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Notre Dame Cathedral

19th-century Romanesque Catholic cathedral built with French bricks

TravelCurious Tip

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Ho Chi Minh City
Reunification Palace
The old Presidential Palace of South Vietnam which was the scene of an epoch-defining event in 1975
Ho Chi Minh City Hall
Majestic French colonial building modelled on the Hotel de Ville in Paris
Central Post Office
Classic French-designed pink building with a sumptuous interior
Gia Long Palace
French neoclassical building holding a museum, concrete bunkers and strengthened corridors
Rex Hotel
Former base of the American Forces Information Service, where they dished out daily press briefings
Vietnamese Cuisine
Having acquired a well-deserved reputation worldwide, maybe you should try Vietnamese national dishes in their home country

Related Tours

Meet Ho Chi Minh City
·        See the history of Ho Chi Minh City in the Gia Long Palace
·        Walk past the iconic Ho Chi Minh City Hall and Central Post Office 
·        Appreciate the French legacy at the red-brick Notre Dame Cathedral
·        Watch where the Vietnam War ended in 1975 in the gardens of the Reunification Palace
·        Witness how Vietnam officially remembers its recent conflicts in the War Remnants Museum

The best of Ho Chi Minh City reveals itself in this introductory trip. You will, in the company of your private guide, experience its past and culture at some of its best sights. 

Seat of Rulers

The Gia Long Palace has a lengthy history as home to Ho Chi Minh City’s rulers. The former seat of French Governors, a Japanese general and South Vietnamese President Ngô Đình Diệm, it now hosts the Ho Chi Minh City Museum. While much of the network of bunkers and tunnels – that lead eventually to the Reunification Palace – are not open to the public due to flooding, you can go around the gardens to see the interesting horticultural addition of military hardware, which includes the F-5 jet used to attack the Reunification Palace – then the presidential mansion of South Vietnam – in April 1975.

European Memories

Vietnam’s history as part of the French Empire left it with public buildings professing a distinctly European air. These have been overlaid with a Vietnamese character over time though, as you will see outside the Ho Chi Minh City Hall, completed in 1908, where a recent statue of the eponymous Vietnamese independence hero stands outside. While that building is not open to the public, the pink Central Post Office, this time dating from the late 19th-century, has a sumptuous interior worth investigating. Finally, you will want to see Notre Dame Cathedral. Built using bricks brought over from France, it was the site of what some – though not the Catholic Church – believe was a miracle in 2005 when the statue of the Virgin Mary outside the Cathedral shed tears.

Impact of War

Walking around the Reunification Palace, your guide will be able to tell you the story of the old presidential mansion. Built on the site of the old Norodom Palace, after it was bombed by some rebellious pilots, its capture in 1975 marked the end of the Vietnam War. From there it is not far to the War Remnants Museum. Housed in the old building of the US Information Service, it gives the official Vietnamese narrative of the wars which ravaged Vietnam from 1945 to 1975. With an impressive array of military hardware in the gardens, there are also poignant reminders of the horrors of war among the exhibits.   

Introduction to Ho Chi Minh City’s Past
·        Learn about the history of the nation at the Vietnam History Museum
·        Visit the former offices of the President of South Vietnam in the Reunification Palace
·        Walk among the legacy of conflict in the War Remnants Museum
·        Go with your own guide through the historic quarter of Ho Chi Minh City

Join our private guide on a journey looking at the Ho Chi Minh City's role in Vietnam's story. With a strong focus on the period of conflict from the exit of the French to the fall of South Vietnam in 1975, this tour will take you among its legacy through some of Ho Chi Minh’s most historic sights. 

Tales from the Past

No events in Vietnamese history have occurred in a vacuum. Going around the Vietnam History Museum, you will see the path of Vietnamese history laid out before you. With exhibits dating back to the Bronze Age, your guide will be able to describe and explain how Vietnam developed over millennia to enter the second half of the 20th century divided and at war. After going around the museum, your guide will take you to see some of the best buildings which the French left behind them in 1954. As you go around  Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office, your guide will be able to tell you about how Vietnam was treated as part of the French Empire. There will also be a chance to see, if not go in (as it is a government building), Ho Chi Minh City Hall. 

Palace of an Extinct Republic

Stepping into the Reunification Palace, it is easy to be struck by the memories of the place. Though only dating back to the 1960s, when it was built to replace the Norodom Palace after it was bombed by mutinous pilots, the iconic white building was designed to be the Presidential Palace of South Vietnam and still has tunnels leading to the Gia Long Palace. You will also enjoy going around the gardens of what was once called the Independence Palace with your guide. There they will tell you the story of what happened there in 1975, when Communist forces burst through the gates to bring the Vietnam War to a close. 

A Curious Collection

Some can find it odd going through what was once called the Museum of Chinese and American War Crimes. Now called the War Remnants Museum, it gives the official Vietnamese view of the country’s conflicts during the 20th century; which can be very different to the American stance. Possessing a large amount of military hardware, it is also very good at showing how civilians are affected by war with exhibits ranging from a French guillotine to “tiger cages” for Vietcong prisoners-of-war. 
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