History

The Cu Chi Tunnels

During the Vietnam War (fine: the “War of American Aggression”), the Viet Cong were hopelessly outmatched from a military standpoint. So, they had to level the playing field… or even better, dig tunnels and hide underneath the playing field. We went to Cu Chi to visit one of the most famous underground systems.


The Great Divine Temple of Cao Dai

The city of Tay Ninh is probably known best as the birthplace of Caodaism, a modern religion which has millions of adherents in Vietnam and around the world. We were able to attend a bizarre and beautiful worship ceremony in Cao Dai’s Holy See, at the Great Divine Temple.


The Palace of the Reunification

The most significant event in the history of Saigon’s Presidential Palace was also the moment that it permanently lost its political relevance. On April 30th, 1975, a Viet Cong tank plowed through the gates, putting an end to the two-decade war which had torn Vietnam apart. The south had fallen, and the Presidential Palace was suddenly a relic.


The Saigon Central Post Office and the Notre Dame Cathedral

Two of Saigon’s most picturesque colonial buildings are found right next to each other, in the center of the city. The Central Post Office (Bưu điện) and the Notre-Dame Cathedral were constructed by the French in the late 19th century, and a visit to both is obligatory during any tour of Saigon.


A Concise History of Saigon

For whatever reason, I had always assumed that the history of Saigon stretched back to the dawn of humanity. “The Ancient City of Saigon” does have a nice ring to it, but it’s not true. In fact, for most of its history, Saigon was an unimportant Cambodian fishing village. (Maybe I was mixing it up with legendary Shangri-La?) But despite its late debut as a major Southeast Asian city, Saigon has seen plenty of action. Here’s a concise rundown of its history.


The Museum of Vietnamese History

Found within the same complex as the zoo and botanical gardens, the Museum of Vietnamese History occupies a handsome building which was built in 1929. The museum’s exhibits begin in the neolithic age, and continue through some of Vietnam’s most momentous struggles.