Saigon Central Post Office: a historical and beautiful building

Saigon Central Post Office, also called Ho Chi Minh Post Office, is an iconic attraction of the city. Covering the French colonial style and bright color outside, it becomes a photo spot, tourist place, and architectural site.

You can come to this office when wanting to send a letter, or combine to visit the nearby Norte Dame Church. The old post office is absolutely a must-see place in HCMC to come once.

Saigon Post Office
Saigon Post Office | ©DEZALB/Pixabay

Ho Chi Minh City Post Office

The central post office locates in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City.

  • Address: 2 Cong Xa Paris Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Opening hours: 7:00am – 7:00pm, busy time: from 8:30am – 10:00am and 4:00pm – 6:00pm
  • Entrance fee: It is free to visit.
  • Phone number: 028 3822 1677

Historical information of the first Post Office in Saigon

After controlling Gia Dinh (the old name of Saigon), France established a communication system.

On 11.11.1860, the “Saigon Steel Wire Department,” meaning Saigon Post Office, was established. Mr. Pham Van Trung was the first Vietnamese to be a director of An Nam Post Office in Saigon.

On 13.1.1863, the Saigon Department of Steel Wire was officially inaugurated and issued the first “Con co,” meaning stamp. The stamps had the phoenix, the symbol of King Napoleon III, with the cost from 0.1 – 0.4 francs.

In 1864, the first stamped letter was sent to the world. Since then, the Saigonese people began sending their mails through the post office.

On March 22, 1888, the steel wire of telegram with 2,000 km long connected the North and South, running Saigon – Quy Nhon – Da Nang – Hue – Vinh – Hanoi. And, by 1889, another telegraph line was connected to Saigon – Bangkok (Thailand), specializing in serving to trade.

The Saigon Post Office was rebuilt according to the design project of architect Villedieu (French) and officially opened in 1891. Its building has maintained until now.

On July 1, 1894, the first telephones appeared in Saigon, communicated via the Steel Department, and this communication system has continuously exploited, changed, and upgraded.

Saigon Post Office in 1950s
Saigon Post Office in 1950s | Source:

The architecture of Saigon Central Post Office

The French built the Saigon Post Office from 1886 to 1891 according to the design project of architect Villedieu and his assistant Foulhoux. Architectural works of European style combines with Asian decoration.

Outside, the front of the house is decorated with rectangular boxes on the columns, on which the inventors of the telegraph and electricity industries are listed.

A large watch above the main gate is the highlight. You can see a person wearing laurels above the watch, and a bottom is the year of construction and inauguration of the building.

When entering the building, you will admire an arch roof that looks like a big wine box. Many beautiful patterns are elaborately designed. Also, you can find classic telephone boxes made of wood, in which you can try a call to your friends.

saigon central post office
Inside the central post office | ©falco/pixabay

And, you will notice two historical maps on the domed roof. On the right is a map of Saigon around 1892, on the left, is a power line map of Vietnam and Cambodia in 1936.

>>> You can like another French architectural building – HCMC Fine Arts Museum.

A historical person living with the Post Office

The Post Office also had a witness well-known for Saigoneers. It is a “century-long renting writer,” working at the Ho Chi Minh City Post Office.

His name is Duong Van Ngo, born in 1930. At 17, he was a student at Petrus Ky School and was an apprentice employee of Saigon Post Office. At the age of 22, he was an official employee with the title “Consulting mail procedures”.

Duong Van Ngo
Duong Van Ngo, letter writter | © My Phuong/vnexpress

Good at French, and learning English in 1965, Mr. Duong worked here until his retirement. After he retired, the post office favored him a small corner with a table on which several dictionaries and signboards “Where to write and help”.

At that time, there was no computer, international communication through the fax machine, telephone for was limited… People sending letters abroad had to write them by hand. Mr. Duong listened attentively to each person who needed help spreading his heart, and then wrote it to them with a low fee in both Vietnamese and French or English.

He has diligently gone to the office every day, never resting, whether it is holidays, New Year or Sunday.

During many years of writing down the feelings, emotions of other people, the image of the small gentle, gracious old man went into the hearts of Saigon people. Averagely, he helps more than 700,000 customers, and wrote over 31,000 letters, sent all over the world.

The activities to do in the Saigon Post Office

Nowadays, the central post office still operates normally to serve people with modern communication services in addition to many traditional services. For many visitors, may activities can be done at this site:

Ho Chi Minh Post Office
Ho Chi Minh Post Office | © falco/pixabay
  • Sending postcards from the Central Post Office to relatives and friends is a way to keep interesting memories in modern time.
  • Taking a call from the classic telephone at an old phone box can make different feelings when you enter the office.
  • Buying souvenirs and old stamps is good for memory. You notice that the price can be higher in other areas. However, it is because of the different and historical feelings, so many guests still like to buy them here.
  • Taking pictures in front and inside the building is a great activity that enriches your holidays in Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Writing a letter or postcard to your close friends will be a surprising thing in up-to-date life while most of us just receive emails or letters printed by the computer.
  • Hiring the old man to write your letter. Mr. Duong Van Go is a special man who has written thousands of pages for many people since tens of years ago at the central post office.

Every time I come to Ho Chi Minh City, I also visit the Saigon Central Post Office. I do not send any things there, but its beauty and history admire me to come back again and again.

How about you? Will you come to visit the historical post office of Ho Chi Minh?

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    About the author

    The editorial staff of Vietnamdrive is a team of travel experts managed by Mr. Thom who has worked in tourism for 14 years. Trusted by thousands of tourists from all over the world.