Jun 2, 2011

Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh City/Hue

When visiting Vietnam, traces of the 20th century Vietnam wars remain amazingly present. History freaks and nostalgic political militants feel at ease. One can visit the Demilitarized zone at the 17th parallel, a memorial to remember My Lai massacre, Dien Bien Phu site and so on. And we did enjoy this dive into contemporary History!

At the extreme south of the country, Ho Chi Minh City is the former Saigon, capital of the French Cochinchina and then of the pro-american Republic of Vietnam. The headquarter of those regimes was located at Norodom palace then called Independance Palace and, after 1975, Reunification Palace.

Some of the most famous Vietnam wars episodes took place in this building. It is now a museum which most impressive feature is the war orientation in the building design: helicopter runway on the rooftop, bunker in the basement and direct stairs from the president office to his war room (and combat duty bedroom!) in the basement.

War room of the president in the basement

 Spare radio station in the basement

Helicopter on the rooftop

The War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City provides a lot of details about the two Vietnam wars and is completely oriented against the Americans and its former allies. A lot of emotions come out of the collections thanks to the many testimonies and the photos taken by war photographers and soldiers of both sides.

German poster

 Some figures

Photo taken in 2009 during the dry season in Binh Phuoc Province 
War Remnants Museum


The imperial city of Hue suffered also from the wars, located near the parallel separing the north and the south of Vietnam and often close to the frontline. From the initial 150 buildings of the famous Imperial Citadel and its Purple Forbidden City, a couple of dozen still stand nowadays, some in ruins, others recently and beautifully renovated.

Ngo Mon Gate

Hien Lam Pavillion

Truong Sanh Palace

We took a fancy Dragon boat to go and visit three imperial tombs outside of the city.

On the Perfume River

Two of them were located in quiet big green parks where the emperors used to come with their concubines to rest from court life. Very relaxing places.

Minh Pavillion in Minh Mang Tomb complex

Pavillion in Minh Mang Tomb complex

In Tu Duc Tomb complex

 Chi Khiem Temple in Tu Duc Tomb complex

The third tomb, located in the Chau Mountain, differs from the others in size (smaller) but not in beauty. Its only building contains a nicely decorated and colorful shrine mixing French and Vietnamese styles.

Khai Dinh Shrine

Life-seize stone statues representing the civil and military mandarins, elephants 
and horses on standby of the imperial audience, Khai Dinh Tomb complex


What strikened us on the roads of Vietnam? They are covered with anachronistic red posters of the communist regime:

In Ho Chi Minh City

In Ho Chi Minh City

And the harvest period, just before the monsoon, gives rise to pastoral scenes:

A road used to dry grains

On a road in Hue


  1. hi. Ho Chi Minh to Hue đi chơi 1 chuyến cho thoải mái bạn nhé. Sống ở Ho Chi minh mãi cũng cảm thấy khó chịu ghê gớm cuộc sống với bao nhiêu thứ phải lo, cơm áo gạo tiền đã chi phối con người sài gòn.

  2. Cảm ơn bạn đã chia sẻ kinh nghiệm của bạn.
    Thank you for sharing your experience.