5 Most Neglected War Sites in Saigon and How to Discover Them

    en, how to, 5 most neglected war sites in saigon and how to discover them

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    Saigon was a hotbed of activity throughout the Vietnam War. All of the photos featured in this article were taken in Saigon, 3 have won the Pulitzer prize for photography. The city and its surrounding areas are dotted with locations that are recognisable and important to the story of the war. However, the Vietnam war sites seem normal and are often neglected by travellers.  If you want to understand more about the Vietnam war and relive the moments, you might need to book a local insider to show you where to go and explain the stories behind these incredible historic sites.

    en, how to, 5 most neglected war sites in saigon and how to discover them

    1. The Last Helicopter To Flee Saigon

    This is an interesting spot because it signalled the last hours of the Vietnam war. The North Vietnamese Forces were bearing down on the city as its inhabitants made one last attempt to escape. This helicopter landed on a makeshift helipad at the American CIA building and tried to take as many as possible. This photo is truly amazing as it captures the sense of panic and desperation felt by those in Saigon. However, this helicopter , like many others, never returned to collect many of those who were left behind. This building is often missed by travellers but is an important landmark in one the wars most cataclysmic events-The fall of Saigon

    en, how to, 5 most neglected war sites in saigon and how to discover them

    29 Apr 1975, Saigon, South Vietnam — A CIA employee (probably O.B. Harnage) helps Vietnamese evacuate onto an Air America helicopter from the top of 22 Gia Long Street, a half mile from the U.S. Embassy. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

    What it looks like now?

    Nowadays, the building in at 22 Ly Tu Trong street with the same architecture. It’s a residential building, opposite from new Vincom shopping center and is easily missed because of this. Although you might not have access to the site, you can view it from closer distance from Secret Garden restaurant at 158 Pasteur street on the opposite building.

    en, how to, 5 most neglected war sites in saigon and how to discover them

    2. The Reunification Front Gate

    The reunification palace was the former presidential palace of South Of Vietnam. When the Northern forces got into Saigon, the palace was their first target. The moment the tank crashed through the front gate carrying the North Vietnamese flag marked a turning point in Vietnam’s history and changed the country’s path forever.

    en, how to, 5 most neglected war sites in saigon and how to discover them

    30th April 1975, Saigon South Vietnam, the tank “390” carrying the North Vietnamese flag crashed through the Presidential Palace. The collapse of the gate was a symbol of the Fall of Saigon. Image by © Francoise de Mulder/CORBIS

    What it looks like now?

    The reunification palace is still open for tourists nowadays and one of the most popular attractions. However, few pay attention to the front gate which has been captured in this iconic picture. The tank “390” captured in the photo is also displayed outside the palace which also functions as a museum now.

    en, how to, 5 most neglected war sites in saigon and how to discover them

    3. The ‘Saigon Execution’ photo

    One of the most famous photos of the war. This Viet Cong soldier was captured and Eddie Adams captured this shot mere seconds before he was executed. The soldier in question was Nguyễn Văn Lém who was being condemned for war crimes. Adams won his Pulitzer Prize in 1968 and “Saigon Execution,” would be one of history’s most graphic, violent and enduring war photographs. The photo was taken on a random street in Saigon. Its location has only resurfaced recently.

    en, how to, 5 most neglected war sites in saigon and how to discover them

    “Saigon execution” taken by Eddie Adams winning the Putlitzer prize in 1968. Image by via Flickr

    What it looks like now?

    The location was an area of much conjecture. No one knew exactly where the event occurred. Recently, however almost after 50 years, an enthusiast expat in Saigon Paul Blizard spent his time to discover its exact location. If you want to see the spot where this truly brutal event occurred you can find it at 197 Ngo Gia Tu, District 10 HCMC.

    en, how to, 5 most neglected war sites in saigon and how to discover them

    Image by Paul Blizard

    en, how to, 5 most neglected war sites in saigon and how to discover them

    Image by Paul Blizard

    4. The Burning Monk

    Thích Quảng Đức was a Buddhist monk who burned himself alive to protest the prosecution of his religion by the South Vietnamese government. The photo captured the attention of the world and brought increased pressure on the South Vietnamese government to find a conclusion to its Buddhist crisis. Indeed, mainstream western media widely displayed the photo, much to the shock of those who viewed it.The American president of the time, J.F Kennedy declared that “no news picture in history has generated so much emotion around the world as this one”. Photographer Malcolm Browne won a Pulitzer prize for this amazing photograph in 1964.

    en, how to, 5 most neglected war sites in saigon and how to discover them

    “I was standing about 20 feet to the right and a little in front of Quang Duc. I clearly saw him strike a match in his lap, and with a slight movement, touch the robes at lap level.” Photo & caption by Malcolm Browne. Image by ManhHai via Flickr

    What it looks like now?

    Browne snapped his iconic shot at the intersection between Nguyen Dinh Chieu and Cach Mang Thang 8. There is also a statue of Thich Quang Duc here, to mark an event which shocked the world.

    en, how to, 5 most neglected war sites in saigon and how to discover them
    en, how to, 5 most neglected war sites in saigon and how to discover them

    The Venerable Thich Quang Duc Monument at the intersection where Quang Duc performed his self-immolation, Phan Dinh Phung (now Nguyen Dinh Chieu) Street and Le Van Duyet (now Cach Mạng Thang Tam) Street. Image by Clay Gilliland via Flickr

    5. The Napalm Girl

    This is another photo which is instantly recognisable and highlights the intense brutality of the Vietnam war. This is a photo of Kim Phúc, a young girl whose village was destroyed in a napalm attack. Kim Phúc then fled the village with her family in an attempt to reach the safety of the South Vietnamese army. During their attempt to escape a South Vietnamese air pilot mistakenly attacked the group killing two members of Kim’s family, badly burning Kim in the process.

    en, how to, 5 most neglected war sites in saigon and how to discover them

    The photo won the Pulitzer prize in 1973. Image by Nick Ut via Flickr

    The Napalm Girl village and Cu Chi Tunnels tour
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    This image is without a doubt one of the war’s most harrowing images of the war and many press editors were reluctant to publish it due to its graphic nature and nudity. However, the photo appeared in the New York Times and immediately captured the attention of the world. Nick Ut’s work earned him a Pulitzer prize and was the World Press Photo of the year in 1973. For anyone who is further interested in the photo and Kim Phúc’s life, a documentary on the subject by Denise Chong was released in 1999 called The Girl in the Photo.

    What it looks like now?

    This is the temple right next to the place where Nick Ut took the photo. The place is actually in Tay Ninh Province, 40km from south of Saigon next to a Cao Dai temple.

    en, how to, 5 most neglected war sites in saigon and how to discover them

    The site closed to where the famous photo was taken. Image by Thuan Van Nguyen via Panoramio

    en, how to, 5 most neglected war sites in saigon and how to discover them

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