You have been to the War Remnants Museum & Cu Chi tunnels, and you are seeking the secret place – hidden beneath the surface – in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. A highly informative and educational experience makes you understand how hard life was during the war. Saigon Commandos have preserved places of historical significance.
Saigon Commandos Museum (145 Tran Quang Khai Str., District 1) was built in 1963 which seems like a regular house in District 1, yet was originally operational activities of the Saigon Commandos’ Security Unit. followed under Mr. Tran Van Lai. Walking into the museum, visitors have to use an old elevator made from intricate patterns of iron, wooden crates, etched with many motifs. On the second floor of about 100m2, more than 100 artifacts are decorated with memorabilia of soldiers in the war.
Not far away, there is Do Phu Café - Dai Han broken rice eatery (113A, Dang Dung Str., District 1) is a stop telling stories of hiding in plain sight, trap doors, hidden tunnels, secret mailbox, etc. This café – eatery was the secret base operations of the People's Army overseen by Mr. Lai. On the outside, it was an eatery behind the scenes, it was a place for secret meetings, a hiding spot. This cafe was the secret base of operations and a secret behind a casual eatery in wartime. In the beginning, it sold meals for workers and gradually became popular among people in the area, especially the Korean soldiers taking part in the war.
“Dai Han” means “South Korean” since the meal comprises a blend of Vietnamese broken rice and kimchi that brings a different flavor from the local Com Tam. Many stories are told in this rice joint that it served broken rice and coffee, but in fact, served to store and transfer letters and confidential documents to the war zone. All the untold valuable exhibits are living proofs of the history in creating, fighting, remanding of Saigon commandos. Sitting down, discover the feat of battle by watching a documentary film and an indoor diorama display.
The next destinations are 15-minute driving to 287/2 Vo Van Tan Str., District 3 & 287/70 Nguyen Dinh Chieu Str. District 3 will bring you to the story of “Weapons Bunker of Saigon Commandos attacking The Independence Palace in Tet Offensive 1968”. It used to hide an incredible amount of weaponry such as the trap door, stash of bazookas, guns, and grenades that South Vietnam’s army never found.
It is a valuable piece of war history that proves the incredible victory of Vietnam. The houses open free of charge to visitors, but a working cafe that serves excellent coffee and a tasty portion of broken rice is worth a try. It’s a bit more off the beaten track, and you should make it a stop on a customized guided tour, where the guide can show the trap doors and tell you the history of the places that played a pivotal role during the Offensive in recreating a unique memory lane as a living museum to the Vietnam War. For more information and tour booking via: