Cam Ranh Bay (40 kilometers north of Phan Rang), the site of a massive naval base during the Vietnam War. Located off Cam Ranh Town, Khanh Hoa Province, it regarded as one of three ports that have the best natural condition in the world . It has a closed-area of 60 square kilometers and an average deep of 18-20 meters. Mountains surround the bay. Club Med taled about opening a resort 30 miles from Cam Ranh Bay);

The trade port in Cam Ranh Bay is called Da Bac which is in Ba Ngoi Town, so it is also called Ba Ngoi Port. Cam Ranh can be reached by seagoing vessel from Haiphong in 18 hours Getting There: Cam Ranh has a domestic Airport. Airport to City US$ 510. Vietnam Airlines' sales agent: 12B Hoang Hoa Tham Street, Tel: 3823 797. There are flights From Ho Chi Minh City:

Traveling and Transportation in Vietnam: The easiest way to get most anywhere in Vietnam is through a tour organized in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City or another major tourist town. Usually you can work out something with the staff of your hotel. If you want to shop around there are plenty of tour agencies on the streets of the tourist areas or on the Internet. For long distances you are best taking a flight. Air Asia serves many places but the flights often originate in Kuala Lumpur. Vietnam Airlines, budget carrier VietJet Air and Jetstar Pacific Airlines, a unit of Vietnam Airlines, all operate domestic routes. The trains are okay but the destinations they service are limited. It is possible to take local buses and minibuses but traveling that way is hassle and time-consuming: you have to deal with language issues, scheduling, locating where the buses leave and often crowded, hot conditions on the buses.

My Lai

My Lai (near Son My village, 100 miles south of Da Nang) is now a quasi theme park with a cemetery, museum, professional storytellers and a memorial that reads: “Forever hate the American invaders.” In 2003 the site was restored and upgraded. There are also plans to develop parts of the DMZ and the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Son My village in Son Tinh District of Quang Ngãi Province on the South Central Coast of the South China Sea, several miles north of Quang Ngãi city east of Highway 1. See My Lai Massacre Under History.

The site of the My Lai Massacre is called the Son My Site. Located in Tu Cung Hamlet, Tinh Khe Commune, Son Tinh District, Quang Ngai Province, it was built in memory of the civilians who were killed during the American War, it is located where the American troops cruelly massacred the local people on the morning of 16 March 1968. Here, 504 innocent people were killed cruelly in many forms such as being shot to dead, killed by grenades, or thrown into wells. Most of them were old people, women, and children. [Source: Vietnamtourism. com, Vietnam National Administration of Tourism]

Crossing the entrance gate, at the end of the lane, visitors will see the main memorial with spiraling incense smoke. On its pedestal, there are the statues of victims showing their utmost pain before death. On the two sides of the entrance, there are many small statues describing various positions of the ill-fated victims. The House of Evidence lies on the left of the entrance. In the front and around the House are trimmed trees in the shape of tombs. The exhibits in the House are documents, photos, and objects which testify to the massacre such as shirts, a pair of sandal of a killed child, all kinds of cups and plates, cookers and pans holed by cartridge, and wooden bells used for reciting prayers. All of them stir deep feelings in the visitors.

Outside the House of Evidence, there is a waterway on which 170 people were killed, 24 house foundations with 24 steles dedicated to 24 families whose members were all massacred. On each stele, the name and age of the victims are listed. There are some steles scattering over the hamlets at places where massacres occurred. At My Hoi Hamlet, Co Luy Commune, there is a stele lying among luxuriant coconut trees and listing the names of 97 killed villagers in a massacre.

At the Son My Site visitors have a chance to review the evidences and think of the utmost suffering of the innocent victims of war. The Son My Site welcomes all visitors everyday, especially foreigners who are increasing in number. Many American veterans come here to confess their sin towards the ill-fated victims, or to express their sympathy towards the painful losses caused to the local population by their action. Many of them show their shame and repentance.

Vinh City

Vinh City(291 kilometers south of Hanoi) is a port city that was reduced t rubble, with the exception of a couple of hotels and two college dormitories, in the Vietnam War because it was the main supply point for the Ho Chi Minh Trail. In 1972 its population was near zero. After the war it was resurrected with the help f the East Germans. Today it is home to more than 200,000 people. The main attraction is the three-room, thatch-roof house that Ho Chi Minh was born in 1890. Near Vinh—in Kim Lien Commune, Nam Dan District, Nghe An Province—is the native land of Ho Chi Minh—where he was born and spent his childhood.

