Reunification Palace, Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa, p. Bến Thành, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh,
Along with the War Remnants Museum, this is arguably the most famous tourist sight in downtown Saigon. The guidebooks will tell you that time has stood still here since the fall of Saigon in 1975 and, despite the clichéd wording, they'd be right. The striking modern building was built on the site of the palace of the French governor-general of Cochinchina in the early 60s and its design (by Paris-trained Vietnamese architect Ngo Viet Thu) remains one of the finest examples of modern architecture in the city. Most visitors, however, come for the symbolism, not the aesthetics, of the building. When a North Vietnamese tank crashed through the wrought iron gates on 30th April 1975 it sounded the, by that stage inevitable, death knell for the South Vietnamese government. A replica of the tank still sits on the lawn outside while attractions inside include the grand Presidential Receiving Room and an eerie basement with telecommunications center, war room and a network of tunnels.