Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Reunification Palace - Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Nothing really intriguing on the first day in Ho Chi Minh City (Liberty Hotel). Anyway, what can possibly be squeezed in during the few hours in the afternoon before calling it a night (Quan Ngon 138 restaurant)? Not much I know. Still, a couple of things were obvious within this few hours. Ho Chi Minh City, previously known as Saigon is massively traffic struck, I also learned that people in Vietnam are basically like the rest of us from any other part of the world. Different shapes and sizes, I bumped into the good, the humble, and the not-nice characters. Some willingly smile, whereas others stared at me as though I am from a weird planet, people on the whole do converse well in English (Ban Thanh Market) and Ho Chi Minh is still a popular tourist destination (Golden Dragon Water Puppet Show)

That is that, my observation on HCMC, next morning prior to later journeying to Siam Reap, we had a couple of short and long stops. First stop in "Reunification Palace", formerly known as Independence Palace. Once we walked into the huge compound, trill and frill spilled over massively the moment we saw the vintage cannons and war tanks, which were driven through the gate when Vietnam War ceased.

At least 15 minutes for posey-mosey picturing until tour guide gently reminded us to proceed further to Reunification Palace. Pointed noted, we walked in, and then, it’s all yours. I decided to break free from my tour group, come to think of it, wasn’t a good idea. Seemingly I was going in circles at the same first three floors in this majestic, airy and open Palace, which played a symbolic role in the fall of Saigon in 30 April, 1975. Also, home and workplace of South Vietnam's President during Vietnam War, Reunification Palace was designed by Paris-trained Vietnamese architect Ngo Viet Thu and built on the former site of Norodom Palace. Inside the Palace, you will see a series of rooms. Private quarters, dining rooms, entertainment lounges, president's office convention halls, entertainment room, meeting room, war room, ballroom and guest lodge.

True enough, Reunification is a huge Palace, do keep an eye on the signs so that you know where you are and where you should head next, instead of going round in circles before ending up at any eerie quiet corner all by itself. I did. Scary. Especially, once I gasped that Reunification Palace indeed showcases what transpired during Vietnam War, causing over a million casualties, mind you, the after effects suffering I believe is still endured till this day. Therefore, my bad imagining ran high. I definitely didn’t want to bump into a war soldier or flying towards me army commando or suddenly, if I hear gun shots. Frightening right? So, each time I came to cross corner staircase, I quickly walked away. Nevertheless, I managed to cover the first three floors, later to the 4th floor where the kitchen and coming with it utensils and equipments are displayed, I also viewed the previous cars of the President and posters and pictures on the chronicles of Vietnam’s political history and Vietnam War.

Next, I went up to the last floor for viewing the war relics and photos of US soldiers and personal dashing for the departing helicopters during the Fall of Saigon. Finally, an umbrella view of Reunification Palace from the open rooftop, prior to finding my way back to the main entrance. Interesting. Really. You should visit Reunification Palace. An eye opener to Vietnam War which we may have read and heard of only.

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  1. Glad you posted pictures.I visited this palace 4 years back but had lost all my pictures! Its a nice revisit for me now by reading your post! THANX!!!

  2. So much history to see my friend :D


  3. only one hour? surely not enough to observe all the art and everything inside there...for example, i would have love to see more closely of the big painitng in the 12th photo

  4. I've been there only once on a biz trip; this certainly brings back memory.

  5. The Hindu temple is a surprise,who prays there,Indian or Vietnamese?


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