Inside Asia Tours: Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos
War Remnants Museum and Reunification Palace

War Remnants Museum and Reunification Palace

Learn about Saigon's fascinating combination of colonial, post-colonial and post-Vietnam War history through its architecture and museums.

Get to grips with Vietnam War history at two of Ho Chi Minh City's most significant sites relating to that era. The Reunification Palace, constructed on the site of the former colonial governor's official residence, is worthy of note both for its architectural merits and its historical significance. On 30th April 1975 a Northern Vietnamese tank drove through the gates, and officially accepted the surrender of the Southern Vietnamese, thus finally bringing the Vietnam War to a conclusion. Similar T-54 tanks are still parked symbolically on the lawn of the Palace today.

Inside, the 1960s palace is unexpectedly kitsch - with a cinema, rooftop nightclub, helipad, and retro card-playing room (described in the Lonely Planet as 'shagadelic'). The president's quarters have been preserved, including his collection of model boats, horse tails and elephant feet - while the basement houses a wartime telecommunications centre. Equal parts eclectic and fascinating, the palace provides a highly unusual look at the Vietnam War era.

The War Remnants Museum is the best place in Saigon to learn about the Second Indochina War - as well as the First Indochina War involving the Viet Minh and French colonialists. The name of the museum was changed from the original 'Exhibition House for US and Puppet Crimes' to the slightly less inflammatory 'Exhibition House of Crimes of War and Aggression', before finally becoming the War Remnants Museum after the easing diplomatic relations between Vietnam and America in 1995.

Occupying several buildings and outdoor courtyards, visitors to the museum can see military equipment including helicopters, fighter planes, tanks and bombs - perfect fodder for history buffs young and old. There are also numerous displays detailing the events of the war and its aftermath, including affecting photographs and displays in English, Japanese and Vietnamese. The perspective on offer is very much one of the victorious Vietnamese, but nevertheless interesting for visitors more familiar with the story told from the other perspective.

When to go:

War Remnants Museum and Reunification Palace

located in Ho Chi Minh City

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Interested in this Experience? It is included in this tour:

  • This architecturally themed tour of Vietnam & Laos showcases the tremendous variety of traditional & French colonial architecture.

    Architectural Highlights

    From the sharp lines and modern art of Ho Chi Minh City, travel up through Vietnam, stopping along the way to see Cham-era buildings in Hoi An and Nguyen Dynasty architecture in imperial Hue. On top of this, see French influence in the elegant local buildings of Laos and the quirky Buddha Park.

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    This architecturally themed tour of Vietnam & Laos showcases the tremendous variety of traditional & French colonial architecture.

Other suggested History

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  • The DMZ and Vinh Moc tunnels

    The DMZ and Vinh Moc tunnels

    The Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), also known as the 17th Parallel, was the site of some of the fiercest and bloodiest battles during the Vietnam War.

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  • Cu Chi tunnels

    Cu Chi tunnels

    The Cu Chi tunnels were a stronghold of the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War, and provide modern visitors with a fascinating insight into the era.

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  • Duong Lam village

    Duong Lam village

    Not far from Hanoi is Duong Lam, a rural village in the northern Red River Delta famed for its well-preserved traditional architecture.

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  • Cyclo ride around Hanoi's Old Quarter

    Cyclo ride around Hanoi's Old Quarter

    Discover the '36 streets: a warren of narrow alleys packed with street food stalls that make up Hanoi's Old Quarter.

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  • Dien Bien Phu

    Dien Bien Phu

    The scene of the decisive battle of the First Indochina War, Dien Bien Phu is synonymous with the defeat of the French colonial powers in Indochina.

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  • My Son ruins

    My Son ruins

    The most significant remnant of the once-powerful Cham Dynasty can be found at My Son, a short drive from Hoi An.

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