The DMZ and Vinh Moc Tunnels
The Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), also known as the 17th Parallel, was the site of some of the fiercest and bloodiest battles during the Vietnam War.
Those with an interest in Vietnam War history will find that this region of central Vietnam, around the infamous 17th Parallel, provides a fascinating insight into the era.
Among the interesting locations you can visit is the Quang Tri Citadel, a 19th century royal stronghold that saw a fierce battle rage for 81 days in 1972. Afterwards, visit the local museum to see photographs, war remnants and artillery from the battle. Continuing up Highway 1, you'll cross the Hien Luong Bridgeover the Ben Hai River - which demarcated North and South Vietnam during the conflict. 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 the Vinh Moc Tunnels is scenic after you leave the main highway, passing through quaint villages and skirting 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, and visitors can explore the site today.
From Vinh Moc you'll drive to Truong Son National Cemetery, where the remains of some 15,000 Vietnamese soldiers and civilians have been laid to rest. Next, drive southwest to Khe Sanh, where one the most important battles of the Vietnam War took place. Along the way you'll pass by 'rockpile' (a high, isolated mount that served as an important lookout point) and Dakrong Bridge, where access points once ran into the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
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The DMZ and Vinh Moc Tunnels
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Our Highlights of Vietnam tour does what it says on the tin. Over 11 nights, this trip covers what we consider to be the very best of Vietnam's natural, cultural and historical destinations – including six UNESCO World Heritage Sites.