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Saigon / Ho Chi Minh and the war in Vietnam

Saigon Vietnam War

Saigon – Ho Chi Minh is the city where you are able to take pictures at those spots where iconic Vietnam war pictures where made. Images which went across the globe and became world famous.

Nowadays, those remarkable spots are tranquil places which you just can pass by, without realizing what had happened there.

1. Burning Monk Monument, Saigon

At first sight, this seems to be a not that interesting monument at a random intersection in Saigon. But anyone who reads up on the story behind this monument will start feeling goosebumps when you are there in person. Thich Quang Duc was a Vietnamese monk who set himself on fire on June 11th, 1963. He did this to focus attention to the oppression of monks. The image taken of this event has become world famous and clips can still be found on Youtube.

Saigon Ho Chi Minh war, Saigon / Ho Chi Minh and the war in Vietnam
Photocredits: Malcolm Browne

After the dead of this monk, his body was completely burned, yet his heart would have remained unburned. Many monks saw this as a sign of his compassion. From that moment onwards, he was referred to as an Enlightened One. His deed had real impact.

John F. Kennedy literally said: “No news picture in history has generated so much emotion around the world as that one”.

It caused international pressure on the Catholic Ngo Dinh Diem regime, up until then fully backed by the USA. Ngo Dinh Diem was forced to abandon his plans to oppress Buddhism in South Vietnam. In the years following the event, many monks followed Thich Quang Ducs’ example.

Location Burning Monk Monument:  Nguyen Dinh Chieu street / Cach Mang Thang Tam Street

Saigon Ho Chi Minh war, Saigon / Ho Chi Minh and the war in Vietnam

2. Secret CIA Building, Saigon

The “Secret CIA Building” is another place in Saigon / Ho Chi Minh where you could just walk by without noticing that you are passing a historically significant and famous site of the war. Hubert van Es ( a Dutch photographer ) made the world famous picture on April 29th 1975, exactly one day before Saigon fell. This image above this article travelled the world.

The image shows the hasty and chaotic departure of Americans during the last day before the fall of Saigon and has become a symbol for the American desperation during the war in Vietnam. Just one helicopter and too many people wanting to get out clearly depicts the difference between life and death. It was always assumed that this picture was taken at the American embassy, but that wasn’t true and this confusion was typical for the Vietnam war, something

Hubert van Es said himself in the New York Times in 2005: “Like so many things about the Vietnam War, it’s not exactly what it seems”. 

Location Secret CIA Building: 22 Gia Long Street

Saigon Ho Chi Minh war, Saigon / Ho Chi Minh and the war in Vietnam

Tip tour

Do you want to know more about Saigon / Ho Chi Minh and the war? Book a tour on the back of a scooter with a guide at XO tours in Saigon – Ho Chi Minh and you’ll be able to see these two spots. It’s easily arranged through XO tours’ website.

Tip hotel Saigon/Ho Chi Minh

The Golden Central Hotel is a great place to stay with a lovely pool! Nice big rooms en value for money.

  • Not what you are looking for? Find here more great places to stay in Saigon/ Ho Chi Minh!
Saigon Ho Chi Minh war, Saigon / Ho Chi Minh and the war in Vietnam
Golden Central Hotel


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