The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) was the site of some of the fiercest and bloodiest battles during the American War and a tour through this historic region is an informative glimpse in to the war time history. From Hue travel north to visit underground tunnels and bunkers, cross infamous battle sites, and pass tranquil villages as you discover the DMZ.
The zone includes two parts extending 5km from the north and south banks of Ben Hai River (Hien Luong River or Parallel 17) and runs around 100 km from South China Sea coast to the west border with Laos. The Parallel 17 first served as a “provisional military demarcation line” between two parts of the country. In 1956, the proposed national elections, the outcome of international effort to reunite the country, failed to take place. The Ben Hai River had been a permanent frontier between the “communist” North Vietnam (supported by USSR) and the “democratic” South Vietnam (supported by the US) until the country’s reunification in 1975.
Actually, the DMZ at that time was considered a “Vietnam in miniature” with two hostile forces at the two sides. It thus recorded some of the most serious stages of the Vietnam War rather than being a military-free zone. The legendary Ho Chi Minh trails were constructed by the North Vietnam to transport supplies, equipments and military forces for their south communist comrades. In an attempt to destroy that system of transportation, the American forces established several mighty bases (“the McNamara Line”) along the Route 9, south of the parallel. They became the bloodiest battles of the war, namely the Rockpile, Camp Carol, Khe Sanh Combat Base, Con Thien Fire Base and Doc Mieu Base. There are not much leftover on these sites for visitors to see today, but with the help of an experienced guide, you may imagine all as having just happened yesterday. If your time is unable to cover all the battles, you should not miss the Vinh Moc Tunnels and Truong Son National Cemetery.
Excursion To The DMZ 1 Day
You will depart from your hotel in Hue at 08.00Am. You will drive north and stop at La Vang Cathedral (which despite its years of turmoil remains an important pilgrimage site for Vietnam’s Catholics). Carry on to what is left of Quang Tri Citadel, where in 1972 a fierce battle raged for 81 days, you will then visit the museum where photographs, war remnants and artillery can be seen.
After that, you continue up Highway 1 across the Hien Luong Bridge and over the Ben Hai River which demarcated North and South Vietnam. This area saw some of the heaviest fighting during the war. Doc Mieu Firebase, which lies just north of here, played a pivotal role in the South's defence and for a while, this was the command post for calling in airstrikes along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
The journey from here to Vinh Moc Tunnels is scenic after you leave the main highway, pass through quaint villages and skirt along Cua Tung Beach. The village of Vinh Moc found itself tragically positioned in one of the most heavily bombed areas of Vietnam. In order to escape this bombardment, the villagers constructed approximately 2.8 km of underground tunnels which they used as a refuge to survive the bombings. Three hundred people lived intermittently in the tunnels from 1966 to 1971.
From Vinh Moc, you will drive to Truong Son National Cemetery where the remains of some 15,000 Vietnamese soldiers and civilians have been laid to rest, sadly many tombstones bear no name.
- Vietnam Visa invitation letter.
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- Travel in an appropriate private air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced safe driver.
- The services of experienced English-speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary
- Lunches and dinners (as specified in the itinerary) in the best local restaurants
- All sightseeing tickets.
- VAT and other taxes
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- International flight tickets and airport tax.
- Lunches and dinners, except as specified above.
- Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses.
- Travel insurance
- Surcharges for Peak seasons (if any)
- Vietnam visa stamp fee
- Other services not mentioned above.