Getting to Vinh: Nghe An is an important transportation for all of Vietnam. It has the national highways and railways, as well as the Cua Lo International Port and Vinh Airport. Highway 7, Highway 48, Highway 46 and Highway 15 all pass through Nghe An Province. Vinh is 14 kilometers from Kim Lien Village, 16 kilometers from Cua Lo Beach, 139 kilometers from Thanh Hoa, 197 kilometers from Dong Hoi,291 kilometers from Hanoi, 368 kilometers from Hue, and 468 kilometers from Danang. Railway: 124 kilometers (of which 94 kilometers North South line, with 7 stations, Vinh station is the main station. Seaport: Cua Lo port now for the 10,000 toned ship. It will be convenience for being the international clue. There us a border gate at Nam Can. Vinh has an airport and flights to and from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Danang. Tan Son Nhat flight (and reverse direction). Vinh Flights from Hanoi: Daily, Vietnam Airlines, 158, 254, 01h00'. Flights From Ho Chi Minh City: 21 flights/ week, Vietnam Airlines, 549, 884, 01h45'.

Cua Lo Beach (in Cua Lo Town, 18 kilometers from Vinh) is one of the nicest beaches in northern Vietnam with its white sand and clear blue water. Cua Lo Beach extends for 10 kilometers sandy and is outlined by pine forests. Not far from the beach are three islands: Hon Ngu, Hon Chu, and Hon Mat with natural and primitive landscape which is attractive visitors. Once in Cua Lo, tourists can visit the islands by boat, climb the mountains, dive, and visit historical and literary sites such as the temple in honor of Nguyen Xi in Nghi Hop Commune, the Trung Kien Pagoda in Nghi Thiet Commune, and the Hoang Van family altar in Cua Lo. Nowadays in Cua Lo, a number of guest houses and hotels.

Villages of Ho Chi Minh and His Mother

Village of Ho Chi Minh (about 15 kilometers from Vinh) is called Sen Village. It also the native village of Ho Chi Minh's father. Starting from Vinh City, take Road No. 49 until the 13th kilometers marker, then turn into a red earth path lined with eucalyptus and casuarinas trees. The path will lead you to Sen, also known as Kim Lien (Golden Lotus), village where there are many lotus ponds.The thatched cottage where President Ho Chi Minh used to live during his childhood is built from bamboo and wood. It has five rooms. The interior furniture is similar to that of other farmers' houses: a wooden bed, a bamboo chong (a bamboo bed without raised walls at the two ends), a hammock made from hemp, and an altar. It was built in 1901 with the help and donations of the villagers as a present to Nguyen Sinh Sac, President Ho Chi Minh's father, when he gained the doctoral title at the court exam, which glorified his village.

Village of Ho Chi Minh’s Mother (two kilometers from Sen Village) is called Chua Village. This place where Ho Chi Minh was born and brought up by his mother. Walking through a bamboo gate and a path lined with low plums; visitors will see two simple thatched cottages, Ho Chi Minh's house.

The Worship House is a simple cottage built by Hoang Duong, Ho Chi Minh's maternal grandfather, in 1882 to make it a place for worshiping his paternal grand grandfather, grandfather, and father. The altar is decorated in a simple but solemn fashion. Attractive to visitors is the pair of parallel sentences hung in the front of the house, which praise the family clan's fame. The house has five rooms and two lean-tos. Three outer rooms adjoin with the worship house; so it is well ventilated. Mr. Hoang Duong used to teach his students while sitting on the wooden bed placed in the first room.In the second room, there is a bamboo sofa and a table where he placed his pen-brushes and ink-slab. He and his students would take a rest on the bed put in the third room.The remaining two rooms were used as his wife's bedroom and the family's living room.

Quang Tri Province

Quang Tri Province (74 kilometers north of Hue) is central Vietnam is one of the nation's poorest provinces. There is virtually no industry and about 90 percent of the population is engaged in agriculture. Tourism and foreign investment have largely passed it by. It embraces the DMZ and many of its "tourist sights" are associated with the Vietnam War. They include Khe Sanh, Doc Mieu Base, and Con Thien Firebase.

Quang Tri covers 4,747 square kilometers and is home to 600,500 people (2010). The largest ethnic groups in the province are the Viet (Kinh), Bru

Van Kieu, Ta Oi and Hoa. The capital is Dong Ha City. Administrative divisions: Town: Quang Tri; Districts: Vinh Linh, Gio Linh, Cam Lo, Trieu Phong, Hai Lang, Huong Hoa, Da Krong, Con Co.

