Whist in Saigon we visited a couple of places that we would like to tell you about. No video was made but we took some pictures. Here are a couple of these visits:
1. The war remnants museum:
We did not think videos were warranted here. It is a sombre place with most visitors meandering around in silence some crying looking at the rooms full of pictures about the war. The whole museum is greatly biased to the Vietnamese view and reading around it is blatantly clear that thousands of Vietnamese suffered terribly at the hands of the USA whilst not one US soldier was mentioned being killed.
We did not take any pictures inside but here are a few taken outside:
Click on a picture to view full size and the click the next pictures name at the bottom left or right.
2. Reunification Palace:
Another tour where we did not think video was warranted was to the Reunification Palace.
This building, currently a museum, used to be the official residence of the Presidents of the former South Vietnam government.
It was here that the American led war ended on April 30 1975, when the North Vietnam Army invaded the Palace forcing the president to resign.
Currently the Reunification Palace complex is open to the public. Visitors can see the basement tunnels, the conference rooms, the Presidential Receiving Room, the telecommunications center and the war room. The picture of the helicopter shows two red circles where the bombs were dropped onto the roof. Nguyen Thanh Trung, the South Vietnamese pilot that bombed the palace in support of the approaching communists in the dying days of the war went on to become the national carrier, Vietnam Airlines’, chief pilot. You may also remember the film made about the extraction of the last of the US officials. At the Fall of Saigon, northern troops ran the gates down with their tanks, which are on display in the grounds.
The Cu Chi Tunnels:
We did a half day trip to the notorious Cu Chi Tunnels area. This is where the Viet Cong dug over 200 klms of tunnels to hide in from the South Vietnamese and the Americans.
The tunnels are an immense network of connecting underground tunnels located in the Cu Chi district of Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon and are part of a much larger network of tunnels that underlie much of the country. The Củ Chi tunnels were the location of several military campaigns during the Vietnam War and were the Viet Cong’s base of operations for the Tết Offensive in 1968.
The tunnels were used by Viet Cong soldiers as hiding spots during combat, as well as serving as communication and supply routes, hospitals, food and weapon caches and living quarters for numerous North Vietnamese fighters. The tunnel systems were of great importance to the Viet Cong in their resistance to American forces, and helped to counter the growing American military effort.
For the Viet Cong, life in the tunnels was difficult. Air, food and water were scarce and the tunnels were infested with ants, poisonous centipedes, scorpions, spiders and vermin. Most of the time, soldiers would spend the day in the tunnels working or resting and come out only at night to scavenge for supplies, tend their crops, or engage the enemy in battle. Sometimes, during periods of heavy bombing or American troop movement, they would be forced to remain underground for many days at a time. Sickness was rampant among the people living in the tunnels, especially malaria, which was the second largest cause of death next to battle wounds.
The tunnels shown to tourist are (in the writers opinion) not the real thing but have been put in for the “tourists” You are shown how small they were by means of a trapdoor and you can(if not overweight) drop four feet down into one. You can also walk (crouched) through a 50 mt section. Also on display are a dozen or so of the “Mantrap pits” that were used against the invading troops. NASTY !!! At the site you could if you wanted to waste some money fire some rifles and machine guns. At about $1.75 a bullet it is a very noisy waste of money.
Notre Dame Cathedral and the Post Office:
A part of Saigon’s history that luckily was not destroyed in the war is the Notre-Dame Basilica, established by French colonists, the cathedral was constructed between 1863 and 1880. It has two bell towers, reaching a height of 58 meters. Just across the road is the Post office. The Central Post Office is one of the oldest buildings in Ho Chi Minh City. It was built around 1886 – 1891, based on the design of Gustave Eiffel – a famous French architect. Both very notable historic buildings. Part of our city tour took these in. Here are a few photos of these lovely old buildings.