Located right in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City – at number 2, Paris Commune Street, District 1, The Central Post Office is one of the oldest buildings in Ho Chi Minh City. It was built around 1886 – 1891, based on the design of Gustave Eiffel – a famous French architect and has become a significant symbol of the city, just like its opposite neighbor Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral. It has long been the busiest post office of the country.
A typical colonial French building
Being a mixture of Gothic, Renaissance and French influences, this building fascinates tourists by its typical colonial French features, from exterior to interior decorations. By the first time, visitors may feel that they’re brought back to 20th century railway station in Europe, rather than a post office in an Asian country. From its ornate furnishings, gorgeous-pattern-tiled floor to its massively high ceilings and numerous wickets, all speak of another place in time. The interior design is even more elegant with the phone booths, which are just the same since the colonial period.
Walking inside, the first things you notice are the two maps: Saigonet ses environs, 1892 describing Ho Chi Minh City in the past and Lignes télégraphiques du Sud Vietnamet du Cambodge which is the postal route from Vietnam to Cambodia. The building inside is big and airy with a lot of space. The ceiling was designed with arc shape which was carried by the two rows of steel pillars. This makes the building look grander and more stable. Also, the building looks just perfectly in harmony with the outside, considering its arched windows creatively designed with engaged piers, green window shutters or the main entrance with intricate ironwork.
The Post Office offers all kinds of traditional postal services like mailing, selling postcards or stamps (there is a big array of stamps to choose, which ranges in price from cheapest ones). Foreign money exchange is also available.
Don’t ignore Mr. Duong Van Ngo – an old man sitting at the end of a long wooden table underneath a mural of Ho Chi Minh, behind the sign “Information and Writing Assistance”. Mr. Ngo has been working here since he was 17, as a polyglot public letter writer. Being the last letter writer in old Saigon, he’s a source of stories of how could he connect people across the planet with his fountain pen.
How to get there
Saigon Central Post Office is always included in any city tour, as it’s quite easy to get there on foot, bike or motorbike from other attractions like Reunification Palace or War Remnants Museum are suggested. It works daily from 6AM to 10 PM.
The Central Post Office is located near Diamond Plaza, a big shopping venue in Ho Chi Minh City and Notre Dame Cathedral, an ancient building with beautiful architecture. The 3 buildings together make it a popular area in District 1 for foreigners to visit. If you stay in the District 1, it does not take you much time to walk to these places. You can walk along the road and enjoy many other beautiful attractions of Ho Chi Minh City.