Located on north-central Vietnam Quang Tri is surrounded by Quang Binh Province on the north, Thua Thien-Hue Province on the south, Savanakhet (Laos) on the west, The South China Sea on the east with 75 kilometers seaside. Topography consists of mountains, hills, plains, sand dune and seaside. The long coast and complex network of rivers includes Ben Hai, Cam Lo, Quang Tri, Thach Han making a good condition for hydroelectricity and aquiculture .The weather condition is very severe with hot and dry south- west winds. Annual average temperature is 24 degrees C.

Getting to Quang Tri Province: Dong Ha City is 74 kilometers from Hue City, 80 kilometers from Lao Bao Border crossing, 94 kilometers from Dong Hoi (Quang Binh Province), 190 kilometers from Danang, 617 kilometers from Hanoi, and 1,112 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City . National Highway No.1A runs through the province and National Highway No.9, the Trans-Asia Highway connects with the Lao Bao international border gate to Laos.

DMZ and Vietnam War Sights in Quang Tre Province

Quang Tri preserves many remains from the Vietnam War (anti- American resistance war) such as the ancient citadel of Quang Tri, Khe Sanh Combat Base, Truong Son National Cemetery, Vinh Moc Tunnels, Hien Luong Bridge and Ben Hai River.Today, travel guides beckon tourists to visit Khe Sanh Combat Base. It's one of several abandoned combat bases, including Con Thien, Camp Carroll and the Rockpile, that you can visit as part of a day trip, provided you have a good four-wheel drive. Buy a travel permit for ten dollars at the Quang Tri Province Tourist Office in Dong Ha and follow National Highway 9, which parallels the old DMZ, west out of Dong Ha toward Laos. Turn northwest at the triangular intersection just before you reach Khe Sanh Town. The base is on the right-hand side of the road, two and a half kilometers from the intersection. For a change of pace try Dakrong Beauty Spot and Cua Tung Beach. The beach has sparkling clean water, silky sand and soft breeze, the whisper made by the rows of casuarinas trees. It is very pleasant to go on boat down stream on the Ben Hai River and admire the beautiful landscapes.

Dong Ha (74 kilometers north of Hue) is an important transport hub situated at the intersection of Hwys 1 and 9. According to to Lonely Planet: “Dong Ha’s dusty, traffic-plagued main drag looks pretty dismal – this is because the town was completely flattened during the American War. However the town does have its attractive aspects, with a string of excellent riverside seafood restaurants. Accommodation options are fast improving too. Dong Ha makes a useful base for exploring the DMZ and is the gateway town to the Lao Bao border crossing. Bao Tang Quang Tri is a modest museum and the only real sight in town. It documents the history of Quang Tri province with a focus on ethnic minorities. [Source: Lonely Planet]

Khe Sanh (about three kilometers from Dong Ha) can be reached on a two-hour drive on Route 9, once called “Ambush Alley.” Not very many tourist come. It is often necessary to seek out the caretaker to open the dreary one-room museum with some grainy photographs and discarded weapons. Little remains of the garrison that the battle was fought over. Anything of value was hauled away long ago by villagers. Mostly what is here is coffee plantations and pepper trees. To get to Khe Sanh Combat Base from Huong Hoa bus station, head 600m towards Dong Ha then turn northwest at the triangular intersection; there’s a small sign. The base is 2.5km further, 500m off the right-hand (east) side of the road. See Vietnam War

Vinh Moc Tunnels

Vinh Moc Tunnels (about 100 kilometers north of Hue) contain remnants of Vietnam War tunnels, where a community of 600 people lived underground for more than four years. Almost two kilometers of the tunnels can be visited. Unlike the tunnels at Cu Chi, they have not been restored too much and they are pretty much in the same condition they were in when the war ended. The site also contains a gloomy one-room museum with blurry photos and items used by the people who lived in the tunnels.

The Vinh Moc Tunnels are located 13 kilometers east of the national Highway 1A and just six kilometers away from the sea in Vinh Linh Village, Vinh Thach Commune, Vinh Linh District, Quang Tri Province. The tunnels used to be thousands of meters long. But now there remain only 1,700 meters. This underground network is linked with 13 doors (seven opening to the sea and six to the hills). The structure is divided into three layers, the deepest being 23 meters underground. They are connected by a 768 meters main axis that is 1.6 to 1.8 meters high and 1.2 to 1.5 meters wide. It is linked to the sea by seven exits, which also function as ventilators and to a nearby hill by another six.

