The Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) was the site of some of the fiercest and bloodiest battles during the Vietnam War and a tour through this historic region of Central Vietnam is an informative glimpse in to Vietnam’s wartime history.
Visit underground tunnels and bunkers, crossing infamous battle sites and passing tranquil villages as you discover the chequered past of the DMZ.
Depart around 8 am and drive north stopping 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. Visit the museum where photographs, war remnants and artillery can be seen.
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, 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.
Continue southwest to Khe Sanh where one the most important battles of the Vietnam War took place; the former base has bunkers, helicopters and a museum on display.
Along the way pass by ‘Rockpile’, which is a high, isolated mount that was an important lookout point by the Americans and Dakrong Bridge, where access points once ran into the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Towards the end of the afternoon drive back to Hue where you will arrive in the late afternoon or early evening. Lunch is included.