Photo Journal: Vietnam War Tour in HCMC

Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập

The Vietnam War officially ended in 1975 but its legacy still cuts deep in the Far East.

“History is written by the victors” is the famous quote by Winston Churchill and that rings true more so in Vietnam than anywhere else. This photo journal will cover three important locations of the Vietnam War in relation to the former capital of the south, Saigon, known nowadays as Ho Chi Minh City.

For all my travel blog posts on Vietnam: Click Here

For all the high-resolution photos from the Independence Palace: Click Here

For all the high-resolution photos from the Cu Chi Tunnels: Click Here

For all the high-resolution photos from the War Remnants Museum: Click Here

Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập
The immaculate lawn of the Independence Palace in Ho Chi Minh City

The Independence Palace (Reunification Palace)

The Independence Palace of Ho Chi Minh City is a landmark of the South Vietnamese government during the Vietnam War. A symbol of the fall and subsequent reunification of Vietnam when on April 30, 1975, a North Vietnamese tank crashed through its gates. The palace is known nowadays as the Reunification Palace and is a museum to the southern fall and northern conquest. From rooftop party decks to underground bunkers, the site is immaculately kept and open to all visitors.

Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập
One of the many meeting rooms in the Independence Palace

Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập

Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập

Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập

Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập
The President’s desk and office
Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập
The Presidential Library
Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập
The palace’s retro-style movie theater

 

Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập
The original bar that was used during presidential shindigs – and next to it a mark of American-style capitalist influence
Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập
A commandeered chopper next to two markers where the United States had dropped bombs during the Vietnam War

 

Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập
The exit to the bunker from the rooftop for a quick escape
Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập
The first room of the underground command center used during the war

Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập

Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập
These tunnel labyrinths were used extensively during the war
Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập
There are two levels to the underground tunnel system (that we know of!) Each is more claustrophobic than the last

Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập

Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập
One of the tunnel exits leads to the kitchen

Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập

Independence Palace - Dinh Độc Lập
The backside of the Independence Palace – the vertical columns in the middle of the building are part of an open-air ventilation system

The Cu Chi Tunnels

I’ve covered the Cu Chi Tunnels extensively in a lengthy post here however for the sake of this post here are a few of my favorite shots from the thick-jungle of Southeast Asia. The tunnels, as I’m sure you’re aware of, were used by the Vietcong to ambush the American/Australian/British troops during the Vietnam War.

Cu Chi Tunnels
Jungle Warfare mixed with Guerilla Warfare… a terrifying combination
Cu Chi Tunnels
On hands and knees during the crawl through the “reinforced” and tourist-ized section of the tunnels
Cu Chi Tunnels
The real size of the cramped and dirt-carved tunnels
Cu Chi Tunnels
Absolute relief and joy upon exited the cramped and tight tunnel system

The Vietnam War Remnants Museum

A last bit of Vietnam War-related travel in Ho Chi Minh City that is a must in order to understand the Northern Vietnamese perspective is at the War Remnants Museum. The museum features many pieces of hardware from the war including captured and left behind planes, helicopters, tanks, missile shells and casings, guns, gas masks and much much more, all presented in a manner completely (no pun intended) foreign to an American-educated lad such as myself.

War Remnants Museum

War Remnants Museum

 

War Remnants Museum

War Remnants Museum

War Remnants Museum

War Remnants Museum

War Remnants Museum
As democracy fought communism on Southeast Asian soil, the Cubans along with others lent their support to the Northern Vietnamese cause
War Remnants Museum
Captured guns and weapons, along with war stories from Vietnamese soldiers, line the walls of the museum. I’ve decided to cut the really graphic stuff from here but you can see them on Facebook via the link here
Ho Chi Minh City
Still one of the most powerful images from Vietnam and snapped with my phone nonetheless – the Communist sickle and hammer coupled next to the icon of American capitalism – Starbucks

For all my travel blog posts on Vietnam: Click Here

For all the high-resolution photos from the Independence Palace: Click Here

For all the high-resolution photos from the Cu Chi Tunnels: Click Here

For all the high-resolution photos from the War Remnants Museum: Click Here

Flashback: Ohio – The Greatest State in the Union

Having been born in Troy, Ohio, USA, I may be a bit biased calling my state the Greatest in the Union though it is objectively near the top

Of the 50 states, Ohio, USA, is widely-regarded as one of the most typical “American” states. From a demographic to a geographic standpoint, Ohio has so much to offer from lakes to cities to pristine countryside.

For all my travel blog posts: Click Here

Ohio, USA
The Square in Troy, Ohio

In case you haven’t noticed already, these images were taken some years ago on a Blackberry (remember those?) from a trip home from “The” Ohio State University where I completed my dual degree in International Business and Economics. I decided to make this a ‘photo retrospective’ of sorts as this isn’t a routine travel blog entry for me, I just wanted to share some pictures from where I’m from and as a reminder that no matter where you go, home is always in the back of my mind.

Ohio, USA
The Barn back home in Troy, Ohio. We used to keep five Belgium draft horses in the stable

Ohio, USA Ohio, USA Ohio, USA Ohio, USA

Ohio, USA

Belgium draft horses are some of the largest and strongest breeds of horse in the world and we used to keep around five at all times in the stable. They regularly grow to over 2,000 lbs (just shy of 1,000 kgs) and for obvious reasons, we only kept females at the farm. Occasionally we would take them up to Amish country to have them broken in and built up.

Ohio, USA
Cornfields behind the farm
Ohio, USA
Rural Ohio is wild. Hearing coyotes howl nightly is a regular occurrence.

Ohio, USA

Ohio, USA
The driveway in winter

The contrast of seasons in Ohio is felt throughout the state. Winter brings gray skies and almost absolute silence. It’s a bit unnerving living in the city and then heading back to the farm with the contrast in noise, less density of people and automobiles. It’s a strange feeling, like the Robert Frost poem.

Ohio, USA

Ohio, USA
Even the bare branches freeze over

Enough cold pictures – back to summer and Indian Lake, located in western Ohio. Named for some of the local Indian tribes (Ohio used to be the frontier of the USA, once upon a time), it was an ideal place for hunting and fishing. Numerous islands dot the lake which today are almost all connected by a network of bridges.

Lilypads on Indian Lake, Ohio
Ohio, USA
Drive your boat to the bar, have a few drinks, drive home.

 

Ohio, USA

Several years in Columbus, Ohio, were well spent at the Ohio State University earning my degrees. I’ll leave this post with some shots of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium from Ohio Stadium aka The Horseshoe, a 105,000 capacity stadium where the Buckeyes football team plays their home games. The photos are from the annual rivalry game with Michigan at the “The Shoe” in 2006 when we beat them 42-39 in easily the best sports game I’ve ever attended. We rushed the field afterwards.

Ohio, USA

Ohio, USA
Tiger cubs at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

Ohio, USA

Ohio, USA
Lots of bears in Ohio. This grizzly, luckily, was behind a protective barrier
Ohio, USA
The #1-Ranked Ohio State Buckeyes beat the #2-Ranked Michigan Wolverines
Ohio, USA
Rushing the field after the amazing win. Those troopers were not messing around!

 

Ohio, USA
‘Murika

Ohio, USA

Ohio, USA
Bonus: Missiles at the Wright-Patt Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. The base is an active military site and (allegedly) where the U.S. Government stores aliens from the Area 51 crash.

Ohio, USA

Thanks for reminiscing with me and see you next post in Vietnam!

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