The history of Vietnam is complex, rich and at times very troubling. A country often divided and fighting for its independence, the Vietnam of today is making a name for itself as an “it” tourism destination, with its delicious food, gorgeous beaches, fascinating cities and welcoming people. So it will be a big miss of your Vietnam Tour if you skip Vietnam’s war history, which is one of essential elements that formed this country.
Such a success is Vietnam’s “comeback”, it is sometimes hard to believe that just decades ago, the coastal country’s name was spoken in households across the United States for a different reason – because of a decade-long war based on democracy and the western way of life, dividing public opinion in the western world.
A modern and developed Vietnam nowadays
Make your own mind up about the Vietnam War with a journey through the setting itself, traveling deeper to visit museums, monuments and former battlegrounds set against the positivity and warmth of the Vietnamese people, who today welcome Americans with open arms.
1. Central Vietnam
After exploring the busy streets of Ho Chi Minh City, head north into the country’s central highlands to visit China Beach, a picturesque strip of sand outside the large city of Da Nang. Renamed by the US Armed Forces who used it for an R&R spot during the war, these idyllic, white sandy shores today boast luxury resorts, some great surfing and easy access to the Phong Nha Caves and Hoi An, a charming city whose Ancient Town has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hoi An, a witness to many remarkable events of Vietnam
After a couple days of your own rest and relaxation, head a couple of hours north to the city of Hue, your jumping off point to visit the Demilitarized Zone – the former border between North and South Vietnam. Much of this area was destroyed by American troops upon their evacuation; thus, it is a good idea to arrange a tour or a private guide to show you all the sights of interest, including the area’s only major city center, Dong Ha, captured by the North Vietnamese Army in 1972. Other spots to visit include the intricate Vinh Moc Tunnels, the Truong Son National Cemetery and Camp Carroll, a former US marine base.
2. Northern Vietnam
Finally, hop aboard a plane for Hanoi, which became the capital of independent North Vietnam in 1954, when the Viet Minh forces were fighting the French. Despite many of its buildings and bridges being bombed during the Vietnam War, the city was repaired after it became the capital of the reunified country, and today the Old Quarter of Hanoi is one of Vietnam’s most popular tourist destinations.
Spend a couple days exploring and eating your way through this metropolitan center.
Halong Bay is a wonderful tourist attractions of Vietnam
Be sure to factor in time for a journey just two hours east for a boat cruise along Halong Bay. A UNESCO World Heritage Site home to stunning limestone pillars and thousands of small islands, a trip through Halong Bay will serve as a reminder of the natural beauty, strength and resilience of Vietnam and its people – a country that spent centuries fighting for independence of its inland towns and cities and its spectacular coastline.
Ready to go back in time and explore the history of the Vietnam War directly from its battlegrounds?