Independence Palace Saigon Impressive History & Architecture

The official name of the Independence Palace Saigon is "Dinh Độc Lập" which in English translates to "Independence Palace" or "Reunification Palace" and sometimes it's also referred as "The Presidential Palace" which is a historic building in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, which was built on the site of the former Norodom Palace, it's serve as the residence of the Governor-General of French Indochina, and later it was the workplace of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

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Independence Palace Saigon
Source: Wikipedia

The Independence Palace Saigon Vietnam was built by the French from the early day of its colonization and used to be the residence and working place of the President of the Republic of Vietnam during wartime South Vietnam. That is why it is also called Saigon Presidential Palace. With unique architecture and great historical significance, the palace is currently one of the most outstanding tourist & historic attractions in Ho Chi Minh City.

I - Where is the Independence Palace Saigon located? 

Location of Independence Palace Saigon

Location of Saigon unification palace - Source: Foox

The Reunification Palace Saigon is located at No.135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1 - right in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City and near many other attractive tourist spots such as Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Central Post Office,... If traveling here by bus, you can catch some buses such as bus 01, bus 02, bus 03, bus 04,... If getting here by private vehicle, you can park it at Huyen Tran Cong Chua street or Tao Dan Park - opposite the Saigon Presidential Palace. 

II - History of Independence Palace Saigon

History of Independence Palace

The Reunification Palace Saigon in wartime - Source: Cochinchine-saigon

In 1867 - 1868, after occupying 6 provinces of Cochinchina, Governor Lagrandiere made the first stone laying ceremony to start the construction of Cochinchinense Governor's Palace in Saigon according to the plan sketched by the architect Hermite which was named Norodom Palace. 
From 1871 to 1887, Norodom Palace was for the governor of Cochinchina, hence was called the Governor's Palace. From 1887 to 1945, senior French colonial officials used this place to work and renamed it the Governor-General.
In 1945, Japan replaced France to be the new colonists of Vietnam. Afterward, France handed over the Governor's Palace to the Ngo Dinh Diem government. In 1955 the palace was renamed the Independence Palace Saigon. From there, it became a symbol of the South Vietnamese government which was also the residence of the President.
In 1962, the palace was destroyed by bombs and could not be renovated, so Ngo Dinh Diem decided to rebuild it completely by architect Ngo Viet Thu and inaugurated it in 1966. 
In April 1975, this palace once again became one of the final sites of the attack and rebellion in spring 1975. And when the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam flag fluttered on the roof of the Saigon Presidential Palace, the war for more than 20 years was put to an end.
By 1976, the palace was recognized as a National Historic Site and was honored as one of the 10 special national monuments of Vietnam (in 2009). The government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam later renamed it the Reunification Palace Saigon.

III - Independence Palace Saigon’s impressive architecture

1 - Outdoor architecture of the Reunification Palace

Outdoor architecture Reunification Palace

Independence Palace campus - Source: Nguoikesu

Dinh Doc Lap was built on an area of 120,000m2, 26m high. This is considered a unique architecture, designed according to the Feng-Shui principle and Asian style. In front is a yard with grass in a wide oval shape with a diameter of 102m. The lake is designed in the shape of a semicircle planted with lotuses and water lilies.
In the left corner of the palace, there is an octagonal house located on a high mound - used as a place to relax and enjoy the wind. Bonsai and old trees are planted alternately around the area of ​​the palace.

2 - Indoor architecture of the Independence Palace Saigon 

In the fixed area of the Saigon Presidential Palace, there are more than 100 rooms decorated in different styles, including the offices of the President - Vice President, cabinet room, royal room, ceremonial room, proxy office, national mailroom, communications room, bedroom of the President's family, etc. and other parts like kitchen, covers, corridors.
The most prominent inside the Saigon Reunification Palace is the ballroom which can accommodate up to 500 people - the venue for meetings and receptions; the Cabinet room - where important meetings took place; tactical advisory room - the studio which received news from 4 regions. And the most interesting area is the residence of the President's family.


Indoor architecture Dinh Doc Lap

Impressive Independence Palace architecture - Source: Nguoikesu

The exhibition area in the Independence Palace Saigon displays artifacts topically: Paris Agreement, Ho Chi Minh campaign through reserved documents; Ho Chi Minh Road through Saigon government documents; photo galleries, etc. If you are a historical enthusiast, do not forget to visit the exhibition area "from Norodom Palace to Independence Palace 1868 - 1966", which simulates the process of formation, construction, and important milestones taking place at the palace. Moreover, you will find vivid photos from the past, and get to know more about the history behind it that hasn’t been mentioned in books and newspapers. 
The additional area in the Saigon Presidential Palace is a gallery of images to be found and collected later. The photos are kept by people from the resistance wartime to independence time. Looking at the photos, you can feel the glorious resistance and joy of victory of the Vietnamese people.

IV - Guide to visit Independence Palace Saigon

1 - The Independence Palace Saigon opening hours

Visiting Reunification Palace Saigon

Tourists at the Saigon Reunification Palace - Source: VnExpress

The opening hours in 2023 are as below:
- The main building of the palace: 8am - 4:30pm
- Exhibition house - "From Norodom Palace to Independence Palace 1868 - 1966": 9am - 1pm
Note that: 
- On special days like the Vietnamese Reunification Day April 30, Vietnamese Lunar New Year,... the atmosphere is more and more vibrant with many activities
- Dress politely
- Do not carry luggage, food, drinks, animals, weapons, and flammable substances inside
- You are responsible for any actions that cause damage to the palace 

2 - The Independence Palace Saigon entrance fee

- Ticket price: 


 Places/ activity

Adult (USD)

Children (USD)

Independence Palace



"From Norodom Palace to Independence Palace" Exhibit



Both places




- Tickets are sold from 8am to 3:30pm
- Phone: 028.38223652 

- More details: 

3 - Saigon Presidential Palace's historical artifacts 

Historical artifacts in Independence Palace

Historic artifacts at the Reunification Palace - Source: VnExpress

Through many ups and downs, the palace still retains a lot of historical artifacts. On the roof of the Palace is a UH-1 helicopter of President Nguyen Van Thieu, beside it are two bombs bombarded by pilot Nguyen Thanh Trung. Along with that, in the Independence Palace Saigon, there is a Mercedes Benz 200 W110 car bearing the VN-13-78 number plate, the Jeep M152A2 used to transport the last President of the Republic of Vietnam - Duong Van Minh to a Saigon radio station to read the statement of surrender (April 30, 1975) and other things such as 390 tanks, 843 tanks, F5E fighters.

Tourism sites nearby the Reunification Palace

Notre Dame Cathedral Saigon - Source: Internet

After visiting the Saigon Reunification Palace, you can set foot to other outstanding tourist spots of Ho Chi Minh City such as Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon - 350m away, Saigon Central Post Office - 500m away, War Remnants Museum - 550 away, Ben Thanh Market - 750m away.
It can be said that the Independence Palace Saigon with great historical values is the pride of the Vietnamese people. Visiting the palace will definitely be a memorable experience during your visit to the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh.

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