White Palace, Vung Tau - review by Rusty Compass
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White Palace, Vung Tau

| 12 Nov 2012
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White Palace, Vung Tau
Tran Phu St, Vung Tau

Our rating
12 Nov 2012

The White Palace is Vung Tau's nicest colonial era mansion. It was built as a retreat for French Governor General Paul Doumer at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Note: The information provided in this review was correct at time of publishing but may change. For final clarification please check with the relevant service

Vung Tau's White Palace is perched 50 metres up "Big Mountain" and enjoys wonderful views along the coast. It was built in 1898 on the site of a Nguyen Dynasty fortress that was demolished by the French to make way for a retreat for Governor General Paul Doumer.

Based in Hanoi, Doumer was an important force in the major expansion of infrastructure in the capital. His most famous project was the Paul Doumer Bridge across the Red River - now known as the Long Bien Bridge.

Doumer's public works programme was funded by onerous taxation, state monopolies and forced labour that placed a terrible strain on the local population.

Doumer went on to become French President and was assassinated in 1931.

The White Palace also became the palatial place of house arrest for eccentric, recalcitrant Vietnamese King Thanh Thai between 1906 and 1917.

In the very brief official account of the building's history, King Thanh Thai gets the official stamp of approval as a "patriotic King" for creating trouble for the French.  Other regular villa residents, South Vietnamese Presidents Ngo Dinh Diem and Nguyen Van Thieu, do not bear mentioning in the official plaque.

These days, the White Palace houses an interesting collection of China recovered from sunken ships off the Vung Tau coast. Information is scarce as it is about the building itself.

Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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