Along the two sides of the main axis are housing chambers. There is also a large meeting hall with a seating capacity of 50 to 80 people, which was used for meetings, movies, art performances, surgeries, and even the delivery of babies (17 were born here). There are also four air wells, two watch stations and three water wells. The village featured unique Hoang Cam stoves, named after the general who invented the store to allow for underground cooking without emitting smoke, thus evading the discovery by bombers.

According to the Vietnam government: “The spectacular tunnel network stands as a testament to the endurance, wisdom and bravery of the local people in their fight for independence. Before entering the tunnels, visitors are shown the displays of that brutal period in Vietnam's history by some photos. They provide a sharp contrast for the vitality of the local people in during war time, celebrating on the victory day. The war forced many people to either leave their villages or live beneath the ground. Vinh Moc residents opted for the second solution. A few would imagine that the rubber and pepper tree plantations today used to be a fierce battleground from 1966-1972 when Vinh Moc was a place to pass food and ammunition to Con Co Island.

“The area underwent tens of thousands of tons of bombs by U.S warplanes. The invaders wanted to return the area to the "stone age" and launched a destructive war there. It was estimated that local residents endured the equivalent of 500 heavy rockets per day. In 1976, the Ministry of Culture and Information recognised Vinh Moc Tunnels as national heritage site and included it in a list of especially important historical sites. To ensure security for visitors, the tunnels were restored with reinforced concrete and internal lightening.

Quang Tri Citadel

Quang Tri Citadel (60 kilometers north of Hue) is situated in the central of Quang Tri Town and was a military bastion and it was also an administrative head office of Nguyen Dynasty in Quang Tri Province (1809 -1945). Built in 1824, during the 4th year of the reign of Minh Mang, the citadel was constructed in the French Vauban style and had a circumference of 2,160 meters with one door each side. There were four fortresses jutting out from each four corners to control the four citadel gates. Inside was the town palace surrounded by a system of thick walls with circuit of 400 meters.

The town palace was a three-roomed house whose two wings were used as places for the King to worship, and to give promotions to his inferiors or to occasionally celebrate festivals. Outside the town palace, there were a flagpole and castles such as Tuan Vu, An Sat and Lanh Binh and a rice store, etc and under the French domination, soldier camp and tax agency were added. However there are no remains of the past there nowadays due to the destruction of U.S bombs in the hot summer of 1972.

For 81 days and nights (from June 28 to September 16, 1972) North Vietnamese troops held the citadel. Backed by American fire-power, South Vietnamese troops were determined to re-occupy Quang Tri Citadel, which they hoped to do in a couple of days. Quang Tri Town suffered from the U.S bombardment and shelling of 140 B-52 aircraft and more than 200 tactical planes. Over 40 days and nights, more than 80,000 tons of bombs were dropped—as many were dropped in North Africa in World War II in a month. The number of bombs dropped in Quang Tri a day was more than that dropped on other battlefields in South Vietnam in the years of 1968-1969. On July 25, more than 5,000 shells were fired at an area of three square kilometers of Quang Tri. On another day 20,000 large shells were fired.

According to to the Vietnamese government: “The US aggressors used bombs and shells with their destructive capacity, to destroy Quang Tri, equivalent to 7 atomic bombs they dropped onto Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan in 1945. It is, really, unbelievable that each inhabitant in this land had to suffer 7 tons of bombs averagely. All were determined, side by side with Quang Tri to fight to their last breath. The Northern people had saved everything such as: ammunition, food and etc. to send to Quang Tri. The citadel has gone down in history as a glorious period of the nations war against foreign invasion. The Vietnamese people are proud of it, and foreigners admire it.Looking at its walls riddled with bullet holes, visitors will feel how devastating the war was. In order to commemorate the soldiers meritorious service, a monument was set up in the center of the citadel as a symbol of the indomitable spirit of the Quang Tri people and army and as a token of gratitude to the sacrifices of the fallen soldiers for the independence and freedom of the nation.”

Image Sources:

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Vietnamtourism. com, Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, CIA World Factbook, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Global Viewpoint (Christian Science Monitor), Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, Fox News and various websites, books and other publications identified in the text.

Last updated August 2020

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