement. It has network of tunnels and rooms, including a War Room and a telecommunications room.
Now, the Palace is both an ideal tourist sight seeing point and a place to hold meetings, seminars, receive guests from local and foreign agencies and businesses. It has a restaurant serving entertainments, birthdays and weddings.
Ticket selling time is 7:30 to 11:00 am and 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Open everyday including Saturdays, Sundays and Tet Holidays.
106 Nguyen Du St.,
District 1, Ho Chi Minh City