Young Pioneer Tours

Visiting the Independence Palace Ho Chi Minh City

As the former capital of the Republic of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, or as it was formerly known has a fair few sites related to this period, chief among them being the Independence Palace.

Located in downtown Saigon, not all that far from District 1 or “Saigon” the site now remains one of the foremost remnants of what was South Vietnam.

History of the Independence Palace Ho Chi Minh City

Prior to independence Vietnam was not Vietnam, but ruled as part of French Indochina under different zones. At this point the majority of south Vietnam was the colony of Cochinachina, with its capital of Saigon of much lesser importance than Hanoi.

The Independence Palace was thus initially built as colonial building to house the French ruling administration. This was at least until Vietnam was divided, much like Korea into a north and south. The south initially began as a royalist state before morphing into the Republic of Vietnam – which you can read about in much more details here.

The Independence Palace duly became the home and working place of whoever was President of the Republic of Vietnam alongside his staff. It was also here that the state finally ended ushering in the very brief Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam. This was replaced later by the unified Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

What can you see at the Independence Palace Ho Chi Ming City

Much like other such sites around the world, like the Palace of Marcos on the Philippines it has largely been preserved as historical relic.

In this respects it has kept all of the old rooms of state, such as where visiting dignitaries would go, banquet halls and even the helipad on the roof. In many respects this makes it also a window into what the 1970’s actually looked like. Spread throughout are also English language explanations about not just what various rooms were, but also historic events pertaining to various presidents and other historical figures when they visited.

This included the recently deceased Kissinger and the place where he told the South Vietnamese that they would no longer be supported.

What is the vibe at the Independence Palace?

As they say history is written by the victor which usually means that places like this tend to have extremely heavy propaganda from a communist side, something I am sure used to be the case here.

Now though things are written very tastefully with the Republic of South Vietnam being capitalized, unlike south Korea (in North Korea).

Interestingly though the language is also extremely different to other parts of even southern Vietnam, such as Phu Quoc Prison. At said prison the word imperialist and puppet government are used a lot, but not here at the place.

Instead the losers are at least now ebbing treated as worthy adversaries who merely backed the wrong dog, rather than American puppets. How new, or unique to Saigon this is, is well unknown, but it does make this a great place to visit.

We visit not only the Independence Palace, but also the Ho Chi Ming War museum on our group tours to Vietnam, as well as being able to organize it for independent tours to the country.

You can check out our independent tours here.

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